Based on the 1952 novel by Bernard Malamud, The Natural is an immensely satisfying, old-fashioned movie experience reminiscent of the golden age of Hollywood. This is an allegorical fable in the guise of a baseball story and features an all-star cast headed by Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, the most gifted ballplayer ever, but passed by due to fateful circumstance. When Hobbs gets his second chance, the childhood dreams of every viewer are rekindled with magic, wonder and awe. The movie was filmed in Buffalo, New York
The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD picture can be quite beautiful, with sharp and detailed imagery throughout. Definition and clarity are really quite impressive at times, though some scenes are softly focused. Colors are naturally balanced, with accurate fleshtones, rich hues, and deep blacks. The picture is very solid, with infrequent distractions in the way of pixelization and artifacts. Edge enhancement is minimal. The black-and-white scenes exhibit good gray scale quality. Compared to the overly soft, filtered picture on the LaserDisc reviewed in Issue 16, the DVD looks like a completely different movie. (Suzanne Hodges)
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