Major League Baseball’s 2015 season has officially hit the home stretch. Only a matter of weeks is left before the playoff field is set. That means that every single game counts now. And as things begin to heat up in the race for the post-season, MLB Productions has given fans even more reason to get excited about the game thanks to the release of the documentary American Hercules: Babe Ruth. Released earlier this year, American Hercules: Babe Ruth is an interesting look at the life and legacy of one of the league’s most mythical figures. The story presented within the course of its roughly sixty-three lies at the center of its enjoyment. The story in question is especially interesting for those that have always known Ruth’s name but little else about the man behind the myth. The footage featured throughout the presentation is another of its positives. It is a mix of modern day footage, and vintage footage used together to fully illustrate the documentary’s central story. The bonus material that is included with the documentary rounds out the presentation, completing it. Among the bonuses included in this presentation are the standard “making of featurette” an examination of Ruth’s World Series appearances, and even a look at Ruth’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Each extra in its own presents plenty of insight into who Babe Ruth was. Collectively, they add even more interest to the story of Babe Ruth the man, the myth, and the legend presented in the documentary’s main presentation. When combined with the documentary’s main presentation and the footage that is used to help illustrate the story, all three elements show exactly why American Hercules: Babe Ruth is one of the best of this year’s best sports documentaries.
American Hercules: Babe Ruth is one of the best of this year’s crop of new sports documentaries. While it was originally released late this spring, it is just as enjoyable for baseball fans now as the league makes its way through the last weeks of the regular season. It is just as enjoyable for any sports history buff as for baseball fans. The main way in which it proves itself to have such broad appeal is through the story at the center of the dcumentary. The story presented here is more than just another standard story of Babe Ruth’s baseball career. Rather it is the story of his life and career both on and off the field. From his days growing up in a troubled home to becoming an orphan growing up at St. Mary’s to his wild, infamous life off the ball field, audiences get a full picture of who Babe Ruth was and how he became the legendary figure that has been mythologized in the decades since his passing. Audiences that might not have otherwise known will be interested to learn that Ruth actually started out his professional baseball career not as a member of the Red Sox or even the Yankees but rather with none other than the Baltimore Orioles. Just as interesting to learn is that while his legend surrounds his hitting, Ruth actually started out as a pitcher. It wasn’t until he became a member of the Yankees that his hitting talent was really discovered. The story is made even more interesting as it follows what is known in the study of mythology as “The Hero’s Journey.” The concept is presented by mythologist Phil Cousineau. It is a surprisingly clear representation of his life in every stage. The Call to Adventure and meeting with his mentor come in his childhood at St. Marys. Crossing the threshold comes as Ruth’s star rises. As his fame rises, he is also forced to navigate the labyrinth with all of its temptations. The ultimate ordeal comes as he faces his wife’s death and then has to re-collect himself and start his journey again. The journey continues from here and is explained in depth but not so deeply as to lose audiences. In taking in Ruth’s journey, audiences will gain not only an appreciation of who Ruth was on and off the field but for what he did for the game of baseball, too. In the end, audiences that follow his Hero’s Journey will agree that the story lying at the center of American Hercules: Babe Ruth is the most important element of the documentary.
The story at the center of American Hercules: Babe Ruth is the most important element of the documentary. It is thanks to this in-depth presentation that both sports history buffs and baseball fans in general will gain a whoole new appreciation for who “The Babe” was both on and off the field. It is only part of what makes this presentation such an enjoyable watch for sports fans. The footage that is incorporated into the story gives it even more depth and interest. Thanks to the tireless efforts of all involved, audiences get to see Babe Ruth the baseball player annd Babe Ruth the family man with this wife and adopted daughter. There is footage of his early days playing with the Orioles as well as his days with both Boston and New York. This comes into play again later in the documentary’s bonus material. It will be discussed at more length later. Audiences even get to see Ruth the infamous playboy; the man who, as narrator Martin Sheen (yes, THAT Martin Sheen) notes, came about as a result of his childhood, growing up an orphan. The older footage that is incorporated into the body of American Hercules: Babe Ruth is only part of what makes the story so interesting. Again thanks to those charged with finding and editing the footage, audiences get to see today the early childhood home of Babe Ruth, the orphanage where he spent the majority of his youth and young adult life, and even the memorial in Baltimore that was scultped in honor of one of the city’s most beloved sons among much more footage. The vintage and modern footage together expertly illustrate the story of Babe Ruth’s life. Not everybody has seen every bit of the footage presented here. That being the case it makes the footage in whole all the more enjoyable both for sports historians and baseball fans alike. For all of its worth the collective footage used to help tell the story of Babe Ruth’s life is just one more element of this recently released DVD that makes it so enjoyable for sports historians and baseball fans alike. The disc’s bonus material rounds out the presentation, completing it and proving in full why American Hercules: Babe Ruth is one of this year’s best new sports documentaries.
The bonus material included with American Hercules: Babe Ruth rounds out the ways in which the DVD shows itself to be such an enjoyable watch. The bonus material isn’t just a bunch of clips, etc. Rather audiences get an in-depth making of featurette that explains the painstaking efforts undertaken to bring the documentary to life all the way down to finding an authoritative voice that would keep audiences engaged. That search for such a powerful is what led those behind the lens to employ veteran actor Martin Sheen as the film’s narrator. There is also an in-depth look at Ruth’s years with the Yankees as New York became the powerhouse that it is known to be today. even more insightful is the revelation that the team that won so many of the Yankees’ early titles was essentially bought from its hated rivals, the Red Sox. There’s even an interesting insight in regards to how Yankee Stadium came about as a result of tensions between the then Giants and Yankees. If that isn’t enough for fans, there is a look at Ruth’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. This feature allows one of the documentary’s rare moments in which audiences actually get to hear him talk. Hearing his voice adds a certain something more to Ruth’s profile; something on which a finger can’t be placed but that does in fact add even more interest to the featurette. Famed sports broadcaster Bob Costas lends his talents to one of the bonus featurettes, making for even more reason for audiences to check out all of the disc’s bonus material. By themselves, these bonuses make for their own share of enjoyment and insight for audiences. When partnered with the disc’s central story and the footage used to illustrate and advance the story, all three elements together prove it to be a work that any sports historian and baseball fan will welcome to his or her personal DVD library regardless of their team allegiance.
American Hercules: Babe Ruth offers sports historians and baseball fans alike plenty to enjoy between its central story, its mix of vintage and modern footage, and its bonus material. Regardless of one’s team allegiances, every sports historian and baseball fan alike will agree that all three elements together prove the presentation in whole to be one that is a welcome addition to any of the noted audiences’ home libraries. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered directly from MLB Productions’ online store now at http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=65306866. More information on this and other titles available from MLB Productions is available online now at:
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