Pleasant and Safe
JLFM - wrote on 09/08/12
Throughout Seabiscuit, I couldn't help but think of what I would've done differently, had I been the director. That's not to say I didn't like Gary Ross's adaption of the story, but there were so many things I would've changed had I been in charge of this production.
Charles Howard purchases a horse named Seabiscuit that no one seems to have any faith in. Yet, through training, Charles Howard, along with Red Pollard and Tom Smith manage to bring Seabiscuit from rags to riches as the horse quickly becomes the most popular horse in America.
I was not expecting much from this film, and the first 20 minutes did little to help my expectations. Rushed, cluttered, and even confusing, the first 20 minutes of Seabiscuit not quite atrocious, but it's pretty bad. Still, once Seabiscuit manages to find it's footing, it's a pleasant, if unspectacular tale.
The story in itself is relatively strong, and the characters are extremely likeable. Yet, the approach at the story felt relatively straightforward. There's nothing unexpected here. The direction here is perfectly fine, but it's a little on the bland side.
Bits of the story do feel a bit rushed, and some feel too long. The pacing is certainly a bit of an issue at times.
Seabiscuit's strongest asset is the acting, which add depth to the characters, who are already very likeable to begin with. Jeff Bridges plays Charles Howard with a distinct charm, and Tobey Maguire adds warmth to Red Pollard. Chris Cooper as Tom Smith fits like a glove, and supporting cast is strong as well. William H. Macy is also around as Tick Tock McGlaughlin who provides some comic relief.
The score is composed by Randy Newman is probably best known for his work on many of the Pixar films. His primary strength at doing family films makes him seem like an odd choice for Seabiscuit. Like the direction, Newman does a straightforward, but enjoyable score. Though there are a handful of delightfully un-Newman sounding songs, you can definitely still here Randy's style in much of the music.
Seabiscuit feels a little on the safe side for the most part. This isn't a bad film by any means, or even a mediocre one, but at times, it does feel like a missed opportunity. But even with all it's flaws, it's hard not to root for Seabiscuit.