A&E // 2012 // 94 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart // November 19th, 2012
"America's Most Beloved Ballpark" -- Slogan on the wall at Fenway Park
I'm not that much of a baseball fan, but I'd still like to attend a Boston Red Sox home game someday, just to soak in the atmosphere of their century-old park. I can only think of one other park -- the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field -- that I'd say that about. Fenway Park celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012, and Major League Baseball celebrated with Fenway Park: 100 Years as the Heart of Red Sox Nation.
The opening is a little more elegant than you'd expect. I found myself listening to a narrator talking about the park, and suddenly realized that he was reading a poem about players such as Babe Ruth and Ted Williams as a montage of the park's history unfolded on the screen. As the documentary continues, he takes on the tones of a baseball announcer.
Going back to 1912, Red Sox Nation takes in the park's first World Series (in its first year), shows the damage from a Depression-era fire, recounts extensive renovations, and presents clips of some of the best athletes ever to play in Fenway Park. Comments from familiar faces like Ken Burns and Bob Costas round out the documentary.
Some of the baseball telecast videotape shows its age, but the look of the documentary is otherwise fine.
Red Sox Nation includes one extra, the roughly 45-minute "100th Anniversary Pregame Ceremony." It shows the ceremony, with no additional commentary. It starts with a host of veteran Red Sox players come out onto the field to gentle musical accompaniment, and continues with music conducted by composer John Williams and Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, an F-16 and a P-51 flying overhead, and a toast to the team. It's not bad even for the casual viewer, and fans who recognize many of the faces will love it.
What viewers get is a baseball documentary that adds touches of class that Boston Red Sox devotees will appreciate to the basic rundown on one of the nation's most interesting landmarks.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage
* Fenway Park