HDTV Magazine – Blu-ray Review: Secretariat

When Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) agrees to take over her ailing father’s thoroughbred stable, she transforms from housewife to horse breeder — and owner of the colt that will take the 1973 Triple Crown — in this dramatic biopic. the film explores Chenery’s bond with “Big Red” and depicts her rise to greatness as the “first lady of racing.” John Malkovich plays trainer Lucien Laurin, and Fred Dalton Thompson co-stars as big-shot breeder Bull Hancock.


Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Scott Glenn, James Cromwell, Dylan Walsh, Fred Dalton Thompson, Kevin Connolly, Nestor Serrano, Amanda Michalka, Carissa Capobianco


Blu-ray Release Date:


English SDH, French, Spanish

Overall rating weighted as follows:

Audio 40%, Video 40%, Special Features 20%, Movie – its just our opinion so take it with a grain of salt

Dolby and DTS Demo Discs used as basis for comparison

● Subwoofer – 5.0 Stars

● Dialog – 4.5 Stars

● Surround Effects – 5.0 Stars

● Dynamic Range – 4.5 Stars

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Who knew a Disney movie about horses would have such good audio soundtrack. the first half of the movie does not have much action, but when “Big Red” starts racing everything changes. the heavy rapid thuds of the powerful horses vibrate the couch as they speed across the room. It was very impressive. the crowd roars and announcers commentary tastefully fill the rear speakers and makes you feel as though you are in the crowd.

Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray Edition used as basis for comparison

● Color Accuracy – 4.5 Stars

● Shadow detail – 4.0 Stars

● Clarity – 4.5 Stars

● Skin tones – 3.5 Stars

● Compression – 4.5 Stars

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC, Resolution: 1080p, Aspect ratio: 2.35:1, Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

One scene showed Secretariat running in slow motion, and my whole family said “Wow”. Horses are beautiful animals, and this movie’s clarity and color showcases it in the best way possible. However, I did find that the skin tones on the humans seamed a bit on the red side. I’m not sure if the whole film has the reds turned up a notch or two to accentuate the big red horse Secretariat, but it is definitely noticeable. there are a few dark scenes where it seemed a little muddy, but overall Secretariat runs a good race in the video department.

● Director Audio Commentary

● Secretariat Multi-Angle Simulation (HD, 19 minutes

● a Director’s Inspiration (HD, 21 minutes)

● Heart of a Champion (HD, 15 minutes)

● Choreographing the Races (HD, 6 minutes)

● 7 Deleted Scenes with Optional Director’s Commentary (HD, 10 minutes

● Music Video (HD, 4 minutes)

Like most sports films the Secretariat is about underdogs overcoming impossible obstacles. However, this movie features something that most sports films do not, feminism. at its core this is a movie about racing horses however, just as the horse must overcome stereotypes of his lineage, Penny Chenery must fight for the respect of her all male horse owning peers. the movie does a good job of it too. at times her fight of equality while trying to remain a housewife seamed a little heavy handed, director Randell Wallace was able to balance out the sensitive side of this film with the competitive nature of horseracing.

For the most part, the facts surrounding the real Secretariat are truthfully presented in this film. However, some of the struggles surrounding Penny Chenery were slightly modified for dramatic effect. I knew very little about this story before watching it. when the last race was over, I was stunned and had a hard time believing it. so went on the Internet to find out the truth. to my surprise the movie was telling the truth, and the true story amazed me even more.

Posted by The HT Guys, April 17, 2011 7:52 AM

HDTV Magazine – Blu-ray Review: Secretariat

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