Spirit of the Game (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
January 29, 2017 by Dennis Amith
“Spirit of the Game” is no doubt a feel-good, underdog rising through adversity type of film. Sure, there is some sort of banality compared to other underdog sports films, but “Spirit of the Game” goes beyond winning on the basketball court, but also the importance of missionary work and using basketball as a strong form of communication with the community. “Spirit of the Game” is a film worth watching!
© 2016 Spirits of the Game Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Spirit of the Game
FILM YEAR: 2016
DURATION: 98 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: PG (Mild Thematic Elements)
AVAILABLE ON: February 7, 2017
Directed by Darran Scott
Written by Darran Scott
Produced by Steve Jaggi, Spencer McLaren, Kate Whitbread
Executive Produced by Craig Deeker, Devin Durrant, Phil Hunt, Janine Pearce, Compton Ross, Darran Scott
Associate Producer: Harry Borland
Music by Ned McPhie, Matt Rudduck
Cinematography by Brian J. Breheny
Edited by Adrian Powers
Casting by Ann Fay, Louise Mitchell
Production Design by Adele Flere
Set Decoration by Robert Molnar
Costume Design by Andrew Infanti
Aaron Jakubenko as Delyle Condie
Kevin Sorbo as Parley Condie
Heidi Arena as Mary Condie
Rudi Baker as Stan Page
Bailey Barbour as Young Delyle
Roy Barker as Syd
Corey Bear as Elder Christensen
Ben Bordeau as Jean-Paul Beugnot
Wade Briggs as Don Hull
Cameron Caulfield as Brett Davies
Hannah Cliff as Norma Condie
Emilie Cocquerel as Emily
Sam Hayden-Smith as James Condie
Andrew Hearle as Elder Frodsham
Jean-Philippe Heon as Coach Busnel
Jacob Machin as Grant Condie
Anna McGahan as Elspeth
Neil Melville as David O. McKay
Ben Prendergast as Coach Gardner
It’s 1956 and twenty-year-old Delyle Condie is on top of the world. MVP of his college basketball team (University of Utah) and engaged to Emily, his high school sweetheart, life is looking pretty good. That is, until the second round of the NCAA tournament. Midway through the most important game of his life, Emily unexpectedly breaks off her engagement to Delyle. Heartbroken, Delyle makes the spontaneous decision to quit basketball and embark on a mission for his church. His destination: Melbourne, Australia. A city gripped with Olympic fever, Delyle’s first encounters with the Aussies are not encouraging. He struggles to maintain his spirits when faced with the indifference of the locals, but when an opportunity arises to help train Australia’s first Olympic basketball team, Delyle sees his chance to connect with them. His passion leads to the formation of the Mormon Yankees basketball team, and in the run up to the Games, fierce competition with the French leads to a bloody rematch.
The Mormon Yankees.
A group of Mormons who formed a basketball team who played against countries preparing for the 1956 Olympics. Did this actually happen?
Filmmaker/screenwriter Darran Scott (“The Playbook”, “Walk By Faith”, “A Brigh Shining Life”) explores the Mormon Yankees for his film “Spirit of the Game”, which will be available on DVD in February 2017 courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The film stars Aaron Jakubenko (“Spartacus: War of the Damned”, “The Shannara Chronicles”, “Roman Empire: Reign of Blood”), Kevin Sorbo (“Andromeda”, “God’s Not Dead”, “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”), Wade Briggs (“Still Star-Crossed”, “Please Like Me”), Hannah Cliff (“Neighbours”, “House Husbands”), Emilie Coquerel (“Lion”, “An Accidental Soldier”) and more.
The film revolves around DeLyle Condie (portrayed by Aaroon Jakubenko), a 7-foot-6 college basketball standout and MVP for the University of Utah who is doing great in basketball and is set to marry his childhood love, Emily (portrayed by Emilie Cocquerel).
With the support of his mom and father Parley (portrayed by Kevin Sorbo), all is going well until Emily comes back from staying with her sister for several weeks and tells him that she can’t marry him and sees her with another man.
Feeling defeated and feeling his love for basketball is not his priority, DeLyle quits basketball and decides to go on a mission for his church in Melbourne, Australia.
As Australia is preparing for the 1956 Olympics, he and his fellow missionaries take part in a friendly match against members of the Australian Olympic basketball team and the missionaries beat them.
But the leader of the missionary in Australia reminds DeLyle of why he is in Australia and he must stop playing basketball.
But life as a missionary proves to be challenging but when he sees how the community are embracing basketball, the Australian coach Ken Watson (portrayed by Grant Piro) has a plan, for DeLyle and his fellow missionaries to come together as a basketball team and prep the Australian basketball team for the Olympics.
DeLyle starts to see basketball as the opportunity to bring the community together and introduce people to the church. But will it work?
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Spirit of the Game” is presented in 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and English 5.1 Dolby Digital. Picture quality is good, as one can expect on DVD and with most of the film shot outdoors, picture quality is quite good. Dialogue and music is clear and understandable. Surround channels are utilized in more of the crowd scenes during the basketball games.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.
“Spirit of the Game” comes with the “Behind the Scenes: Spirit of the Game” featurette.
Back in 1956, the accomplishments of a Mormon team, known as the Mormon Yankees, a basketball team of Mormons who banded together to scrimmage the Australian Olympic basketball team made big news for what they accomplished on the court but also their accomplishments off the court… for the sake of using basketball to promote a positive message to the community and the church.
Led by DeLyle Condie, a former University of Utah basketball MVP with the skills to make it to the NBA, DeLyle Condie would lead a team who would also compete and help prep the Olympic basketball teams in a matchup that would shock people because the Mormon Yankees would win.
The film is an underdog team becoming heroes feel-good film but also a film that showcases a positive spiritual tone that people with an open mind will enjoy.
While I don’t know how accurate the film is compared to the real DeLyle Condie and the Mormon Yankees, when it comes to films about Mormon missionaries, you don’t really see that many of them. But there are solid and higher budget films such as Disney’s “The Other Side of Heaven” starring Christopher Gorham and Anne Hathaway and even the wicked horror thriller, “Missionary”, to name a few.
But as I mentioned in previous film reviews of Christian films, I like films that are able to communicate a message without being overly preachy and giving people the choice to make-up their minds and learn, rather than feeling forced to accept a belief, ideology or religion.
Personally, I enjoyed “Spirits of the game” for its pure entertainment of seeing a man dedicated to his religion and reaching out to the community through basketball. Putting others in need first, before himself and the basketball team, if the real-life DeLyle Condie is like the person portrayed in the film, then I can’t help but feel that the basketball player was a very cool individual.
I did like the touches to make the feel of the 1950’s era with hairstyles, costume design and even basketball competition with the small courts, lower baskets, granny foul shots and even the lax of international competition and how hard fouls were at that time.
Overall, “Spirit of the Game” is no doubt a feel-good, underdog rising through adversity type of film. Sure, there is some sort of banality compared to other underdog sports films, but “Spirit of the Game” goes beyond winning on the basketball court, but also the importance of missionary work and using basketball as a strong form of communication with the community.
“Spirit of the Game” is a film worth watching!
J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.
For Product Reviews:
For product reviews, J!-ENT has purchased the above product for review purposes or may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews, may it be positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.
Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.
J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”