STUDIO: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
MSRP: $24.96
RATING: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes
• Exclusive interviews with Fabio Cannavaro, Hidetoshi Nakata, Jens Lehmann, Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba and Horacio Elizondo
• Trailers

The Pitch

A billion plus people can’t be wrong. Can they?

The Humans

Hundreds of soccer players and thousands of rabid, drunken hooligans.

The direct-to-video sequel to Castaway managed to do everything absolutely wrong.

The Nutshell

The world’s greatest sporting event is glossed over in highlight reel fashion: Thirty-two teams vied for soccer’s greatest prize this past summer in Germany. Every country stopped what they were doing to watch, except America. Click had just been released. Can you blame us? (Where’s our sense of national pride? The team might not dominate, but our rioting skills would be unmatched.) Cameras close to the pitch have captured the speed and intensity of the games. The equivalent of sixty Super Bowls have been condensed down into the best two hours the Cup had to offer. Moments from the dramatic to the absurd are covered with a polished look and some classy narration.

The Lowdown

I have nothing but indifference for the game of soccer. To play at the highest level takes unprecedented athletic ability and endurance; it should be an impressive feat, but I just don’t give a damn. I root for enough losers here in Cleveland, I don’t need to add the American team to the list. Soccer doesn’t translate well on a traditional broadcast. Several static cameras far away from the field fail to capture a fast-paced game properly. I appreciate the sport, but I would never go out of my way to attend or watch a game. Maybe I’d reconsider if every game could be presented as they are on this DVD.

Gene Hackman’s fraudulent resume seemed legit to the German national team.

The FIFA 2006 World Cup Film – The Grand Finale is a compelling recap of the tournament. It looks gorgeous. Close and ground level camera work highlight the true speed of the sport. The games are covered from every angle and have been edited to create the best viewing experience possible. It’s very similar in style to a NFL Films presentation, except the players move faster and don’t frequently stop so networks can air commercials for pick-up trucks. Instead of the NFL Films Voice Guy, Pierce Brosnan provides the narration. His calm voice plays well against the cheers and screams of the crowd.

The narration is sparse. I began wondering if the audio wasn’t mixed properly during long stretches of only crowd noise and whistles from the referees. I can venture a guess that the producers of this DVD wanted to let the video and the games speak for themselves. That thought works, but for someone unfamiliar with the players and the game, I would have liked to have more background information. Nevertheless, I have to give credit to Brosnan. He probably collected a hefty paycheck for half a days work. Glorious bastard.

The World Cup 2006 featuring dives so bad they actually bend light.

The running time is good for a casual fan. Die-hard soccer fans may wish for more. A lot of games are untouched, even one of the quarter final games. Another half an hour would have gone a long way to make this DVD more of the definitive look at the 2006 Cup. It’s still pretty entertaining and well-produced. A rarity when it comes to sports related DVD’s.

The Package

The disc looks and sounds great, which is all it really has going for it in terms of features. There are interviews with several players and referees, but they are all very bland and brief.

7 out of 10