Nadia (TV)
R0 - America - MPI Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (10th April 2007).
The Film

Everybody who knows remotely anything about the Olympics knows the name Nadia Comaneci and her incredible feat. Getting herself the first perfect 10 put her in the record books and everybody will remember her name as long as Olympics are being held. Eight years after her accomplishment in the 1976 Olympics, producers thought it was about time to make a movie out of her story. It's a family movie and is a cute movie, but there are far better family movies out there.

Starting when she is six years old and finishing just after her performance at the World Championships in 1979, the movie follows her life in more or less bullet-point-like fashion. The movie concentrates on the most dramatic parts of her life – success, eating problems, comeback of sorts – and they go to create something nice, if a bit obvious. The whole subplot with her would-be boyfriend seems kind of pointless given it doesn't really go anywhere. Obviously some changes have been made to her life to make things even more dramatic, but such is always the case in real life movies.

For some parts of the movie, Johann Carlo plays someone about half her age (she was about 27, playing a 14-year old Nadia Comaneci, who won Olympic gold in Montreal), which kind of takes away from the authenticity of the character. The American actors with their American pronunciation can't save the setting and characters, either. This movie could have been shot in just about any place in the US, for all I know. The acting isn't the best, and Joe Bennett as Nadia's trainer seems to have a lot of fun acting dramatic and yelling all the time. The acting is serviceable and does an okay job for a family film. The script isn't the strong point, either, being stiff and somewhat unnatural. I'll stop talking about this and move on to something good.

The gymnastics sequences are the best part of the movie, and they're pretty impressive. One tough job for producers making a movie about exceptional, very young gymnasts is to actually find and cast exceptional young gymnasts to reproduce the routines. The young gymnasts do some pretty nice stuff, and with the help of editing, Nadia's perfect 10 routine is achieved very nicely. The thing that impressed me the most is the fact that the shots they took had a fair amount of extras in the stands when these routines are shown. For a TV movie, it's really good. As I said, though, the gymnastics routines are very good and are probably the highlight of the movie.

Although I question the idea of an American company making a movie about a Romanian girl in Romania, the values and emotions are universal. The movie goes by pretty quickly, but hits every single note exactly when it has to. Even without knowledge of Nadia Comaneci’s story, cinephiles familiar with sports movie conventions will undoubtedly see where things are going. Granted, this is a movie about real life, and as such may be a bit more satisfying than if it had been completely fictitious. The movie may end a bit abruptly, also, but it's a good ending, if not completely unexpected.

Video

1.33:1 full frame. This is a TV movie and a budget release by MPI, and so this shows pretty heavily. The print is easily not as good as some of MPI's other work. For starters, there are specs and other small blemishes throughout the movie. I've seen worse, but the picture is still not too impressive. The colours also seem a bit faded, not being as clear or blooming as much as they should. The contrast is good, though, but could have been better if the colours would have been a bit brighter. There was no pixelation or edge enhancement, so that's good. Overall, it looks like it’s a mid-80s TV movie, but nothing better.

Audio

This comes in English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, and for some reason MPI didn't provide any subtitles. The sound is okay, but nothing surprising in any way. The range is very small, as most of the movie is talking. Even the cheering scenes don't get too loud. It's not a bad track, as everything is fairly clear. The stiff dialogue comes clearly without any problems. The score and other sound elements are likewise clear enough and should satisfy anybody listening to the movie.

Extras

None!

Overall

The Film: C Video: C- Audio: C+ Extras: F Overall: D

 


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