The biggest surprise of "WE ARE MARSHALL" is that director McG did a competent job! "McG" has always pushed slick imagery and editing to the extreme, but never compensating for crappy scripts. "WE ARE MARSHALL" fits in the long line of "inspiration through sports" films, and while it's based on a true story and often predictable, it's competently directed, well-acted and ultimately succeeds in being an honest film, without a happy concocted ending. Matthew McConaughey is outstanding here, but so is Ian McShane and everyone else.
The actual plane crash, taking the lives of the 1970 Marshall University Football team, is thankfully not presented, relying on the moments just before and afterward, to offer enough impact.
There are plenty of victims that need caring for after the tragedy, and "WE ARE MARSHALL" focuses on the impact on a community that well meaning individuals can provide. It even shows the complexity of seemingly simple people, in the sub-plot of Ian McShane playing a father, working through his grief, creating more hardship on the former girlfriend of the son he lost in the crash.
WARNER BROS. provides the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement. There's some grain present, but it's intentional, succeeding in capturing a '70s look. Colors are solid, but veer towards oversaturation at points. Deep blacks and grays allow for excellent detail in darker moments.
WARNER BROS. has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix It's an aggressive mix, loaded with directional and bass effects. McG pays attention to the most subtle nuance here, and it pays off for the audience with a decent receiver.
A featurette about legendary coaches is provided with 16:9 enhancement.