Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Movie Review: "Miracle" (2004)

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Movie
"Miracle"
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Year: 2004
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

The story of the 1980 Winter Olympics where the underdog United States hockey team must face off against the heavily favored Soviet powerhouse team. 

"Miracle" is an inspirational sports story directed by Gavin O'Connor. It is based on the true story of the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team. The primary focus is on the coach of the hockey team Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russell. We learn his strategy for choosing his players and the rigorous training he put them through that made the US Olympic team the best conditioned group on the ice. We also see some of the strain that his focus, hard work and dedication to his hockey team puts on his family life.

Kurt Russell is fantastic in this role. His performances is one where he has to be both tough and caring, and we believe him in both instances. He also works really well with Patricia Clarkson, who plays his wife Patti Brooks. The actors that compose the members of the hockey team itself are mostly little known actors who didn't really do much after this project. These people were picked more for their skills on the ice rather than their acting abilities in front of the camera. We appreciate this small authentic touch to make the film that much more believable. That being said, these chaps do just fine in performing their parts, mostly because the majority of their parts are spent skating, roughing each other up, training, and playing hockey.

This is the classic underdog inspirational sports story laid out from A-Z with very few surprises. In that respect, it is unfortunately by the book sports in terms of its sports narative as a group of former rivals have to learn to put their differences aside and learn to work together to create one common goal. This, of course, is achieved through a series of training montages and believe us, there are plenty of them. After all, what would a sports movie be without a few montages? The entire plot builds to the actual hockey games themselves, which always contain highlight reel action because this is what gives movies like this their excitment. It really is entertaining, even knowing the outcome of the final Olympic games themselves, and even with a formulaic plot. We still manage to get fully invested in the story of the Olympic hockey team and their coach, and any time America's scores a goal on screen, it makes us feel like chanting USA! USA! USA! Maybe we did once or twice in real life, who knows! We also like "Miracle" doesn't treat the opposing Soviet team like generic villains, even though many Americans of that era certainly viewed them as such. They are simply a heavily favorite rival team that the Americans must beat to bring home the gold medal during a time when political strife was rampant between the two countries.

In the end, Disney knows what to do when it comes to inspirational stories like "Miracle" and they execute the heck out of it, making a believable, fun movie in the process.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

1 comment:

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