‘Do you believe in miracles?’
Not the kind that involves a ring of white light or someone rising from the dead, but the kind where good things happen to good people at exactly the right time. Maybe for some, a miracle is a far-fetched idea, but for the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, a miracle is exactly what they got.
If you have ever rooted for the underdog or watched an inspirational movie about achieving anything you put your mind to, then Disney’s new true-to-life movie ‘Miracle’ won’t give you anything you haven’t seen before.
Based on the story of a U.S. Hockey Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) and his ragtag team of boys, the team squashes the whole country’s perception of them by defeating the Soviet team, widely known as the best team in the world and going on to win the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.
Voted the greatest sports moment of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated magazine, the significance of the United States’ defeat over Russia transcended beyond the confines of a hockey rink and made a huge historical and some say political impact upon the nation during a time of civil unrest and political turmoil as a result of the Cold War. At the time, the crestfallen nation was suffering from long gas lines and political and economic distress. Some say the U.S. team’s victory over the Soviets gave the disheartened nation the hope, encouragement and distraction they needed during these times.
As a historical story, the movie shines with its attention to detail and commitment to preserving the atmosphere and tension that existed during the Cold War. However, as a stand-alone film, it is just another inspirational story of down and out kids who prove everyone wrong.
The quality of the film was weighed too heavily upon the story behind it and not the film itself. Sure, the impact of the story was one of the most remembered moments in sports history, but a movie cannot rely on the background story alone. Some moments, no matter how great were never meant to see the big screen.
Without the large historical significance of the real story, the film would be left with nothing but first-time actors and a plot reminiscent of ‘The Mighty Ducks’ trilogy, which also featured a ragtag team of hockey players who represent the United States and overcome considerable odds to beat a powerhouse team.
The film’s many similarities to ‘The Mighty Ducks’ films are probably what made the movie so predictable. Though the film is based on a true story, the underdog who works hard to defy the world’s expectations is unfortunately nothing the public hasn’t seen before.
While Disney movies traditionally cater to the younger generation, ‘Miracle’ has such historical and social roots that only people who lived long enough to remember it or truly appreciate the impact it made on the nation are probably the only people who would enjoy the film.
‘Miracles” director Gavin O’Connor, seemed to emphasize the story’s impact rather than the telling of the story itself, which can be seen by the various interjections of political strife throughout the movie and the opening credits that depicted several events that happened during that time. The movie was saturated with history, politics and definitely patriotism.
A nation coming together and uniting to celebrate a U.S. defeat of a disliked foreign country during economic and political crisis is, again, something the public has seen before.
While the historical context of the film carried the movie beyond being completely tiresome and predictable, there are some parts of the film that are worth applause.
The authenticity of the sport was upheld by casting only real hockey players, which allowed the attention to be diverted away from any big-name stars and put focus on the actors’ performances instead. However, the lack of anyone truly worthwhile also added to the mediocrity of the film and its failed attempt at being a movie without numerous clich
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