Friday, January 31, 2014

Miracle [2004]

"Do you believe in miracles?"
-Al Michaels, a sportscaster for the USA v. Soviet hockey game in the 1980 Olympics

My brother's birthday is in this early segment of the year, and his favorite sport is Hockey. Since this is one of his favorite movies, he watched it for his birthday, and I thought I'd review it. Huzzah!
Miracle is about the 1980 USA men's Hockey team. The country at this point in history was not in a very happy mood, and what everyone really needed was a victory. Unfortunately, the Soviet's hockey team was the team to end all teams. Faster and more confident, they were pretty much superior to our boys in every way.
Miracle takes a few story-telling liberties to what really happened, but for the most part it's very true to history. In some of the hockey sequences, they even used some real footage from the actual game!
Something I really liked about this is that the Soviets aren't demonized. A lot of the time in sports movies, the opposing team is painted evil. Here though, they're just the other team. The other team who happens to be extremely good. Another common sports movie trope is averted too (probably because it's a true story), and that is the "We have to win it for little Billy!" trope. I haven't actually seen a movie with this, but apparently a lot of sports movies like to have the team motivated by some sick and dying kid who adores them.
This movie also doesn't have any inappropriate content. There's swearing, but nothing too bad.
Miracle doesn't really go too deep into the personal lives of the players, mostly putting the focus on their coach- Herb Brooks. The characters aren't extremely deep or moving, but get this! I did not mind at all. This is a movie about Hockey, and the underdog team that won when everyone said they couldn't. It's not so much a movie about individuals, but rather, putting aside individual problems to work together as a team.
Storytelling and characters aside, this is quite a well made film. The sequence of the USA/Soviet game is very well shot, and most of it doesn't have music, so it's very effective. And for the last ten or so seconds, they use the real commentary from the actual game!
I wasn't around to see the 80's, but according to Mum and Dad it totally looks like the 80's. Right down to the plaid pants. ;)

The Verdict: B+ [My brother insists that it get an A. So that's your other rating.]
Sports movies aren't my preferred genre, but I love this movie. It's inspiring and heartwarming, but not in the sappylicious Hallmark movie sense. It's a true story, and that's the reason I find it inspiring. Not a perfect film, but whether you're a die hard hockey fan or not- Miracle will have you cheering for our team.
This is one of the best kinds of true stories. The kind that just couldn't be fiction. As Al Michaels said during the medal ceremony: "No scriptwriter would dare!"

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