Miracle Review

Miracle is an important film to me. Not being much of a sports fan, sports movies have to have some kind of personal importance, grounding them in human drama or a stronger significance for them to resonate very strongly with me. Miracle has that in spades. It epitomizes the American spirit and not just that the 1980 Olympics were important, but why they were; why we needed, as a nation and a society, to have something spectacular happen. Being born well after all this took place, I would never presume to understand the magnificence of the story like those whose lives it directly affected. That said, the true brilliance of the film comes from how it can make people who know nothing about hockey or the history behind the 1980 games get behind the characters, the struggle, and the beauty of the event. I’m not going to analyze the film; it’s been done better than I can do it. What I will do is reiterate the grandness of the film. It’s an astounding success, well deserving of the countless times I’ve seen it since 2004.

Audio/Video:


Miracle
sparkles in high-def. Blues are breathtaking and blacks are realistic. Sharpness is without flaw and fine detail shows through even with the film’s cloudy visual style. It's not an 'A+' HD transfer, but it's definitely in the higher ranks of recent releases. And the bone-crunching audio is crystal-clear even in 2.0.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

All the special features are ported from the original DVD, and are presented in standard definition. No 'A' for effort here, guys.

Director Gavin O’Connor, cinematographer Dan Stoloff and editor John Gilroy give us a commentary track on the film. There’s a lot of them congratulating one another, but for the most part it’s an enjoyable track. O’Connor, both here and in the special features that follow, seems like an awesome guy. I’d like to have a drink with him some day.

"The Making of Miracle": An average-length but incredibly informative making-of. Succinctly details the techniques dreamt up by Gavin O’Connor, and the arduous post-production process. They shot well over a million feet of film for the movie, and you can get an easy indication of just how hard the film was to complete. Interviewed is everyone from O’Connor to the talent scouts to the original 1980 team members. Al Michaels also gets a fair bit of screen time, and serves as the primary illustrator of just what the game meant to America. Really good featurette.

"From Hockey to Hollywood: Actor’s Journey":
Obviously shot from the same interviews as the main featurette, it focuses on getting the cast together from thousands of potentials. They used hockey players in lieu of professional actors, for obvious reasons. The hockey needed to look like hockey, after all.

"The Sound of Miracle":
An invaluable piece on the complexity of sound design. Briskly illustrates the components of what the audience will hear while watching the film. Covering the layers of sticks, boards, pucks, skates, the crowd, the music, commentary and everything else that brings you into the film. Anyone interested in becoming a foley artist or sound editor down the line should definitely check it out. There aren’t that many featurettes this good on the subject.

"Miracle
ESPN Roundtable with Linda Cohn":
Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Buzz Schneider and Kurt Russell sit down at ESPN to shoot the shit about Herb Brooks. The players reminisce about their time with the coach while Russell talks about doing research for the part. It goes on too long and there’s too much aimless banter, but I’d recommend letting it play for at least a good few minutes to get an impression of Craig, Eruzione and Schneider’s report.

"First Impressions: Herb Brooks with Kurt Russell and the Filmmakers":
Sadly, this footage of Brooks meeting with everybody for the first time is spoiled by shitty audio and image quality that looks like it was shot on VHS, by a panda with Parkinson’s. A shame.

Outtakes:
Now I see why they shot a million feet of film; like 40% of it went to everybody screwing around.

"Miracle " is on sale June 16, 2009 and is rated PG. Biopic, Sports. Directed by Gavin OConnor. Written by Eric Guggenheim. Starring Kurt Russell, Noah Emmerich, Patricia Clarkson.

Jun
17
2009
Saul Berenbaum

I feel that movies can be great in many ways. I feel that a great movie could be an artistic masterpiece or a guns-a'blazin' roller-coaster, pure magic or pure camp. There is another type of film, which I detest more than those which are horrible - Those which are mediocre, unremarkable.

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