Miracle is a sports movie. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you get inspired by movies in which:
• the highlights of famous sports showdowns are re-created by athletic actors
• an underdog triumphs to the accompaniment of a bombastic, French-horn-heavy soundtrack
• the camera pans across American-flag-waving sports fans
• an unorthodox coach wins games and wins them his way
• long practice sessions show the players sweating in slow motion while the coach works them half to death
• the coach offers inspirational locker-room assurances ("We can beat these guys!" and "This is more than just a hockey game to a lot of people") and gruff challenges ("Who do you play for?!")
• the opposing team is as sinister as a battalion of stormtroopers or a horde of hungry zombies
• rapturous music provokes tears of joy at the end …
… well, by all means, go see Miracle. It serves up a heaping plate of nothing more than you'd expect. But if you go to the movies hoping to experience something new, to gain some insight into the strategy of a sport or the soul of an athlete, you'll walk away from Miracle disappointed. The movie has nothing that is distinctly its own, except a tough-as-nails performance by Kurt Russell. For many, that will be enough. They'll cheer, they'll be drawn to the edge of their seat, they'll cry, and they'll leave exhilarated. For others, it'll be a tiresome chore that runs far too long.
Count me with the latter crowd. I sat there for 135 minutes waiting for something to surprise me, waiting for Mark Isham's musical cue cards—Be inspired! Be nervous! Abandon all hope of victory! Mourn the fallen hockey player! Stand up and cheer euphorically!—to be put ...1
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