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Miracle (DVD) Review
One of the most inspiring films of 2004, Miracle is a Disney take on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team’s unlikely quest for Olympic gold. Based on the true story of the ragtag team that captured the nation’s imagination, it connects with audiences like few films of its kind. And the title’s reference to famous broadcaster Al Michaels’ famous quote conjures up vivid memories of a moment that gave America a much-needed jolt of confidence during one of the lowest points of the Cold War. As such, Miracle is more than just a sports movie. It’s a film that bleeds patriotism and individual inspiration…
Miracle follows the life of Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), a successful college hockey coach who narrowly missed being part of the last Olympic gold medal-winning American ice hockey team in 1960. Several months before the Olympics, Brooks is given the task of putting together an amateur hockey team made up of relatively inexperienced college students, a team capable of rivaling the mighty Soviet juggernaut that boasts not only some of the best players in the world, but an incredible streak of victories for 15 years.
Along the way, Brooks faces a challenge from the team’s committee members when he decides to put together a roster that doesn’t include some of the country’s best-known players. Determined to pick a team and not just a collection of individual stars, Brooks wins his battle, and the bulk of the final roster is pinned on day one.
Slowly, Brooks brings together the odd amalgamation of players, many from competing universities, to create a truly united team. After a loss to Sweden in which his players are more focused on the girls in the crowd than winning, Brooks pushes his players through a series of conditioning drills. He literally pushes them to the brink of exhaustion, informing them that they don’t have the talent to beat the Soviets, but will be the best conditioned team on the ice.
By putting tremendous psychological and physical pressure on his players, Brooks discovers who has the mental capacity to take Team USA to the highest possible level. When the 1980 Olympics came to Lake Placid, the Soviets were the heavy favorites, setting the stage for a classic David vs. Goliath showdown and prompting Al Michaels to utter his famous one-liner “Do you believe in miracles?”
Adapted from the true story set at the height of the Cold War and the height of Soviet power in particular, Miracle is an inspiring story about teamwork, the triumph of freedom over oppression and the great heights that ordinary men can reach. Uplifting and personally touching, this is a film no sports fan, movie buff or American should miss. Do yourself a favor and watch Miracle…
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