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Miracle (DVD) Review
One of the most inspiring films of 2004, Miracle is a Disney rendition of the 1980 US Olympic hockey teamís improbable pursuit of Olympic Gold. Based on the true story of the ragtag team that captured the nationís imagination, it connects with audience like few movies of its kind. And the titleís reference to fabled broadcaster Al Michaelsí famous quote conjures vivid memories of a moment that provided America with a jolt of much needed confidence during one of the lowest points of the Cold War. As such, Miracle is more than just another sports movie. Itís a film that bleeds patriotism and individual inspirationÖ
Miracle follows the life of Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), a highly successful college hockey coach who just missed being a part of the last US Olympic gold medal ice hockey team in 1960. Several months before the Olympic games, Brooks is given the task of putting together an amateur hockey team derived from relatively inexperienced college students, one that can compete with the mighty Soviet juggernaut which not only boasts some of the best players in the world, but an amazing 15-year winning streak.
Along the way, Brooks faces a challenge from the teamís committee members when he decides to form a roster that fails to include some of the best known players in the country. Intent on choosing a team and not just a collection of individual stars, Brooks wins his battle, and most of the final roster is pinned down on day one.
Slowly, Brooks brings the strange amalgam of players together, many of them from competing colleges, to create a truly united team. Following a loss to Sweden in which his players are more focused on girls in the crowd than on winning the game, Brooks pushes his players through a series of conditioning drills. He literally pushes them to the brink of exhaustion, informing them that they donít have the talent to beat the Soviets, but they will be the best conditioned team on the ice.
By exerting enormous psychological and physical pressure upon his players, Brooks finds out who has the mental capacity to take the US team to its highest level possible. When the 1980 Olympic Games arrive in Lake Placid, the Soviets are the overwhelming favorites, setting the stage for a classic David versus Goliath showdown and prompting Al Michaels to utter his famous one-liner ďDo you believe in miracles?Ē
Adapted from the true story that played out during the height of the Cold War, and the pinnacle of Soviet power specifically, Miracle is an inspiring tale of teamwork, freedomís triumph over oppression, and the great heights which ordinary men can achieve. Uplifting and personally touching, this is a film that no sports fan, movie lover, or American should miss. Do yourself a favor and watch Miracle.
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