Miracle on Ice
take of Olympic hockey captures feelings of the time
new movie Miracle is based on the true story
of Herb Brooks and the 1980 U.S. Olympic team. All true
hockey fans already know the story of The Miracle
on Ice, even though it happened more than 20 years
ago. To put that in perspective, only a few undergraduates
were even born when this happened, but yet the story is
still inspiring today.
U.S. Olympic Committee chose University of Minnesota coach
Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) to coach the American hockey
team with the hope of not being embarrassed by the eastern
bloc countries in the upcoming winter games at Lake Placid.
The Soviet Union had dominated the Olympic hockey scene
since the mid-1960s, while the U.S. team had been its
whipping boy. In the movie, the team sets out as individuals
playing on the same team, but through the course of the
movie they grow close to one another, and through the
tough-love coaching of Brooks, they realize a common goal
to rise above the odds. Of course, it is no secret how
the movie ends. The U.S. comes together as a team, defeats
the Soviet Juggernaut team in the semi-finals, then goes
on to win the gold medal, defeating Sweden in the finals.
In a time when America needed heroes, what it got was
20 young men (their average age was 21) who, to the surprise
of everyone, were exactly what we needed.
Kurt Russells Minnesotan accent isnt entirely
convincing, but he provides a decent performance. For
an actor of his past record, Russell does a good job of
not overdoing his part and seems at least somewhat humble
in his role. There is a good amount of character development
in the film which is a refreshing break from the prototypical
sports flick. The film is a bit distant at the beginning,
but as the stakes grow higher and the players draw closer
together, the heart of the movie grows.
Screenwriter Eric Guggenheim and director Gavin OConnor
do a good job at capturing the feeling of the times. America
was hanging in limbo and certainly had a lack of direction.
The film opens with a montage sequence reviewing the turbulence
of the past decade. America had gone through Watergate,
and oil crisis, the fall of Saigon, and Three Mile Island
incident to name a few. Americans were feeling a loss
of their identity and did not know in whom they could
trust. Of course, this all relates to the theme of the
movie: When Americans pull together and work as one, they
can overcome insurmountable odds.
OConnor does a fantastic job in the later hockey
scenes. Even though the audience knows the outcome of
the movie, he is able to hold the audience in the same
suspense as a real hockey game. OConnor actually
uses the already well-known story as a way to avoid typical
sports movie clichés. There are not any last minute
goals or shoot-outs that so commonly end these movies,
and yet he is able to hold the viewers attention
with a strong sense of anticipation.
Audiences will leave the theater feeling good, which is
essentially what this typical Disney release comes down
to: nothing special, nothing really thought-provoking,
just a good, fun movie for all ages and 113 minutes of
carefree fun. Dont go to this one expecting to have
your socks blown off, but it is certainly good for what
Russells character, Herb Brooks, expresses
his enthusiasm for the U.S. Hockey team during the
1980 Winter Olympics. Miracle opened nationwide