By Dan Skip Allen
Disney made a name for itself when they bought Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm over the past 20 years. However, before that, they pioneered animation and created classic film after classic animated film. While all this was going on, they continued making inspiring sports films. Miracle is on another level though — It's the true story of the historic miracle on ice from Feb 22nd, 1980 at the Winter Olympics. This is arguably one of the best sports stories ever put to film.
Kurt Russell portrays Herb Brooks, three-time coach of the National Champion Minnesota Golden Gophers. He is tasked with defeating the Soviet Union team at the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York. Before that, he has to form a team that can compete with the best in the world. "I'm not looking for the best players. I'm looking for the right ones," is the Herb Brooks mantra. Russell really captures the toughness of Brooks in his portrayal. This is one of the best performances of his career.
He chooses a team of collegiate stars, not yet seasoned, most of which are from Minnesota and Boston. They are rivals of each other in college, some still holding grudges against others. They have a long way to go to become great. Each of these players has their own reason for playing on this team and representing their country.
The Soviet Union is considered the best team in the world. A lot of practice, film study and putting aside everything else in life is what Herb Brooks and his team have to do to even come close to competing with the Soviet team. The Soviets are bigger and tougher, so the Americans need to be quicker and faster at every phase of the game. This is not an easy task. Brooks and his team are trying to undertake.
Gavin O'Connor has made a name for himself with films such as Warrior and The Accountant. In early March, he reteams with Ben Affleck for The Way Back, another sports film. He seems to like these underdog type stories. With Miracle, he directed the ultimate underdog story. At the heart of the cold war, facing and beating the Soviet Union was the ultimate slap in the face to Gorbachev. "The name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back," says Herb Brooks after a lackluster game.
"Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" shouts Al Michaels, the world-renowned broadcast journalist for ABC and NBC. After a blowout defeat three days before the Olympic Games in Madison Square Garden, the American team at first glance seemed like they didn't have a chance. The Soviet Union Team is considered the best team in the world. They have been playing together for years while the American team had only played together for months. This seems like an obvious defeat for the Soviets. The thing is they underestimated the intestinal fortitude of the Americans. What this means for the country is on all of the player's minds. This just isn't about them, it's about the world and their country and has weighed on Herb Brooks as well. I think is everybody believed in miracles and one came true on that cold day in 1980 at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. This film captured that fact perfectly to a tee. It gave everybody watching a chance to believe in miracles once again.
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