DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005

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Starring Kurt Russell, Noah Emmerich, Eddie Cahill, Patrick O’Brien Demsey, Michael Mantenuto, Nathan West, Eric Peter-Kaiser, Billy Schneider, Joseph Cure, Kenneth Mitchell, Patricia Clarkson
Written By: Eric Guggenheim
Directed By: Gavin O’Connor
Studio: Disney / Buena Vista
Buy on Amazon.com

Miracle was hailed by critics and hockey fans worldwide for retelling the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team’s story very well. As an enormous hockey fan myself, this is truly one of the best sports films I’ve seen in a long time.

Being a die-hard hockey fan for 20 years (I started watching games at 5 I think, who the hell knows really), this movie was very entertaining to watch. The story is really remarkable in a lot of aspects, and even though I heard what happen, I didn’t know the whole story. Actually, I thought the U.S. team beat the Soviets in the gold round. But now I realize how big that game was since it was only the 2nd round. But it was against the best team in the world so I can see why this was one of the true great sporting events of the century. Since I played hockey, I could relate to a lot of the things with Miracle. As I watched this movie, I was getting choked up about the death of Herb Brooks (which happened tragically last summer). Herb died in a car accident in Minnesota around the time principal photography was over, and the NY Rangers for the past 3 years were trying to get him to come back and coach the team for them. But the man was such a great hockey presence and knew the game very well. Some could say he’s one of the greatest hockey coaches ever, well next to Scotty Bowman.

I thought Kurt Russell did a magnificent job portraying Herb Brooks. The way he looked (costume & hair), the way he talked and acted. Just everything about him made me think I was watching Herb Brooks. A lot of the hockey players in the movie were actually good hockey players and it made the hockey scenes more believable. If you couldn’t get pass the hockey test, you weren’t in the movie. You had to very good to get on the team (or in the movie), and then you worked on your acting skills. Some players were actors as well like Eddie Cahill who played goalie Jim Craig, he was on Friends for a little bit as Rachel’s boyfriend at Ralph Lauren. Nathan West (Rob McClanahan) was in a few movies/Tv shows like Not Another Teen Movie, Bring It On, and 7th Heaven. Noah Emmerich played assistant coach Craig Patrick, who’s now the GM of the Penguins. Emmerich is a good character actor who’s been in movies like Truman Show and Windtalkers. What was great about the cast was how much they looked like a lot of the players & people they were portraying, and they could also play hockey and act. That’s kind of hard to come by.

This 2 Disc DVD set contains about 4 hours of extras. There’s full length audio commentary with director Gavin O’ Connor, Director of Photography Daniel Stoloff and Editor John Gilroy. There’s a “Making Of” with interviews with the cast and crew, along with Al Michaels who called that game back in 1980 and came back to redo some commentary for the film. He’s the one that said “do you believe in Miracles??!!” line that’s so famous now, and that’s where the title of the movie comes from. The feature also shows how they shot a lot of the movie on the ice and it was really cool. There’s several techniques that they use like a guy on skates with a steady cam, a cable with camera on it, 2 dolly cameras on skates so they can turn it 360 degrees. All those different camera angles definitely made you feel like you were on the ice and gave it some authenticity. The Making Of shows a little bit of the sports coordinator Mark Ellis (who worked on Radio recently) hard ass training sessions and rehearsals. That goes more in depth in the “From Hockey To Hollywood: Actor’s Journey.” Each actor had to play hockey, and kind of be good at it to be in the movie. A lot of the players that were picked ended up having the same traits as the players they were portraying. Billy Schneider played his Father Buzz Schneider in the movie. I thought that was kind of cool to see. The one scene where Herb Brooks makes the players stay on the ice after a lost, and make them skate back and forth was actually done to make it look real. So the players had to do that for 3 days and the director even said, “guys I love you but you’re going to hate me for the next few days.” In the end, you can tell that they were suffering out there and really puking their brains out. I know I would be. About the director, I thought he put together a great film for this being his first major movie. He had an indie background and he handle this movie really well. I loved those camera angles on the ice. Other extras include ESPN Roundtable discussion with Kurt Russell, Jim Craig, Buzz Schneider, captain Mike Eruzione and host Linda Cohen. Plus there’s a featurette on sound and how they came about all the hockey noises and effects (which was interesting and cool to watch), some funny outtakes, and a rare footage feature with Herb Brooks, Kurt Russell and the filmmakers talking with him about his life and what happened back then, and his “first impressions.”

Miracle is one of the best sports movies I’ve seen in a long time. Though it’s not just about sports but also about patriotism, underdogs, trying to balance your personal life with your job, etc. etc. Lots of different things for people to like here. Kurt Russell did a fantastic job portraying the late, great Herb Brooks. Any fan of hockey would be stupid not to pick this up and watch this movie.

Disc One
– The Making Of Miracle
– Audio Commentary By Director Gavin O’Connor, Editor John Gilroy and Director of Photography Daniel Stoloff

Disc Two
– First Impressions: Herb Brooks With Kurt Russell and the Filmmakers
– From Hockey To Hollywood: The Actors’ Journey Featurette-Turning Hockey Players Into Actors
– The Sound Of Miracle Behind the Scenes Featurette
– Miracle ESPN Roundtable with Linda Cohn-Winning Team Members Mike Eruzione, Buzz Schneider and – Jim Craig Join Kurt Russell in a Journey Back to The Miracle On Ice
– Outtakes

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo

Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)


Favorite Scenes: All the hockey scenes were excellent, the “Herbie” scene (skating the team back and forth from blueline to blueline) made me tired just from looking at it.
Rating: Rated PG
Running Time: 0 minutes
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