( Max score: 100 )
Miracle is the inspiring true story behind one of the greatest moments in sports history - the 1980 United States ice hockey team's triumphant Olympic victory against the Soviet Union. Kurt Russell gives a brilliant performance as the dynamic and determined coach Herb Brooks, who had an impossible dream - beat the seemingly unbeatable Soviets at their own game. Starting with a handpicked group of twenty-six undisciplined kids, Brooks coached them to play like they never played before, and turned twenty of them into a team that believed they could achieve the unachievable - and in the process, united a nation with a new feeling of hope.
I was 15 years old when the miracle team beat the Soviets at the Olympics in Lake Placid in 1980. I also played hockey and we were all transfixed as the team moved forward in their quest for gold. We all had our favorites, Eruzione, McClanahan, Silk, Schneider, Johnson, Morrow, Ramsey, Craig, Pavelich. I can clearly recall the fervor that was felt throughout the country. As a nation we all fell behind this team as we watched them do what was considered to be impossible. When they beat the Czech's we went crazy because we knew that they had the momentum necessary to come out on top against Russia. Watching the game live was one of the most exhilarating moments I have ever experienced. The film centers around the game against Russia but the one against Finland for the gold medal was just as exciting. Watching its recreation in this movie always brings it back and I get choked up every time I see it. We all felt such a sense of pride and I think we shared that right along with the 20 players and coaches who were on the team. Gavin O'Connor and the makers of this film went to great lengths to ensure that this was as faithful to the experience as possible. This included working with Coach Herb Brooks, ABC announcer Al Michaels and members of the team. Kurt Russell gives one of his finest performances in portrayal of Coach Brooks. The group of young actors/hockey players that portray the team are all credible in their respective roles. Unfortunately Coach Brooks passed away before the film's completion and never got the opportunity to see the film. I think he would have been proud of the outcome. I love inspirational stories and this is one that united our country at a time when we truly needed it. It is an incredibly well done and moving film that chronicles one of the greatest moments in sports history. If you have never seen it I can't think of a better way to experience it than this.
The rating is for language and some rough sports action.
Miracle comes to Blu-ray from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 mbps.
This high definition presentation from Disney features rich, vibrant colors, lifelike flesh tones and robust blacks and contrast. Images are resolute with excellent delineation during close ups and above average depth during long range camera pans. Sharpness can be a bit inconsistent depending on the camera's perspective but this never infringes upon fidelity. The fast paced and close camera work during the game sequences look great as all of the action is rendered with crisp definition and well articulated detail. Grain is prevalent and naturally rendered while only occasionally drawing attention to its presence with heavier emphasis that never rises to an objectionable level. This presentation marks a discernible improvement over the previous DVD release and looks excellent.
Disney's decision to go with lossless high resolution audio on all of their Blu-ray releases is welcomed and appreciated. This DTS-HD MA soundtrack presents this excellent film in wonderful fashion. Dialogue has tangible weight, distinction, and prominent presence that defines it within the front soundstage. Separation across the front channel is distinguishing as the various sounds, music and dialogue are definitively resolvable within the open and dimensional sound field. The system springs to life during the hockey segments as the listening position is transported down onto the ice. The sounds of the game like the biting of sharpened blades into rock hard ice, the clank of a wide slap shot striking the goal post or the rigorous and visceral contact of sticks against puck or body against body have stark realism. Near field pans that follow a skater (s) or the puck as it swooshes past the camera traverse through the room in seamless, well integrated fashion. Crowd noises emanate from seemingly every direction with aural perspective frequently changing to place you in the stands, on the ice or on the bench. Mark Isham's eclectic and stirring music score fills the room as its focal point leans toward the front with spatial rear channel support that provides fluid envelopment. Like the video this mix yields a noticeable improvement over the DVD release and sounds excellent.
Miracle is based on the true story of the 1980 U.S men's Olympic Hockey Team which was dubbed the miracle on ice' after they beat the unbeatable Soviet hockey team at the Lake Placid NY winter games. This was more than just a hockey game. This team and event inspired our nation at a time when we needed to believe that anything was possible. The filmmakers went to painstaking lengths to ensure that this came as close as possible to faithfully representing those events. I commend them one and all because every time I see this film it brings back the pride and emotion that I experienced as I watched back in 1980. Its high definition debut on Blu-ray Disc from Disney is presented true to form from them as it looks and sounds great. The excellent bonus feature package from the original DVD release is included. It contains an outstanding roundtable discussion that is hosted by ESPN's Lind Cohn and features Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Buzz Schneider, and Kurt Russell. Not to be missed is the First impressions piece with the late Herb Brooks as he talks with Kurt Russell and the filmmakers to offer insightful information about himself, the team and the gold. A standard but informative making of' feature and audio commentary are also worth checking out. This film should be in the collection of every sports fan. Highly recommended.