The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney - 2004
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 136 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Kurt Russell, Patriciai Clarkson, Noah Emmerich, Sean McCann, Nathan West, Eddie Cahill
Directed by: Gavin O'Connor
Music by: Mark Isham
Written by: Eric Guggenheim
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 16, 2009
"Great moments are born from great opportunity"
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.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
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.
- Audio commentary with Director Gavin OConnor, Director of photography Dan Stoloff and Editor John Gilroy
- The making of Miracle - 18 minute featurette
- From hockey to Hollywood: The actors journeys - 27 minute featurette
- The sound of Miracle - 10 minute featurette
- First impressions: Herb Brooks, Kurt Russell and filmmakers - 21 minutes
- Outtakes - 5 minutes
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
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.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
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Thought the movie was ok but inspirational. Might have to pick this one up.
again, again... <----- Kurt Russell
I wouldn't go that far but the style of dress back then was pretty strange..
Wow Ralph, you're really getting up there in years.
I say that only because I was also 15 that year.
Good sports movie, I've seen it a few times in HD on cable, may rent it to see it again.
I watched the BD version of Miracle yesterday and was very impressed, Disney really seems to know how do do a transfer to BD. The audio was very good but, I felt, a bit light in the use of the rear channels. The front sound stage did, however, result in very crisp dialogue. I loved the video quality. The image was not overly saturated and looked like a movie theater presentation. One thing that I really appeciated was the outstanding balance of brightness and color on indoor scenes light by incandescent lights. Most of these were in the Brooks home and the image had none of the over baked gold warm tones that you see all too often on DVD transfers. Kurt Russell and Patricia Clarkson's skin tones were excellent and the rooms were very "normal" looking.
1+ on this--I saw the BD today and I think that the sound mix is very heavy on the front channels, and the crowd scenes really had me wishing for a bit more in the surround mix (I watched in 7.1 via DTS-MA plus PLIIx). The notable exception is the "USA" chant at the beginning of the 3rd period of the USSR game, where the surrounds really kick in.
I can see the reason for this mixing choice, however, as there is a LOT going on in the movie in terms of sound--it really is quite amazing, capturing just about every sound you can make while playing hockey. Even the locker room scene just before the big finale was filled with all those little noises you typically ignore in real life, but are part of gearing up for sports. Couple all this with the need to make sure Al Michael's narration during the game is audible, and I think they had no choice but to go a little light on the surrounds.
That said, this is a terrific presentation. Video quality looked like real film, without any of the artificial sharpness thrown in. Extras with the real players are very cool. My spouse actually knows a pivotal member of that team, and that tangible reminder that this stuff really happened (for the most part) increases the impact of the movie.
When it first came out, certain media outlets criticized the film as cliched and jingoistic. (See rottentomatoes for details). However, watching it now, with it's parallels to the "blame America" atttitudes present today, put a huge lump in my throat--I almost stood up in my theater and cheered at the end!
A must have blu-ray if the subject matter appeals. Great job, Disney!