Slug: quick-review-miracle-not-so-miraculous Date: 2004-09-06 Title: “Quick Review: "Miracle" not so miraculous” layout: post

Jodi 's parents are in town for the holiday weekend, and last night we watched Miracle, the story of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team and their quest to beat the indomitable Soviets in the Lake Placid games. All in all, a good story, a classic underdog story.

But despite all the raves the movie got from friends and family, I wasn't that impressed. I liked the hockey (a sport that is growing on me despite living in a desert) but the characterizations were weak, all in all. Kurt Russell did a pretty good job as coach Herb Brooks, but all the other characters and relationships in the movie were only sketched out at best. I also thought that the numerous references to current events of the time felt tacked on, designed to win "context points". I suppose they were designed to help explain the mood of the nation at the time, but they were not well connected to the coach and his 20 players - which should have been the focus of the film.

Gratuitous self-analysis: what does it say about me, or about our movie culture, that at the end I wanted more to see the Russians suffer in anguish over their defeat than the US team rejoicing? Am I such a vengeful person? Or am I still feeling the effects of my own upbringing in the tail end of the cold war? The Lake Placid games are the first Olympics I have a memory of (though they're sketchy - I was 9 at the time) and I have a vague memory of the hoopla surrounding the hockey events, but not much else.

Anyway, not a bad film, but at 136 minutes I expected a bit more for my time.