When a story wraps up with an inspirational fairy tale ending, many can't help but gag. Still, in 1980 those same gaggers joined the nation in celebrating the United States Olympic hockey team's victory over the seemingly unbeatable Russian squad. Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), the team's coach, was never able to top his gold medal victory. His players never made much noise in the NHL, either. In fact, only announcer Al Michaels went on to bigger things, all because of his one magical line: "Do you believe in miracles?" Ironically, Michaels' commentary is the only aspect of Miracle that isn't forged -- and it's one of the highlights of the film.

Miracle coasts on the good vibes of the original story but never delves into the politics and tensions of the time period. The on-ice action is composed of below-the-hip shots, for the most part, which neuters the flow and beauty of the game. Still, the film has its moments. It's an unnecessary production, yet one can't help but feel excited when Mike Cruzione (Patrick O'Brien Demsey) scores the game-winning goal against the Russians. Not even Disney can ruin such spectacular memories.

Still, your time may be better spent with a book on the subject and a tape of the game. Unlike the team it showcases, Miracle falls short.

--John Carroll


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