REVIEW: The Star

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Review by Dustin Heller

The Star is the new computer-animated movie based on the Nativity of Jesus.  The movie is directed Timothy Reckar who was nominated for an Oscar back in 2012 for his animated short film Head Over HeelsThe Star serves as his follow-up and is his first feature length film.  The voice cast for the movie is quite impressive with such stars as Steven Yeun, Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey.  The Star is rated PG for some thematic elements.

The movie begins with Mary receiving word that she will have a baby boy and that this boy will become King.  Upon receiving this information, a bright new star is placed brightly in the sky and people begin to notice. In the meantime, a small donkey named Bo wants out of his daily grind at the village mill and dreams of something bigger.  His opportunity arrives and he breaks free from his chains and stumbles upon Mary and Joseph, who are about to embark on a journey to Bethlehem.

Bo and Joseph don’t necessarily see eye to eye, so the couple leaves on the journey without Bo.  He has bigger aspirations than just traveling with a pregnant couple.  As this is going on, King Herod catches wind of the coming King as well, so he sends his top soldier to hunt down Mary and kill the baby.  It is up to Bo and the rest of his animal friends to deliver Mary and the baby safely to Bethlehem for the birth of the new King.

The Star serves as a fun and creative way to tell the nativity story as we head into the Christmas season.  I’m sure we’re all familiar with the story surrounding Jesus’ birth, but this movie looks at it from a different angle in order to relate to children and entertain children of all ages.  Created from an original idea from Tom Sheridan, the script is funny and engaging and at times thrilling (at least for the kids).

The lead characters are silly and comical and will really play well to the kids in the audience.  As for the look of the movie, it is vibrant and lively and the computer-animation is very well done.  I’m convinced Tracy Morgan could be hilarious reading the phone book and should probably be cast in every animated film put into production.

The rest of the voice cast is quite good, with some solid comedic talent behind the project.  Lastly, the soundtrack (including an new song from Mariah Carey) is definitely one of the highlights of the film and should be quite popular this holiday season.  The Star is a good film to help the family get into the Christmas spirit and take a break from holiday shopping.

Grade:  B

The Star opens in theaters on Friday, November 17