‘The Star’ Review: Faith-Based Fun for the Whole Family

As stated in a recent opinion piece, mainstream Hollywood has not put out many Christmas movies for the past few years. Sure, you have the recent A Bad Moms Christmas from the Chinese studio Huayi Brothers, but who wants to see a sequel to a movie about a group of women who engage in nothing but debauchery and consumption of drugs and alcohol? Lo and behold, along comes The Star, an animated re-telling of the Nativity from Affirm Films (a division of Sony Pictures). It’s told from the perspective of a donkey named Bo (Steven Yeun), but it’s still the same story that has been told for millennia. And in a film environment filled with killer clowns, superheroes, sequels, remakes, sexual harassment, and progressive propaganda aimed at awards season (and mainstream cinema to a great extent), it’s amazing to see there is still room for faith-based films such as this.

Bo is a donkey who is tired of milling wheat and wants to join a traveling royal caravan – as does his best friend, a dove named Dave (Keegan Michael-Key). One night, Bo sees a star shining brightly (a signal about Jesus’ birth). After escaping from the mill where he lives, Bo inadvertently runs into Joseph (Zachary Levi) and his wife Mary (Gina Rodriguez), who allow him to come with them on their journey to Bethlehem for Mary to give birth to her child. Among other characters who join Bo on his journey include three camels named Felix, Cyrus, and Deborah (played by Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey respectively), a cow named Edith (The Middle’s Patricia Heaton), and a sheep named Ruth (Aidy Bryant).

Of course there’s those silly animal antics animated movies feel the need to have in order to keep the kids and parents entertained, but solely for the parents, there is the traditional story of the birth of Jesus – the real reason why most Americans celebrate the Christmas season to begin with. Mary gets an alert from an angel that she will be pregnant with, and bear, the Son of God. The king (Christopher Plummer) is jealous and hires a soldier to kill her. But in the end, both Mary and Joseph are able to bear Jesus as their child and lay him in a manger. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing indeed!

This is a fun movie. Sure, it starts slow (what non-Pixar or non-Disney animated movie doesn’t?), but in the end is a film that takes its source material very seriously, and will especially keep your kid – as well as the kid in you – entertained. It’s not very often nowadays to see a Christmas movie, or Christian movie aimed at kids as a matter of fact, to be released in theaters like this. Whenever Hollywood tackles Christianity in today’s world, it often denigrates the religion. That’s not the case here. The Star is a great recommendation for anyone ready to get into the Christmas spirit as early as they want, and is a biblical re-telling the world needs now more than ever.

Final Grade: B

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