Adventure Animation

'The Star' Film Review: A new take on the traditional Nativity story that's fun for the entire family

November 17, 2017Britany Murphy

Bo is unlike his fellow donkeys at the mill. He longs to be part of something bigger — specifically, the Royal Caravan. With the help of his friend, Dave the dove, and his workmate, Old Donkey, he is able to escape the mill. However, he doesn't yet realize that his journey to be part of the caravan will lead him on the most important quest he's ever undertaken.

Things aren't going well when we first meet Bo (Steven Yeun). The young, spirited donkey wants nothing more than to escape an existence that's caught in an endless circle, literally. Bo spends his days with Old Donkey (Kris Kristofferson) going around and around to work a mill. Yet, Bo longs for so much more. Being able to lead the Royal Caravan, surrounded by strong guards and regal horses is his dream, and he's not willing to let go of it easily; he just needs a sign. And that is exactly what he receives when a star brighter than all the others appears in the sky one fateful night. Bo believes it means something, and in that regard he is indeed right.

Old Donkey recognizes Bo's desire to leave, and between him and Bo's best friend, Dave (Keegan-Michael Key), the trio manage a daring escape from the Miller (Phil Morris) and head out in search of the Royal Caravan. Of course, the road to stardom is never easy, and when Bo gets injured along the way, he sneaks into the yard of a house owned by Mary (Gina Rodriguez) and Joseph (Zachary Levi). Initially afraid of Mary, his fears are set at ease as soon as she patches up his injured leg and proceeds to build a little fort for him. Joseph, on the other hand, is unsure of Mary's newfound friend, but agrees to let Bo to stay until his leg is better.

Dave reminds Bo not to get attached to his new family because as soon as he's able, the duo will plan another daring escape. But Bo misses his opportunity when Mary and Joseph leave for Bethlehem to participate in the census, and he soon crosses paths with one of King Herod's (Christopher Plummer) guards and his two dogs (Ving Rhames and Gabriel Iglesias). On the hunt for the "new king" that the three Magi and their trusty camels (Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey) are on a quest to find, they too are following the same star that Bo had noticed glittering in the sky a few nights prior.

Keenly aware of the trouble headed Mary's way, Bo changes his mind about the Royal Caravan and sets out on a new mission to find and protect Mary, Joseph and her unborn child. Obviously, this does not happen without meeting more danger and drama, and although Bo's strength and patience are both tested, he knows he must persevere. At the time, he doesn't know why; he just knows that he must, and his intuitions pay off when it all comes full-circle in the end.

Directed by Timothy Reckart, who ensures that this rendition of the Nativity story exudes a lightheartedness that can be enjoyed by all audiences, The Star features an impressive voice cast that gives convincing, charming and comedic performances, adding to the enjoyment of the script by Carlos Kotkin. Factor in the amazing soundtrack — with songs from artists like Mariah Carey, Kirk Franklin, Fifth Harmony, Yolanda Adams and Pentatonix — and it's hard to think of a better family movie to get you into the Christmas spirit.

The Star releases November 17th, 2017 from Sony Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG for some thematic elements. Its runtime is 1 hr. 26 min.

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