Minno Movie Review: The Star

By Jessica Wolstenholm

There will be a bright light in theaters this holiday season that you don’t want to miss! The Star is the latest offering from Affirm Films and Sony Pictures Animation which tells the story of Jesus’ birth from an entirely different perspective!

The twist in this story line takes place when the animals provide the narrative and the humor. Bo, played by The Walking Dead’s, Steven Yuen, is a donkey who believes that there must be more to life than what he’s seen inside his little village. He is small, but strong and brave … just the character qualities needed to play a starring role in the birth of a King!

Bo finds the courage to break free from his life at the village mill with the help of an older donkey played by Kris Kristofferson. Wounded from the escape, but with his freedom and dreams still intact, he sets out on an adventure of a lifetime. His plans are to ride into town with royalty. Little does he know that the Lord has other plans for him – even bigger than the dreams he’s been dreaming.

Along the way, Bo befriends Mary, played by Gina Rodriguez. She lovingly looks after his hurt leg that was injured in his escape. He senses her loyalty and they become quick friends. He still longs to be free and can’t shake the idea that he will be a part of a bigger story and so he must keep moving.

As a pregnant Mary and Joseph, an unsure, expecting father (voiced by Zachary Levi), head out to Bethlehem for the census, Bo escapes once more off to find his grand role in life’s story. Along the way, he meets Ruth, a sweet side-kick and smart-thinking sheep, who has purposely left her flock and Dave, a dove who also has high hopes of flying into life’s greatest adventure. Together they decide to ditch riding in the royal brigade when they learn that Mary and Joseph are in danger. The trio quickly become heroes as they work to help find a safe place for Mary to give birth and insure her safety along the way.

A cast of animated animals swing the stable doors wide open to familiar voices that make the characters feel like creatures we know and love. Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Tracy Morgan voice the camels that carry in the three wise men, along with other well-known actors like Kristen Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Mariah Carey, Tyler Perry, Kelly Clarkson, and Patricia Heaton.

While this is certainly not a story the world hasn’t heard before, director, Timothy Reckhard, along with producers DeVon Franklin, Lisa Henson, Brian Henson, and Jennifer Magee-Cook and writers Carlos Kotkin, Tom Sheridan, and Simon Moore found a way to give this timeless story a fresh perspective and create a movie that both parents and children will enjoy together. The stellar animation combined with the soundtrack throughout the film will surely win over the adults. Mariah Carey both sings and co-writes the title track, The Star, as well as voicing Rebecca the hen.

What parents will like most about this film is how the script writers managed to tell the greatest story ever told through the eyes of donkeys, mice, and sheep. Even for the animals in the story, Jesus’ very existence teaches us that great things come in small and unexpected packages and often when we lay down our own ambitions the Lord grants us an even grander role in the story of life.

Absolutely follow The Star to your local movie theater on November 17th. May it bring a fresh perspective and sweet spirit of Christmas to the holiday season for you and your family!