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  • Writer's pictureTHAheadline (Thai Lee)

The Star: A Holiday Favorite

Ruth (Aidy Bryant), Bo (Steven Yeun) an Dave (Keegan-Michael Key) in Sony Pictures Animations’ THE STAR. |

Synopsis: "The Star," a small but brave donkey, named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day Bo finds the courage to break free and ends up befriending newlyweds Joseph and Mary. Mary’s kindness soon sets Bo on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock, and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some strange stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become unlikely heroes in the most excellent story ever told – the first Christmas.

Review: The story of the first Christmas is timeless and has been passed down from generation to generation for countless years. From Christmas plays and church programs, the story of Jesus' birth is something special. In the film, "The Star," it took many "tails" to tell the greatest story ever.

The voice cast is led by Steven Yeun (Bo the donkey), Gina Rodriguez (Mary), Zachary Levi (Joseph), Keegan-Michael Key (Dave the dove), Kelly Clarkson (Leah the horse), Anthony Anderson (Zach the goat), Aidy Bryant (Ruth the sheep), Ving Rhames (Thaddeus the dog), Gabriel Iglesias (Rufus the dog), Patricia Heaton (Edith the cow), Kristin Chenoweth (Abby the Mouse), Christopher Plummer (King Herod), and Tracy Morgan (Felix) and Tyler Perry (Cyrus) and Oprah Winfrey (Deborah) as the three camels.

"The Star" is directed by Academy Award®-nominated writer/director Timothy Reckart; executive-produced by DeVon Franklin, Brian Henson and Lisa Henson; and produced by Jennifer Magee-Cook.

“It is the Nativity story from the point of view of the animals, and in this film, we follow Bo, who is the donkey that carries Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem,” explains director Timothy Reckart.

Zachary Levi and Gina Rodriguez in The Star (2017)

“We looked at it as the greatest story never told,” kids executive producer DeVon Franklin. Having previously produced the faith-based hit "Miracles from Heaven" and overseen the blockbuster "Heaven Is for Real" as an executive at Columbia Pictures, Franklin was inspired to translate the meaning of the story beyond the literal telling into a journey about the choices we all make in our daily lives that have an impact and, eventually, fit into the framework of the human story at the heart of it all. “It says a lot about teamwork, stepping outside of their own somewhat narrow perspectives and working together. Our hero, Bo the donkey, needs all of the other animals to help to become successful. It is also about hope—you’ve got to believe in the impossible for it to happen.”

“It is about how something that seems small can be bigger than it looks on the outside. Bo has been looking to do something important, and he starts seeking that in a self-aggrandizing way,” says Reckart. “Along the journey, by doing a small thing – helping these two people, which, for all he knows, are just some random couple – he winds up doing the most important thing he could ever achieve. Greatness comes in the most humble appearance, which is the message of the Christmas story itself.”

It was the world’s familiarity with the story that excited the director. “Most people have some knowledge of it, and that presents a wonderful opportunity,” says Reckart. “Of course, the challenge is that people may feel that they know the story, they’ve seen it. But we can make the most of it by letting some of those elements take place off-screen, and look at what might have been going on in the background, or ask questions like ‘What were the camels doing at that moment?’ That awareness of the story allows us to veer off into the corners and shine a light on other things going on and tell new stories in the midst of the familiar.”

“We found opportunities for fun and invention,” says Franklin. “Audiences aren’t coming for the documentary or the historical exposition – they are coming for enjoyment and creativity. I think we found ways to present Mary and Joseph as recognizable characters who laugh, who are afraid, who find themselves at the center of this amazing story and display their humanity throughout it all.”

"The Star" was surprisingly better than expected. Going in, we at THAheadline had low expectations. The commercials shown on television gave the film zero justice. It was funny; it had a message and an amazing line-up of voice actors. "The Star" is definitely one of our new holiday favorites and is great for the entire family to enjoy.

"The Star" has been rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some thematic elements. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on November 17, 2017.

Rotten Tomatoes Current Score: N/A THAheadline Score (THAscore): 8/10

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