The Star (2017)

As I've said a couple of times in the past, there isn't a lot to choose from when it comes to animated Christmas/holiday movies. The limited choice isn't the only reason I watched The Star though as the film has a stellar cast and I was intrigued in seeing how they would present the nativity story to kids. 

As I just said, the film is yet another retelling of the first Christmas, but it's different than your typical story as it follows Bo (voiced by Steven Yeun), a small but brave donkey who finds the courage to break free and go on the adventure of his dreams. When Mary (voiced by Gina Rodriguez) gets pregnant with God's baby, word spreads out, and the king's henchman hunts them down, Bo, with the help of a sheep (voiced by Aidy Bryant) and a dove (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key), tries to save them.

While it's not biblically accurate —acutally, it's mostly fantasy. I mean even more fantasy than the Bible—, the story has quite creative, inventive twists, them being telling the story from the animals' point of view and changing things a little bit in order to make a more suspenceful and compelling story for everyone to enjoy while also learning something about Christ. Unfortunately, the idea is poorly executed and the story isn't particularly engaging nor entertaining. It's pretty dull, to be honest. I have to give the filmmakers credits for not making the film too much of a religious thing though. 

The characters, on the other hand, are quite lovely and fun. The problem here is that there are too many of them so not only it's hard to remember their names —I'm not even sure they all had names— but most of them don't get the screen time they deserve, especially the camels, which are fun but sadly so underused. Also, some characters are just there and add absolutely nothing to the story, which is a huge shame because there was so much potential with the evil king. 

Sony Pictures Releasing
The voice work is easily the aspect that stands out the most about The Star as each actor do a good job at bringing on the screen sympathetic and likeable characters. Steven Yeun carries the film quite well as Bo, the donkey, and Keegan-Michael Key's comedic timing and delivery are the only things that save the dove. 

At last, the visual aspect. While it looks good from a distance, whenever there's a close up of a character, whether it's an animal or a human, the film looks old, almost like a film from a decade ago. The movements aren't that great either. They did a pretty good job with the animals but the humans are stiff. 

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