Editor's Note: The following has been adapted with the author's permission from its original publication on Carolina Culture Warrior.
As previously stated, mainstream Hollywood has had quite a dry spell in putting out Christmas movies. Sure, you have the recent A Bad Moms Christmas from the Chinese studio Huayi Brothers, but is there honestly a wide audience to see a sequel to a movie about a group of mothers who engage debauchery and consumption of drugs and alcohol? Lo and behold, along came The Star, an animated re-telling of the Nativity from Affirm Films (a division of Sony Pictures).
For this retelling of Christ’s birth, it’s told from the perspective of a donkey named Bo (Steven Yeun), but it’s largely 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, it’s amazing to see there is still room for faith-based films such as this.
Bo is a donkey who, along his best friend and dove named Dave (Keegan Michael-Key), is tired of milling wheat and decides to join a traveling royal caravan.
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 join them on their journey to Bethlehem for Mary to give birth to Jesus. Among other characters who join Bo on his journey included 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).
Naturally, there’s plenty of silly animal antics that often populate animated movies to perk the interest of children. However, there’s still the traditional story of the birth of Jesus and thus 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. King Herod (Christopher Plummer) is jealous and hires a soldier to kill her. But in the end, both Mary is able to bear Jesus and lay him in a manger. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing indeed!
Overall, this is a fun movie. Sure, it predictably starts slow, but by the end, The Star is a film that takes its source material very seriously, and will keep both your children and inner child entertained. In 2017, it’s rare to see a Christmas movie, or Christian movie with a broad audience to be released in theaters like this.
Whenever today’s Hollywood tackles Christianity, 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 and is a biblical re-telling that the world needs now more than ever.
Final Grade: B