The Miracle Match

The Miracle Match

On DVD: 
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Running Time: 
101 Minutes

Special Features: A spot for the National Soccer Hall of Fame complete with heartwarming music playing in the background.  Patrick Stewart narrates the tale of a ragtag group of ethnically diverse U.S. football (soccer) players who are brought together by necessity to represent their country in the 1950 World Cup. Given only two weeks to train as a team, these players beat all odds by overcoming challenging setbacks and beating the seemingly invincible English football team at the championship in Brazil.

For what it is, The Miracle Match (alternately known as The Game of Their Lives) tells a decently valuable story about people overcoming adversity to achieve their goals. The team is primarily formed from two groups of companions who come from different ethnic background and lifestyles. Initially they bicker and squabble over personal issues but eventually come to the realization that they won’t accomplish anything without unity.

They put their differences aside and go on to victory as a team.

Call me a cynic, but I generally see sports movies as a long commercial for whatever game happens to be featured. The actual sports footage tends to be either glorified to the point of cheese or pretty lame and the same character types and issues pop up every time.

It’s either:

1. Nice guy loner underdog has a dream shot at his dream sport, barely makes the team, and goes on to win the day against all odds.

2. Disorganized/uncooperative team members have arguments over dumb issues which almost cost them the (whatever), then finally set aside their differences and go on to win the day against all odds.

The characters learn valuable life lessons about the importance of organized sporting events in everyday life and the deifying power of scoring points while the viewer is indoctrinated to believe that athletes are more valuable to society than scientists, philosophers, artists, poets, and mathematicians put together. All of this is bundled with an inspirational score that is supposed to set fire to your guts and make you want to pick up the phone and order season passes to (featured event).

Having gotten past the lengthy, ranting disclaimer, I’ll say that The Miracle Match is above average for the subject matter. It’s not A+ material but there is some honest effort put forth by cast and crew that makes at least a noteworthy impression. The St. Louis footage was apparently shot on location in the district referenced by the story. This may not seem like such a big deal but there was a lot of detail put into the backgrounds. In the age of cheap, easy computer effects (not to mention the option of using sets) it takes a healthy bit of determination to retrofit part of a real city with 1950’s décor.

The football action obviously wasn’t on par with real professional matches but it was pretty well handled for a film and for what it is The Miracle Match stands up well to even my potentially biased scrutiny. As for the special features on the disc, you’d better look elsewhere.

B+ (3.36) for the film D- (.80) for the lack of any features

Review by Baron Aloha