This Blu Ray is NTSC - Format!
The inspiring story of the team that transcended its sport and united a nation with a new feeling of hope. Based on the true story of one of the greatest moments in sports history, the tale captures a time and place where differences could be settled by games and a cold war could be put on ice. In 1980, the United States Ice Hockey team's coach, Herb Brooks, took a ragtag squad of college kids up against the legendary juggernaut from the Soviet Union at the Olympic Games. Despite the long odds, Team USA carried the pride of a nation yearning from a distraction from world events. With the world watching the team rose to the occasion, prompting broadcaster Al Michaels' now famous question, to the millions viewing at home: "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"
Miracle arrives on Blu-ray with a rough but rewarding 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that proficiently captures O'Connor's every gritty intention. Colors are muted but stable, skintones reserved but natural, shadows aggressive but elemental, and contrast stark but comfortable. Likewise, detail waxes and wanes with every camera move, but the varying softness and coarseness of each scene actually suits the documentary-like atmosphere of the film, enhancing the director's on-the-fly, handheld aesthetic. That's not to say the picture is dull or lifeless: fine textures are often rendered with crisp care, and foreground edges are well defined (without the help of any significant artificial sharpening). As usual, Disney's technical efforts are remarkable. I didn't catch any substantial artifacting, banding, crush, or source noise, and any and post-production techniques have either been judiciously applied or avoided altogether. In fact, I only have two nitpicks -- delineation suffers a bit too much at times, and wavering creeps into a few rinkside shots -- both of which are fairly negligible. All things considered, the Blu-ray edition of Miracle looks amazing and readily trounces its standard DVD counterpart. Fans will be ecstatic to see how well the film has made the leap to high definition.
Disney's sinewy DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is even more arresting. Whether sending a clattering puck skittering across the soundfield or filling your home theater with the deafening roar of an impassioned Olympic crowd, the mix carefully utilizing every speaker to create an immersive experience worthy of high praise. Ambience is a regular player in each scene, interior acoustics are accurate and astute, and reliable LFE support infuses every voice and effect with weight and dimension. Even when Miracle presents the subdued sonics of the Brooks' homestead or the quiet confines of a conference room, the film's soundscape remains effective. It helps that dialogue, whispered one moment and barked the next, is impeccable in all but a handful of scenes. A few locker-room exchanges are overwhelmed by crashing tables and arguing hotheads, but I doubt O'Connor would have it any other way. In the end, I'm pleased to report that Disney's lossless output continues to impress. Miracle's DTS-HD MA track not only rounds out an excellent AV presentation, it stands head and shoulders above the majority of sports-genre audio mixes on the market.