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Western Animation / The Star

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A Christmas film produced by Sony Pictures Animation in association with Walden Media, The Jim Henson Company, Affirm Films (Sony's religious film unit), and Franklin Entertainment, with animation duties given to Cinesite, released by Columbia Pictures on November 17, 2017.

The film is a retelling of the Nativity of Jesus, as outlined in the New Testament in The Bible... except told in the perspective of the animals who accompany Mary and Joseph before and during Jesus' birth. The group of animals, led by a Donkey named Bo (Steven Yeun), become unlikely heroes as they embark on a journey to protect Mary and Joseph as they reach to Bethlehem.

Featuring an All-Star Cast of sorts, boasting Yeun, Kelly Clarkson, Kristin Chenoweth, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Morgan, Kris Kristofferson, Keegan-Michael Key and Christopher Plummer among many, many others. It is the first religious-themed animated film to be released to a wide audience since The Prince of Egypt.

Previews: Teaser Trailer, Official Trailer

The Star contains examples of:

  • Anachronistic Animal: Inverted with Rufus, who might resemble a modern Staffordshire Bull Terrier but could possibly be an extinct breed of dog known in the ancient world as an Alaunt.
  • Animal Talk: The animals can speak to each other, but not to the humans.
  • Big Bad: King Herod, for obvious reasons. His Dragon, the "royal dog walker," acts as the primary threat to the protagonists.
  • Butt-Monkey: Dave the Dove is the target of most of the jokes and slapstick.
    • Joseph suffers some of this just about anytime he and Bo share a scene.
  • Cassandra Truth: Deborah the Camel is full of them.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Chekhov's Skill: Ruth teaches Bo how to descend cliffs. This new knowledge comes in handy during the climax.
  • Clean, Pretty Childbirth: While the birth happens off-screen, there's no indication that Jesus came out as anything other than completely clean, and Mary doesn't look the least bit unkempt.
  • Comic Trio: The camels fit this trope like a glove with Cyrus as The Leader, Felix as The Fool and Deborah as the Only Sane Man.
  • Dead Hat Shot: Once Herod's hunter falls to his death, all that is shown is his helmet bouncing to the side.
  • Denser and Wackier: In comparison with the source material.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Bo causes those twice. He tries to do one thing that goes amazingly wrong and then, by sheer luck, he gets what he wanted (being freed of the millstone first, and later stopping Herod's Hunter for a short while).
  • Disney Villain Death: The royal dog walker who pursues the holy family throughout the movie falls to his death off a cliff.
  • The Dragon: Herod's hunter, who is sent to kill Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.
    • The miller, who owns Bo and the older donkey is a secondary antagonist for Bo.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Mary, who accepts the help of a jerboa, and shows kindness to Bo by bandaging his leg in a splint.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The hunter's dogs Rufus and Thaddeus, after Bo saves them from falling to their death with their master (who had let go of them before he fell).
  • Human Ladder: The camels do this a number of times while they're at the palace.
  • Huge Rider, Tiny Mount: When the camels first encounter the guard dogs, they bark at them to make them pile up on each other. Cyrus hops onto Deborah, and Felix climbs onto the top of the stack. Naturally, Deborah loses her footing and topples over, especially since Cyrus is much bigger than her.
  • It Will Never Catch On: After Jesus is born, Deborah says that people worldwide will celebrate that moment for thousands of years to come by giving presents and singing carols. Cyrus and Felix laugh at her.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Bo, preparing to face down a pair of angry dogs determined to get to the holy family.
    Bo: "If you want them, you'll have to go through me!"
  • Lighter and Softer: Most of the "adult" scenes from the Bible passages are toned down. The birth uses Scenery Censor and cuts away to the fight between Bo and the "royal dog master." Later, one of the end credit backgrounds shows the family travelling to Egypt. (For the reason, check the Bible passage.)
  • Light Is Not Good: Played for Laughs. The Star of Bethlehem's light drove the barn animals insane with insomnia.
  • Look, a Distraction!: Bo uses this quite effectively on a vicious dog.
  • MacGuffin Title: The Star just lights the way to a certain stable in Bethlehem. Most of the action is done by the donkey Bo.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Ruth likes to be very close to her friends, as she is used to do in her herd.
  • Out Giving Birth, Back in Two Minutes: The birth takes place over a fight scene that last several minutes.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Bo the donkey, Dave the dove, Ruth the sheep, Leah the horse, Zach the goat, and Edith the cow. After being deserted by the hunter, Rufus and Thaddeus join the group at Bethlehem.
  • Savage Wolves: Thaddeus is a prime example of this, until the end when he became a Noble Wolf.
  • Saving Christmas: The premise as described in previews: "On November 17, one donkey, three camels, a dancing bird, and one pygmy gerboa are teaming up to save the first Christmas."
  • Scooby Stack: The camels are overly fond of this trope.
  • Silent Antagonist: King Herod's hunter never says a single word throughout the whole film and only grunts.
  • Translation Convention: Around the animals.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Given that his motivation is infanticide, King Herod is naturally not portrayed as lightly as most of the other characters.