Movies are the one thing that can give my brain a reset because I get all involved in the story. When I got the evite to attend a preview showing of an animated story of the Baby Jesus, I was all in. As I registered for tickets, I was encouraged to bring kids. So I met the grands and their sweet Mama at The Varsity for dinner and we settled in for their first theater movie.

Sony Pictures Animation has a winner here. The story of the first Christmas is told from the animals’ perspective. Once Bo (short for Boaz) is befriended by newlyweds Mary and Joseph (six months into the pregnancy) the story moves quickly. Bo’s sidekick is Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Bo and Dave dream of joining a royal caravan, but when they see that Mary is in danger of a big meaner with two angry dogs, they head to Bethlehem to warn her. On the journey to Bethlehem they team up with Ruth, a loveable sheep who has lost her flock, as she knows there is something special about that bright star in the night sky. So much so that Ruth is now a lone sheep far from her flock.

Snippets of subtle Christmas music is throughout the story. The animation prompts me to want to touch the screen because it. is. beautiful. The fur, the eyelashes, Mary’s freckles, Joseph’s expressive eyes, the lighting draws you into the story immediately. The humor is plentiful and thankfully, nothing is crude. This totally impressed me in the storytelling. Even the sinister Herod and the meaner with the dogs never crossed the line of creepy-scary. When the wisecracking camels sarcastically called Herod, “sinister”, that’s enough to let you know who the villain is. His meaner henchman never says a word and I can’t even recall him making a sound. He wears an iron mask (yeah, think Man in the Iron Mask) and is just a huge guy who leads the two meaner dogs who undergo a transformation by the end of the movie because of the kindness of Bo.

The laughter of all the kids in the movie was a beautiful sound to hear because this movie is SO funny, but clean, encouraging, and not sassy. I admit to tearing up twice…at an animated movie! My grandson’s favorite line happened toward the end when the meaner dogs want to see the newborn king. Just as the scene could turn me into an emotional mess as the other animals let the meaner dogs near the manger, a wisecracking camel jumps in and yells, “Look only with your eyes!” which caused us all to roll in laughter. I heard the phrase a dozen times on the walk to the car in the parking lot.

THE STAR is precious. It is beautiful. It is hilarious. It is younger-elementary and preschool friendly. Our three-year-old granddaughter got startled at an action scene toward the end because she had dozed off in her Mama’s lap. She loved Mary and the camels, and was most excited about the colored pencils and coloring sheets that came in the swag-bag.

The facilitator of the preview said the movie was still in post-production so there will be more to come when it opens this weekend on November 17th. The preview was less than an hour which is a good time for preschoolers. At the conclusion of the movie we answered a question about the biblical account to get an early-reader book which my grandson started reading as soon as he was locked and loaded in his car seat.

The closest theater showing The Star to my local church is not close, but I am going to try to put together a trip for us all to enjoy. Road trip anyone?

Additional Resources: (includes discussion starters)

“Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.'” Luke 5:26