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Goal! The Dream Begins

  • compiled by Josh Hurst Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jan
Goal! The Dream Begins

from Film Forum, 05/18/06

There are two kinds of sports movies: The inspiring, uplifting tales of the underdog conquering the odds and attaining victory, and there's … uh, well, actually, there's pretty much just one kind of sports movie. For what the genre tends to lack in originality, though, it often makes up for in crowd-pleasing intensity—precisely the virtue that made Remember the Titans and Glory Road recent family favorites.

The latest entry in the genre, and the first in a planned trilogy, is Goal! The Dream Begins. An overcoming-the-odds soccer story, Goal! follows the rise of young athletic hopeful Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker), a Los Angeles youth who dreams of making it to the professionals. His family, however, doesn't share his dream—in fact, his father has his own plans of opening a landscaping business with his son's help.

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) says the film is flawed but worth seeing. "Despite the underdeveloped characters and the overlong length, director Danny Cannon, helped by Becker's appealing performance, has made a crowd-pleasing film that manages to score."

Christopher Lyon (Plugged In) agrees: "Goal! reaches for and pushes all those familiar sports-movie buttons in this pool-boy-to-global-sports-hero story. Despite the fact that its only original twist is that the football is black-and-white-and-round, fans of the sports genre, in general, and soccer, specifically, will find the old tune to be still plenty catchy."

Douglas Downs (Christian Spotlight), however, is not so impressed: "My advice is to skip this one and tell Disney you want to see more films like Narnia. We're not buying your recycled spoiled formula."

Mainstream critics are divided on whether this Dream is worth pursuing.

© Josh Hurst 2006, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.