Sony Pictures Animation, which has fallen on hard times critically in recent years (though “The Emoji Movie” turned a profit and “Hotel Transylvania 2” had the biggest September opening of all time until “IT”
beat it last month), is pinning its holiday hopes on “The Star.” It’s a warmhearted retelling of the first Christmas from the point of view of the animals who become accidental heroes (opening November 17).
The first trailer launched Wednesday with an emphasis on physical hijinks and the diverse star power of voice actors Gina Rodriguez, Zachary Levi, Keegan-Michael Key, Kelly Clarkson, Anthony Anderson, Aidy Bryant, Ving Rhames, Gabriel Iglesias, Patricia Heaton, Kristin Chenoweth, Christopher Plummer, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey.
The story revolves around Bo, the donkey (Yeun), Leah the horse (Clarkson), Ruth the sheep (Bryant), and Dave the dove (Key) stumbling into “The Greatest Story Ever Told” with some wisecracking camels and stable animals.
Directed by Timothy Reckart (the Oscar-nominated short, “Head Over Heels”), but outsourced to Cinesite Studios, there’s only a hint of charm and beauty. Let’s hope this isn’t a missed opportunity for Reckart’s feature debut, since he showed so much promise in his stop-motion short about a bittersweet, upside down marriage.