(On Cable TV, January 2019) The increasingly affordable nature of computer animation means that you now often get small studios taking chances on projects that would have been too odd or niche to accomplish at a higher budget. Hence The Star. A nativity story featuring talking-animal comedy is not exactly the kind of thing that seems obvious—the mixture of the sacred and the, ahem, profane is odd enough, but with a budget set at $20M it became a conceptually profitable endeavour even for a major studio such as Sony (working with Cinesite’s Montréal Studio), distributing a film far more faith-based than most Hollywood releases. The budget most clearly shows in the rather amazing voice cast assembled here, from Oprah to Tyler Perry to Ving Rhames to Zachary Levy to Kristin Chenoweth to Christopher Plummer—with Mariah Carey singing along the way. Still, the strange blend of religious earnestness and talking-animal comedy does works better than expected, and The Star should become a minor holiday reference for a few years to come.