Dearest Blog: today it was off to Marquee Cinemas for an uncommon treat: Lou Diamond Phillips on the big screen in The 33. Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers or the news.
A mine in Chile collapses, trapping 33 miners underground for over two months.
Dear reader(s), make no mistake: This is a fascinating, inspiring story that's more than worth hearing.
Shame somebody couldn't do a better job of telling it.
For The 33's purposes, it's not good enough that these men survived such extraordinary circumstances.
Not good enough, the genuine angst of family and friends camped out waiting for any small bit of news. Not good enough, the folks whose great leaps of faith ensured hope was never abandoned.
The melodrama is laid on so thick that connecting to any real emotion is...well...about as easy as finding a bunch of guys buried under thousands of feet of solid rock. The miners' personalities are so broadly-drawn they're little more than caricatures, and the dialogue is just plain cheesy.
That's the bad news. The good news is, an excessive runtime doesn't really feel like it. Despite a well-known outcome, the movie still expertly maintains tension as the audience waits with the miners' loved ones for any positive sign. We West Virginians are no strangers to holding our collective breath through such events, and the painful experience is effectively portrayed onscreen.
There's some strong work among the supporting cast, even if most of the headliners are quite over the top. Lou Diamond Phillips is amazing, because Lou Diamond Phillips is always amazing. (That's a scientific fact.) There are some good laughs and some cheap ones--the good ones lightening the mood at just the right moments--and James Horner's score is terrific.
Overall, an imperfect exercise, but still worth a look. The 33 clocks in at 127 minutes and is rated PG13 for "a disaster sequence and some language." The 33 isn't a terrible movie, yet it's hard not to think such a great story deserves better. Of a possible nine Weasleys, The 33 gets five. Until next time...