The 33 (Blu-ray Review)

When I first saw of this film’s title, I thought, “Wow! A movie about the Freemasons!” However, that was not the case. The 33 is in fact a film about the horrible Chilean mine collapse that took place in 2010, trapping 33 miners in its depths (200 stories down, to be exact). While these hard-working souls went into the belly of the earth to literally do the dirty work of others, it was an unbreakable bond that would soon forever bind the group of men as they attempted to survive being buried alive.




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If you are familiar with how this story played out in real life, there is no need for me to describe all of what happened and how it turned out.  If you don’t remember the events that played out, then I will not give them away here.  Just trust me when I say this film isn’t short on suspense or drama.  First you have the initial trauma of the mine collapsing.  This is followed by panic and leadership; two very different emotional directions that take place simultaneously.

The 33 clocks in at just a hair over two hours, 127 minutes to be exact.  As I mentioned, there is plenty of drama to go around in this one, but there is also a great deal of emotional range as well.  You will laugh, be angry, be fearful, and you may even shed a tear or two by the time the credits roll.  Either way,  The 33 does a very functional job of bringing this catastrophe to our Blu-ray players, although there is one glaring aspect that prevented this film from scoring at least half a mark higher here…it should have been in Spanish.

About 99% of The 33 is in English, and for a film that takes place in the heart of Chile, it should have been in Spanish from top to bottom, except for the English newscasts of course.  While I do not speak Spanish, the movie gods have fortunately invented subtitles, but I understand that can be a deterrent for an uncultured American movie-going audience.  The bottom line is Spanish dialogue would have added even more authenticity to this already good movie.

And now comes the “But I digress” line.  So as for the rest of the film, its effects were decent as was the acting.  Antonio Banderas really carries this movie and you might recognize Lou Diamond Phillips as well, but it is the former who really leaves one heck of a mark on this story.   Finally, the story was delivered with a pace that carried the movie effectively without rushing or stalling on the flow of the film.  I would give it a second watch but it may be sometime before that happens.

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Encoding: MPEG4-AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

As the movie switches back and forth from the miners’ struggles underground and the progress of their rescue on the surface, we are exposed to the muggy, dingy conditions of the faulted mine which are displayed rather accurately.  The above-ground shots are bright and lush with the colors of the citizens’ clothing to the earth tones of the Atacama Desert.  There is little to no visual noise to speak of, though the CGI of the collapse looks very CGI-ish at times.

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The sound in The 33 is very expressive and the mine’s collapse is something to behold as your speakers will be rockin’ when that earthly ceiling starts coming down.  There’s not a whole lot to say here as this is usually my least favorite area to talk about.  After all, how much can you say?  Front speakers are typically reserved for dialogue and the rear speakers deliver a lot of the effects.  Such is the case here.  In short, it’s not perfect, but it certainly does not disappoint.

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There was a good thing going here with all the decent scores this film was racking up in the review until we hit this part.  It’s never a good thing when you can count a disc’s special features on one hand.  Not only are the few in number, but they are short on time as well.  Another big flaw is that of the three items here, one is a trailer and the two that are not, blend together so there really is not a whole lot distinguishable between those two.

  • The Mine Collapse – Trust me, there’s no science of the mine collapse here.  It’s a bunch of hurried shots and quick discussions with the director and some of the cast. (3:54)
  • The 33: The World was Watching – It’s a bunch of hurried shots and quick discussions with the director and some of the cast…again. (3:05)
  • Theatrical Trailer (2:34)

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The 33 was a very enjoyable movie where I never really found myself looking at the clock.  Mark my words, you will get frustrated with the bureaucracy that took place in the real life event which is vividly put on display here.  I always found it ironic how countries would sometimes rather put up a statue in memory of someone rather than make the effort to expeditiously help them.  Director Patricia Riggen did a commendable job bringing everything together in this movie and taking the reality of the San Jose  mine collapse and putting it on film in all its heartfelt honesty.









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