Jennifer Lopez had joined to lead the cast of the film but later left due to scheduling conflicts with American Idol. See more »
In the opening scene, Alex Vega wears Universidad de Chile's commemorative Copa Sudamericana shirt. This soccer team won its first (and only) Cup in 2012, 2 years after the events take place (2010). See more »
The 33 is based on a true story about thirty-three miners who were trapped underground after an earthquake back in 2010. A film adaptation could have easily been another one of those claustrophobic/isolated approach such as Cast Away, 127 Hours or Buried, where we only focus on the protagonist finding a way to get out. But no, it's a movie that bounces into different locations, characters (even outside the cave) and themes; so this might as well be The Martian, except it's twice as conventional and sentimental. Yeah, the movie doesn't quite manage to linger on the ordeals, which makes The 33 a mostly contrived piece of drama.
The movie doesn't wait longer for the miners to face the mishap, though it does take some time to establish each of their personal life, more specifically with their loved ones who are also going to help pushing the government to get them back. After those moments of shoehorning, foreshadowing and the accident finally happened, the victims gone paranoid and plan ahead for the rest of their days, finally facing the reality of their situation, while their loved ones are protesting for the lack of information of the incident. It's not a bad setup, but as the story goes, it just goes to the most standard, almost Hallmark worthy drama. It hardly takes any risks, it just pushes into easy sentiments. Though there is some strong moments, well sort of. Specifically after an incredibly awkward hallucination sequence from the miners, it suddenly segues to a quiet moment of reality. That silence is the kind of gravity this movie needed more, but again, it's supposed to be a feel-good inspiration, so we don't see much of a compelling struggle.
The characters aren't given enough definition either, aside of their families, thus their moments below the cave is basically just a series of melodramatic issues that get easily resolved. However, it is visually appealing, the production and the setting really look flavorful in detail. The direction also solidly put its action together, but only for the sake of spectacle rather than suspense. The acting is pretty strange, one could argue that these international actors are just great enough to play these roles, but the accents are just so unnatural. Put that aside, well their performances eventually turn out to be predictable in this dramatic platform's standards.
I wanted to like The 33, this is a good story and I believe this can be perfect on screen if it was handled by a much inspired storytelling, but it goes to the breeziest route that every conventional drama typically end up. Maybe a little more gravitas like its quietest moments, maybe more depth from at least some of these miners aside of their relationships and single noted personalities. In the end, most of the conclusion feels unearned, not because of there was no effort, but because the movie doesn't quite linger at the more interesting parts of this dilemma. We've seen this approach before and we knew that it doesn't quite bring much tension, depth or complexity with its story, thus everything feels underwhelming.
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