The 3rd Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon: The 33 (2015)

This post is part of the Remembering James Horner Blogathon hosted by Film Music Central

The 33 (2015)

The 33

Director: Patricia Riggen

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Rodrigo Santoro, James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Mario Casas, Jacob Vargas, Juan Pablo Raba, Oscar Nunez, Tenoch Huerta, Kate Del Castillo, Gabriel Byrne

Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days. – IMDB

I’m going to be honest that I tend to avoid biographical drama in general. For one, I tend to like my entertainment far from reality and second, I tend to like my entertainment more light and fluffy or something that requires me to suspend belief or whatnot. I do have to admit that I was intrigued by The 33 when it was first released despite the genre that it falls in. The usual idea in these movies especially one based on a traumatic event is the personal stories and the devastation of the situation. The line to draw here it to make it believable and not so manipulative, which for the most part, The 33 does quite well. The stories here do feel rather genuine and while there were 33 men trapped in the mine, the movie focused on a few of them only, while also alternating to the rescue efforts on the surface, showing their families and government and the different faces of who is also pulled into the situation. It is a smart move to make sure that the stories don’t get too shallow and gives at least some characters their own depth and development.

The 33

With that said, there are some familiar faces here. The obvious leader of the pack in the movie and the movie is Antonio Banderas who plays as Mario who naturally is the glue and the one the men trust and is entrusted with the key to the food to ration for everyone. Antonio Banderas does a great job here. While I can’t say that I’ve seen Antonio Banderas in a whole lot of films, this is one that stands out to me especially when I always saw him as the slick and charming man but here is, given the circumstance of the film setting, rugged and devastated. We only get a few men down there with a spotlight, like Mario Casas as Alex Vega who has a pregnant wife to get back to, or Juan Pablo Raba as Dario, a recovering alcholic who spent his life being mad at his sister Mario, played by Juliette Binoche, for abandoning him and trying to find out how to make it work. Then you throw in the Bolivian who adds a bit of a social conflict in the group. In the parts of the 33 men trapped there, its hard to not feel devastated with them especially in the beginning when they don’t know whether anyone is going to save them and going through the roller coaster of emotions of hope and being hopeless and eventually feeling like they can get out. 69 days is a long time and its an honest miracle. I think the downfall of this is that somehow the emotional trauma of these men were never fully explored. However, you can argue that it took away from the emotionally manipulative angle and tried to just keep it real.

On the other hand, the surface characters included names like Juliette Binoche that I mentioned before. It was quite a surprise to see her here as she is a French actress. However, she is her stellar self even in a role like this as a worried sister waiting for her brother to come back. The same goes to Kate Del Castillo that plays Mario’s wife. Its a lot of characters to go through so despite focusing on just a few families, the plot has a hard time focusing on what is important and that takes away from how much we actually get to know these characters because how can we not care because The 33 was an actual thing that happened. Even if we knew the outcome, it still has its significance. However, adding into the surface mix is Rodrigo Santoro, who I’ve seen in a lot of movies in supporting roles as the Minister of Mining. In many ways, it seems his character gets the most development as he proves that he isn’t just talk to particularly Maria. The trials and failures and eureka moments from the surface were almost more devastating than the men that were trapped down there, as I watched the film.

The 33

This is part of the Remembering James Horner Blogathon so its a must to look at the score and it does a fantastic job. James Horner scores the piece knowing exactly when to use the subtle music to accompany the scene but also knowing exactly when to create the tension, the danger and of course, emotion. He does a fine job at it and I do love the score quite a bit.

Overall, The 33 is a sufficient biographical drama. It reflected the dangerous situation that happened, highlighted  the social and political issues as well as the personal and emotional trauma that the whole thing brought up. There are some fantastic performances here that pulled at our heartstrings and it was properly devastating in some parts. The collapse at the beginning f the film was definitely the most effective part of the film as well as the revelation of how to learn from their mistakes. Its a pretty decent film even if its sheer indecision of what issue to focus on made it sometimes less poignant as it should have been.

You can check out my previous two years participation post for:

Once Upon a Forest
The Spiderwick Chronicles

300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

I FINALLY made it to the theatres! Its taken me a bit more than 2 months to get to a movie but I did! 🙂 I promise a few more coming up since I’m really determined to go see a few of the ones coming up.

My boyfriend and I are HUGE fans of 300.  He loves it for the action, the patriotism, the Spartans, the blood and gore and the story and the beautiful cinematography.  For me, other than chiselled men, I love the story and memorable quotes and just the honor and bravery behind the whole thing and of course, also the beautiful shots.  I will save this for a full-on review but this is the main motivation to go see this one 🙂

300 rise of an empire posterDirector: Noam Murro

Cast: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, David Wenham

Told through the view of Leonidas’ widow, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) after the events of 300, she tells the story of Themistokles, the Greek general who killed the Persian king, King Darius which enfuriates his son Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) who become a dark god through the manipulation of Artemisia (Eva Green) and lives to destroy Greece entirely.  However, Artemisia’s anger stems even deeper despite her Greek blood and she leads the Persian navy to conquer Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and his army.

Just a curious question before I start my little write-up. If you did go see 300: Rise of an Empire (or even before going to see it), how many of you expected a good movie? Personally, I didn’t have high hopes of its storyline.  I was sure that the graphics and cinematography would probably compare to 300 and there would still be buff guys fighting, blood and gore and all that to look at.  I went in completely blind.  I didn’t even read up on what this one was about and only watched a teaser trailer months ago.


300 Rise of an Empire is not really a completely a sequel but regardless, it tries to tie itself to the original 300 story.  In the end, 300 was more of a move that used their martyrdom to help Themistokles great plan of uniting the Greek cities.  The story itself is not the best.  Its attempt is not bad but definitely not as strong as 300 was.  300 was a tale of bravery and patriotism and honor all enveloped in one with memorable quotes and strong characters packed with lots of style and gore.  Rise of an Empire hold that style and gore and the atmosphere they set, effects and whatnot are all the plus of this movie.  The downside of it is in its characters and its story, both are not as strong. I’ll get to the characters in a little bit but for the story, it takes a while to take off in the beginning and honestly, within the first 30 minutes, I found myself almost falling asleep and desperately stuffing Fuzzy Peaches in my mouth to get a sugar rush to keep myself awake.  However, it does get better gradually as the narration tapers off and we start getting actual dialogue and the story moves along.


Talking about the characters, the first one is Themistokles.  I’m not saying the man is not good but he’s not Gerard Butler and not Leonidas. I think the best word to describe what he lacks is the charisma.  Still, he deliver some good action. Moving on to Eva Green who plays the Persian naval commander, for most, I think she will be the attraction.  She has an evilness but you’ll only see her in action at the very end making a lot of what she does just words, except when she has some aggressive sex with Themistokles and she shows off her breasts.  Eva Green is a good looking woman and she takes over the villainous role and puts Xerxes in the backseat.  My boyfriend didn’t quite like her role in it but I actually think it was effective enough. Those are the two leads that take up most of the movie and they aren’t quite as impressive as the original 300 cast but who am I kidding? Were we really here to get all deep and carefully plotted characters?


Before I go into a movie, I decide how I want to treat it.  For me, I went in with the mindset I have of watching any bloody, gory action movie.  Its for the entertainment of it.  Its going to have great fight scenes, memorable dialogues, nice set up of events and just offers a great time.  This one being a sequel also had to justify why this had to be made (other than just for racking in money because it can). For me, Rise of an Empire did that. It gave me reason enough to believe that this one was necessary and even reason enough for it to have another one. Plus, I was impressed with all the fights especially since now, they were all on the water.  Its gives it a different feeling from the first one: new strategies, new skills and between both of these, it kept some actors for characters in the previous movie (even stronger link) and kept some nice scenes and effects. As much as I didn’t like the beginning narration by Queen Gorgo, however she was a much needed addition to connect to the first part.

I didn’t expect much and I’m well aware of the flaws this one has but when the credits started rolling, I knew that I had a good time.  Nothing as great as 300 but I appreciated the effort.  I think thats what matters.  If you were a fan of the first one, I’d say you probably might end up enjoying this one as well 🙂

Have you seen 300 Rise of an Empire? What did you think of it? Did you think the story connected with the previous one in a good way