Blue Miracle 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: Julio Quintana
Writers: Chris Dowling, Julio Quintana
Stars: Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Dennis Quaid, Bruce McGill
a beach-side town with loud colours. Blue surf boards, yellow hummers, people sporting vibrant-coloured sunglasses all round. It’s a laidback town, where everyone is one a first-name basis with each other, and it comes alive for an annual tournament. It’s a screenplay structure that has been used and rehashed by scores of Hollywood productions during the late ’90s and early ’00s. These films wouldn’t necessarily be what one might consider ‘high art’, and most of the actors in them wouldn’t go on to necessarily ‘make it’. And that’s because a large percentage of these movies were birthed by spread-sheets depending on ‘what works’, and most of these would be released directly on TV.
However, that also doesn’t automatically mean that these were outright terrible. In fact, if one is lazing around on a Sunday afternoon, and if they were to catch it while mindlessly surfing the TV channels (like the good old days), they might even sit and watch the whole thing. Of course, they wouldn’t be raving about it, but that’s a debate for a different day. These were predictable, schmaltzy stories where people with washboard abs, would mistake their tiny inconveniences for ‘conflicts’ (they obviously aren’t, and you know that within the first five minutes). Julio Quintana’s Blue Miracle sits comfortably in this not-terrible-but-inoffensive-at-best genre of movies.
Omar (Jimmy Gonzalez) grew up on the streets of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He’s slowly built a life for himself that allows him and his partner, Becca (Fernanda Urrejola), to run a shelter called Casa Hogar that takes in kids from the streets. Running primarily on private donations and stretched thin with the local banks, Casa Hogar, like most orphanages in films, risks being shut down. Omar might seem like a cheery, pep-talk-giving mentor for these kids, teaching them to do the ‘right thing’, but he’s also haunted by childhood trauma. He wakes up in the middle of the night because of repeated nightmares of drowning. We later find out that he lost his father in a boating accident, when he was younger than the kids he is fostering at Casa Hogar. There are also hints at how he used to work as a drug mule, a life he eventually gave up. Omar needs to come up with $117,000 to save Casa Hogar. And just like that, in drops Dennis Quaid as Captain Wade Malloy. A washed-up seaman, whose gruff voice seems to suggest alcohol dependency and a failed marriage. Both turn out to be true.
Captain Wade, originally from San Diego, has been living in San Luca Cabo for the past 25 years. He prides himself as a two-time champion of the Bisbee’s Black-and-Blue tournament. The tournament is about fishing boats venturing into the sea for three consecutive days, and catching a fish that weighs the most (usually marlins). With a contrivance only possible through a Hollywood screenwriter, Captain Wade is paired with Omar and his boys, so that he can get a shot at the $250,000 cash prize, which might also help Omar’s hope at saving the orphanage. When the kids and Omar venture out to the sea with Captain Wade for the first time, he comes across as a perpetually irate person, who frets over little things, and is constantly policing the kids. But like it usually happens in the feel-good Disney storylines, we all know that he’ll eventually warm up to them. Blue Miracle does its very best to convince us that it is not cut from the same cloth, and that an altogether new denouement will emerge out of all this. However, just looking at the film’s many creative choices in the first hour, you have a hint that it will tread the path most trodden.
Director Quintana wants us to believe he’s made an ‘authentic’ movie, setting it in a neighbourhood where gun violence is as frequent as a blackout. And that Blue Miracle is not like those frivolous direct-to-AXN movies set in Florida or California, but it seems to be catering to the same audience. The cast of the Mexican kids is too Americanised, with one of them literally being called Hollywood. They all speak in English (from the hood) to each other with the odd Spanish word interspersed like mijo, tranquilo, usually ending most lines of dialogue with güey. The music used is largely American hip-hop set to transition shots meant to exoticise the “beauty” of San Lucas Cabo. Also, despite their best attempts, Captain Wade’s character never really amounts to much beyond the ‘white saviour’ for these chirpy, spirited boys on the streets of Mexico. There was every opportunity to smartly subvert the trope of the saviour, but this isn’t *that* kind of a movie. It minds itself with themes of hope, courage, redemption… the corner-stones of mainstream storytelling.
Blue Miracle is based on a true story event that took place in 2014. It’s a pleasant, not-badly-acted film which isn’t jarring in its technique. But the only problem one might have with the film in the end, is its inability to trust itself and take a leap into the unknown. The screenplay seems so ‘test-screened’ that it fails to spring even a single surprise on its audience during its run-time of a hundred minutes. In the film, there’s plenty of talk about goodness in the world, and that hope is the greatest of things. Well, if there is such a thing as hope,