3 out of 5 stars
When looking to pitch an inspirational film, not many writers would use a fishing contest as the backdrop. Unless you involve a hurricane and a group of orphans hoping to save their home from being taken away. That might get the film executives’ attention. Blue Miracle is a true-to-life story of Omar Venegas (Jimmy Gonzales) and his attempt to rescue the parentless children and the orphanage of Casa Hogar.
As the legal guardian for a home for boys, Omar has been pushed to the limit to keep the doors open in Mexico’s Baja California. Things only worsen when the coastline is hit by Hurricane Odile, which causes more damage to the orphanage and makes their cause even more desperate. Until they are given a chance to earn enough money to repair their facilities, but opportunity is a long-shot at best. The world-famous Bisbee Black & Blue Tournament is being held in their community. The prize money for catching the biggest marlin would mean Omar’s financial issues would end. Fortunately, the organisers make an exception to their normal rules and allow his untrained team of boys to join a fishing boat in the competition.
Captain Wade Malloy (Dennis Quaid) is willing to have the boys and their guardian on his boat, as long as they stay out of his way. As a two-time winner of the event, he is desperate to get back to his past fame on the high seas. The orphans give him a chance to be in the competition since they are locals. All they have to do is get out in the ocean and catch the largest catch of their lives. He and Omar work together to make the best of the competitors' formidable pairing. But the three-day tournament in the open waters begins to take its toll on the unlikely crew. Since they all have so much at stake during this event, tensions do run high, but this brings them closer together. Still, will it be enough to win the illustrious competition?
‘God always gives his blessings wholly, He never gives just half.’ - Omar Venegas
Even though Blue Miracle is not marketed as a faith-based film, God’s fingerprints are all over this project. There are no direct references to the church or the Bible.Yet, there is an apparent faith element in the screenplay through topics like prayer and family. Netflix lifts the quality of this inspirational story with the inclusion of Hollywood heavyweight Dennis Quaid and a well-crafted storyline that manages to make a fishing tournament compelling. The production quality helps this film rise above the standard fare we have come to expect from this movie genre.
Director Julio Quintana and writer Chris Dowling do take some artistic license with some of the narrative. Even though Captain Malloy is fictionalised and aspects of the story are deleted, none of these elements detract from Team Casa Hogar’s story. They manage to capitalise on the realities of life on the Mexican streets and show the importance of mission works like that of the Venegases. Despite the language and violent aspects of streetlife being sanitised, it does provide a glimpse into this world. This makes this film a must-see for families looking for entertainment that will engage every family member.
REEL DIALOGUE: What does it mean to be a father to your children?
'Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.' Psalm 127:3-5
Blue Miracle provides multiple opportunities to discuss the value of fathers. Even though these orphans do not know their true father, Omar ‘Papa’ Venegas does offer these boys the example they need.
One aspect of fatherhood that tends to get overlooked is that it is not only a responsibility, but it is a privilege. Children are indeed a blessing. It can be hard to remember this during the early morning feedings or the latest car smash. Still, these unexpected things should not diminish the gift that they are in our lives.
Fathers need to look at this opportunity as an honour and do all that can be done to be the men our children need us to be. Some days are more complicated than others, but thankfully, the Bible gives us the instruction manual to help mold our children. Prayer provides the comfort to watch over them in all situations.
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" - Joshua 24:15