What is it about disasters that we enjoy watching? I could come up with a number of reasons, but the bottom line is that Hollywood has shifted to dramatizing former events as a means for more movies. Hi, Robbie K here bringing you another review of the latest films to grace the screen. Tonight we hit Deepwater Horizon starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and a handful of other actors. Let's get started.
LIKES: • Great acting • Over the top graphics • Emotionally stimulating
You might be thinking that I have gone crazy, after all Wahlberg hasn't had the greatest roles. Deepwater Horizon breaks the mediocre streak and drops him into a position that may net him an Oscar nomination. Wahlberg's portrayal of Mike Williams is certainly a heroic one filled with wisdom, strength, and a calm edge that sets the stage for a natural leader. But there is also a realistic side brought out near the second half the screen that balances out the heroic theatrics of Hollywood. Kurt Russell no surprise plays his usual rugged role, making sure to add the hard edge testosterone rush all older actors need to bring. Hudson and Malkovich get A's as well, each bringing the needed involvement to round out the cast. All the extras and lesser billed roles complete the picture as a close oil crew, but much of their time is spent standing around or ducking from fire.
Speaking of fire, the visual effects are top notch in terms of computer graphic imaging. Deepwater Horizon's reconstruction of an oil rig succumbing to its doom is very realistic. For you technical folks, the directors have crafted scenes to mimic the daily operations involved with pumping oil, from watching gritty mud flow through the pipe to the cracking foundation floor. That sound boring? Well those looking for a little more suspense will be impressed when the whole operation blows to pieces…literally. You might be amazed seeing the rig, and its crew, get covered in oil before erupting into a fiery inferno you've seen in the trailers. My friend described the visuals being so good, he felt immersed into the disaster, wanting to duck or dive as explosions rattled the screen.
Of course the real magic to the visual effects are the emotions it brings with it. The various sequences and montages of the exploding metal certainly paints a terrifying picture as you wonder how much time is left until something falls. Now add our characters trying to traverse the obstacle course from heck, feeling horrifying chills run through your body as you watch human bodies hurled through the air and disturbing injuries protruding in gory details. However, it is not all dismay and dread, no Deepwater Horizon has plenty of sequences and montages of heroism that will make you a little proud to be a human…no matter how overly theatrical it could be.
DISLIKES: • Overdramatic at times • Already know the ending • Editing needs work
I'm probably sounding overcritical or nonsensical, but here it goes anyway. Deepwater Horizon is at times a bit on the overdramatic side. As I said, much of the movie will light a fire in your soul that will have your patriotism in full force. Unfortunately, some of these moments are a bit too fake and in your face to get my full backing, primarily making an effort to pan on the American flag flapping in the flames. Even the more heroic moments sometimes get a bit too corny, the overdramatic focus on the camera amid a symphony soundtrack blaring pride. Again, they get the message across and deliver the emotion, it just sometimes gets a little too Hollywood for me.
The special effects and the noble protagonist will certainly spread suspense and awe, but it doesn't help that you know the ending. If you paid attention to the news, you know all about what happens to the rig, and if you choose to ignore history take a look at the trailer. The opening sequence doesn't help things either by telling you the fate of a certain character that further adds predictability to the mix. What does leave in terms of suspense and surprise? Pretty much it is the fate of the crew that held any mystery to me, and that was scarce at times. Perhaps another minor dislike, but still one nonetheless.
In regards to the editing, this one is a tough call to make. On the one hand I appreciate the details they provide about the incident, from the development of the disaster to how they faced the inferno the rig became. And yet, I felt some of it was elaborated too much for my liking. The build up was a little too long and drawn out, making it slightly boring as we waited for the dirt to hit the pipe. As the oil begins to bloom into a fountain the pace picks up, but then hits a very slow, somewhat pointless, standstill at the aftermath of the situation. Yes, it provides realism and rounding out of the characters, but again is a little too extended after all the excitement. They probably could have spared about fifteen minutes, but hey that's just me.
Despite this being the third historical event to get a movie this month, Deepwater Horizon will provide the emotional thrills you want. A fantastic CGI design that's brimming with emotion and suspense. However, the predictability and overdramatic moments fall in line with Hollywood's magic and takes away from the message of the movie. I have to recommend this one for the theater though, primarily for the technological achievements it brings.
Overall my scores are:
Action/Drama/Thriller: 8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0