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Deepwater Horizon

Manufacturer: Universal Studios
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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“Mark Wahlberg leads an all-star cast in this unforgettably powerful film inspired by a thrilling story of real-life heroes. For the one hundred and twenty-six people aboard the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig, April 20, 2010, began like any normal day. Before day’s end, the world would bear witness to one of the greatest man-made disasters in U.S. history. Deepwater Horizon reveals the brave acts of the men and women who rose to the challenge—and risked everything to lead others to safety.” That is the official description for Deepwater Horizon, which is directed by Peter Berg, and is available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.

It’s highly unlikely that you haven’t heard about the massive oil spill and oil rig destruction caused by the negligence of the BP oil company. You may have even read about the ordeal and about the experiences of some of the surviving workers. Deepwater Horizon takes these true story events and molds them into a very powerful action-oriented drama, which successfully depicts the age-old belief that corporations value money above all else.

The film starts off by introducing us to the various characters who play pivotal roles in this story. A few of the scenes also hint at the upcoming disaster... the most telling of which is when Mike Williams’ daughter talks about her school report and demonstrates what happens on an oil rig by using a straw and a can of soda to depict the eruption of oil from a drill site. Then at about 50 minutes into the film, all hell breaks loose. The action is intense and the heroism of the characters is demonstrated with gripping suspense.

Some of the most poignant scenes in the film, however, are shown in the aftermath. These include when Kurt Russell’s character, Jimmy Harrell, does a roll-call to determine who has and hasn’t survived; when the crew says a prayer on the deck of the rescue ship while watching the oil rig go down in flames; when Mark Wahlberg’s character, Mike Williams, walks into the hotel lobby upon returning from the disaster and is accosted by some of the family members of the deceased, who are just trying to find out what happened to their loved ones. These scenes show the stark reality of what can come about from the bad decisions, callousness, and greed of corporations.

All of the aforementioned scenes are shown in full detail in the 4K Ultra HD version. Filmed digitally with a 2160p transfer and 2.40:1 aspect ratio, the visual elements of the movie are stunning. Aside from the poignant moments, the scenes with all the action and destruction seem like they might burst through the screen at any moment. The details of each shot are very crisp and sometimes a little too revealing when people begin getting hurt. The Dolby Atmos audio track is also excellent, not only providing a realistic experience during the raging fires and explosions, but also during the calm moments with the atmospheric noises of the oil rig lending to the viewing experience.

Although, not quite as engrossing as the film itself, Deepwater Horizon provides a good collection of bonus features that includes the following:

* Beyond the Horizon (4K and Blu-ray) – an hour-long five-part series featuring interviews with Mark Wahlberg and some of the cast as they discuss what it was like to make the film along with their real-life counterparts from the actual Deepwater Horizon crew.
* Captain of the Rig: Peter Berg (4K and Blu-ray) – a 18 minute featurette that showcases the director, Peter Berg, and how he brought the film to life.
* The Fury of the Rig - a 27 minute featurette that talks about the sets and how they were filmed.
* Deepwater Surveillance - a 18 minute featurette containing twelve clips of raw footage that show how multi-camera shots were used to capture the simultaneous action scenes.
* Work Like an American - a 18 minute tribute to the oil rig workers who were the subjects of the film.
* Deepwater Horizon VR - in addition to the bonus features included with the package, Lionsgate also provides a free smartphone app, which is downloadable from the App Store and Google Play. The app includes three film scenes with commentary that allows you to experience the scenes in VR with any compatible device or in 360 video mode without a device. Links are provided below.

Deepwater Horizon provides an excellent portrayal of the true story of one of the greatest man-made disasters in U.S. history. It successfully depicts how greed and downright disregard for human life can lead to destruction. But it also shows that there are still plenty of good people in this world who are willing to do what’s right, no matter what the cost. Both the audio and video of this package provide an excellent viewing experience and Deepwater Horizon is one story that you won’t want to miss.

For more information, visit:
* Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mBVbA9
* Lionsgate: lionsgate.com
* Google Play: play.google.com
* App Store: itunes.apple.com
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