Dive Deep Into The Flaming Inferno

deepwater

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.

 

THE VERDICT:

            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

Morgan or Boregan? Scientific Moral Lesson In A Horrorless package

Morgan

            Picture it, flashing lights, eerie music and images of an artificial life being created on a giant screen.  Paints the idea of a science fiction horror movie right?  Yeah that’s what I thought when I saw the trailer for Morgan.  However, Hollywood is known for fooling us with their editing and therefore I return to my viewing spot once more.  Let’s get started

 

LIKES

  • A true science fiction plot
  • Decent acting
  • Twist in the end

 

To quote a friend, “We seldom get a true science fiction movie that isn’t drowned out by CGI action scenes and grotesque monsters.”  Fortunately, Morgan defies that trend and dives deep into the core of the genre, focusing on the scientific process in all its details.  In a script laden with scientific jargon, one will return to a college biology course sprinkled with a genetics topping.  But the natural science pales to Morgan’s primary focus of the ethics involved with creating life and trying to control it. Much of the film revolves around the small band of scientists arguing about Morgan’s role in life and what the future holds for their creation. It’s another black and white debate between parties, with some slight character development thrown in to add some depth.

As mentioned the film centers on scientists trying to rationalize the ethics of their creations.  So it’s probably important to have a good cast to bring the roles to life right?  In my opinion, the team did okay, but it wasn’t the most earth shattering performances to grace the screen. Kate Mara led the team playing a monotone role that while flat, held some mystery to it. While she certainly was able to look mean and perform stage combat, I wanted to see more of her character to round things out. Anya-Taylor Joy as Morgan certainly has the sociopathic role down and could easily play the next serial villain in a crime drama show. The other assembled casts did a smashing job on their part, both looking and playing the part of obsessive scientists to quite impressive levels.

But perhaps the biggest like of the movie was the twist in the end. In terms of the plot, there is more than meets the eye to some of the characters and the mystery begins to unravel as things heat up. You’ll have to get to the end of the film before the pieces fall together, but those with open eyes may pick up hints if they watch carefully. In addition, the movie actually gets a twist in genre at the end, turning into a part action movie with surprisingly violent stunts. While certainly cheesy this change of pace makes for a semi-exciting climax that relieves the movie of its drab pace.

DISLIKES:

  • Boring, slow pace
  • Not a horror movie or suspenseful
  • Graphic Torture

 

Morgan’s message about the mistakes made when playing God are beaten over the head, but the package it’s delivered in was so dull at times. Sure scientific minds may get caught up in the jargon and scientific ideas, but the team focused too much on the scholastic and not enough on the entertainment.  Surely the mystery element could make up for it, but I found little mystery in this movie other than when Morgan would go nuts, what would happen to her, and of course the twist I don’t want to ruin. If you’re into the moral dilemmas and high grade vocabulary this won’t bother you, but you might want to bring a pillow in case science wasn’t your cup of tea.

When the monotonous discussion eventually stops and the system begins to fail, I thought the suspense would pour in. Wrong again. Despite the dark hallways painted in red, there wasn’t much outside of Morgan’s creepy close ups that one would find unsettling.  I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but this movie lacks in thrills or suspense until the final fifteen to twenty minutes.  When it finally rears its head, the suspense comes in the form graphic torture, that involves brutal mauling, mindless shooting, and a little kung fu to sweeten the wet meat deal. I’ll admit some of these moments are fitting, however it also felt hastily wrapped up into an anticlimactic ending (like the ending to American Horror Story Season 4).

 

The VERDICT

Morgan held a lot of potential, but this reviewer felt much of it was lost in the direction it took. While I appreciate the attempts at being a true science fiction movie and preaching the importance of morals in discovery, it certainly failed to deliver the promised thrills. Such a shame considering they had a decent cast and setting to bring those horrors to life, but you can’t hit a home run all the time right? I can’t recommend this film for the theater, but you might give this one a shot at home when it hits Redbox in a few months. Instead find your local showing of Don’t Breathe and get your thrills from that.

 

My scores:

Drama/Horror/Mystery:  6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0