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Deepwater Horizon: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Deepwater Horizon (2016) movie poster Deepwater Horizon

Theatrical Release: September 30, 2016 / Running Time: 107 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Peter Berg / Writers: Matthew Sand (screenplay & screen story); Matthew Michael Carnahan (screenplay); David Barstowe, David Rohde, Stephanie Saul (article)

Cast: Mark Wahlberg (Mike Williams), Kurt Russell (Jimmy Harrell), John Malkovich (Donald Vidrine), Gina Rodriguez (Andrea Fleytas), Dylan O'Brien (Caleb Holloway), Kate Hudson (Felicia Williams), Ethan Suplee (Jason Anderson), Trace Adkins (Massive Man), Brad Leland (Robert Kaluza), Joe Chrest (Sims), James Dumont (O'Bryan), Dave Maldonado (Kuchta), Douglas M. Griffin (Landry), Juston Street (Anthony Gervasio), J.D. Evermore (Dewey A. Revette), Stella Allen (Sydney Williams), Pete Berg (Mr. Skip)

Buy Deepwater Horizon from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD Instant Video

Three years after giving us Lone Survivor and three months before giving us Patriots Day,
director Peter Berg and actor-producer Mark Wahlberg reunited to tell another tale of modern American heroism in the face of great danger. Deepwater Horizon presents the widely-covered 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the form of a disaster movie.

We get acclimated with a few of the hundreds of men and women working aboard the titular vessel, an offshore oil drilling rig. Chief among them is Mike Williams (Wahlberg), a dutiful man with a loving wife (Kate Hudson) and adoring 10-year-old daughter (Stella Allen). The lines of sympathy are clearly drawn on the Deepwater Horizon. There are good, honest, hard-working working class types like Mike and beloved installation manager Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell). Men like these get dirty regularly and worry about the safety of their machinery and the tests that should be followed.

Hell breaks out on the Deepwater Horizon and only Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) can save the day.

On the other side are the suits, higher-ups who actually wear buttoned-down dress shirts emblazoned with the BP logo. The face of this class is Donald Vidrine (a scenery-chewing John Malkovich), who uses his Cajun accent to talk down to everyone, his mind always on the bottom line. Vidrine insists to pay little thought to a test that shows a good amount of pressure but is not backed up by visible mud spills.

Of course, even if you didn't follow the story much, you know what happens. The oil rig endures a spill. Oil spurts everywhere and the Deepwater Horizon goes up in flames. Everyone aboard is in some serious danger. Jimmy gets blown out of the shower, with shards of glass embedded deep in his foot. (As in Lone Survivor, Berg doesn't shy from bloody images and exposed bone, which is evidently allowed by the increasingly lenient PG-13 rating.) Mike tries to keep a cool head as he talks a car-restoring colleague (Gina Rodriguez) into climbing higher and jumping further to avoid the massive flames that are in the water around them.

The buttoned-down dress shirt and Cajun accent help us identify Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) as the villain of the film.

There is a lot of yelling and running amidst gushes of oils and bursts of flames. It's a spectacle of Hellish chaos and it's one that Berg (a longtime actor whose other directing credits include Hancock,
Battleship, and Friday Night Lights) has no difficulty presenting in a way that's absorbing and relatively easy to follow. Deepwater Horizon feels a lot like 2015's Everest, a middlebrow disaster movie with emotional resonance and some powerful IMAX imagery. Even viewed at home on your television, Deepwater has significant sensory impact.

Grossing only $61 million domestically (less than half as much as Lone Survivor) and even less overseas on a much steeper production budget of $110 million, Deepwater Horizon must be chalked up as a commercial disappointment, despite being warmly received by both the critics and moviegoers who did see it. On the same week that Patriots Day will expand nationwide, Berg and Wahlberg's last outing tries to find an audience with three editions on physical media, the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD of which is reviewed here.

Deepwater Horizon: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Late Night Viewing Optimized, Descriptive Video Service)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish, Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English, English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Extras Not Subtitled; Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9 & BD-50)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on standalone DVD ($29.98 SRP), 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD ($29.99 SRP), and Amazon Instant Video


As you would expect, Deepwater Horizon delivers a thrilling sensory experience. While a 4K Ultra HD edition is available for those needing the latest and greatest technology, this Blu-ray leaves nothing to be desired within the 1080p format. The Dolby Atmos (7.1 TrueHD otherwise) is especially potent, making you think the film might warrant some Oscar consideration in the sound categories where the last Berg/Wahlberg movie competed.

Kurt Russell checks his phone while director Peter Berg gives him a pat on the back in "Beyond the Horizon." "The Fury of the Rig" takes us further behind the scenes of this fiery production.


The Blu-ray's extras begin with "Beyond the Horizon" (51:21), a series of five featurettes that are loosely centered on the performance of a principal actor: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, and Dylan O'Brien. Each standard making-of segment speaks to the project's authenticity and nobility, as well as the nature of production

"Captain of the Rig: Peter Berg" (18:15) lets cast and crew describe their director, who also gets a chance to reflect on his tastes and methods (as well as to name drop Patriots Day repeatedly).

"The Fury of the Rig" (27:20) looks at the amount of practical effects and production design performed here, with copious looks behind the scenes.

The American Worker is celebrated in a section called Participant Media: Work Like an American. The Deepwater Horizon DVD main menu gives us a look at the entire rig while still operating properly.

Deepwater Surveillance (17:40) consists of twelve clips from secondary cameras running during the filming of action and stunt scenes, giving you the feel of being a fly on the set. Mission accomplished.

Finally, and least typically, we encounter a section called Participant Media: Work Like an American.

Eight short "American Worker Tributes" (16:03) celebrate and profile hard manual laborers (a longshoreman, a fisherman, etc.), starting with a Deepwater Horizon survivor.
It kind of feels like transparent pandering to the working class, but then I guess that's what it is.

"I Am a Steel Beam" (1:03) is a short film that plays automatically after the disc-loading trailers. From the menu, it is presented in two ways: with its narration provided by director Peter Berg in one and Gina Rodriguez in the other.

The DVD does not include "Beyond the Horizon" or "Captain of the Rig", but does contain the other three extras.

The scored main menu plays clips on screens that come and go.

The two full-color discs share an eco-friendly keepcase topped by a foil slipcover and accompanied by the Digital HD with UltraViolet code insert.

"Also from Lionsgate" repeats the disc-opening trailers for Patriots Day, John Wick: Chapter 2, Hell or High Water, Hacksaw Ridge, and American Pastoral.

Before the blowout, it's just another day of work for Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and the crew of the Deepwater Horizon.


Being a true story distinguishes Deepwater Horizon from other action movies and the fact that the BP oil spill's specifics remain not terribly well-known enables Peter Berg's thriller to be exciting in addition to polished. No molds are broken and the movie plays closer to Michael Bay than James Cameron or Paul Greengrass, but there is more weight and substance to this than most of the genre's fictional works.

Lionsgate's Blu-ray combo pack delivers a knockout feature presentation along with extras that are many in number and length, if not necessarily being the kind you're itching to see after finishing the movie. If you like the movie enough to revisit it regularly, then either this combo pack or the 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray edition ought to end up in your collection.

Buy Deepwater Horizon from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / Instant Video

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Kurt Russell: The Hateful Eight Bone Tomahawk Tombstone Vanilla Sky
John Malkovich: Being John Malkovich Secretariat The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Everest Armageddon Captain Phillips Titanic The 33 The Finest Hours

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Reviewed January 12, 2017.

Text copyright 2017 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 Summit Entertainment, Participant Media, di Bonaventura Pictures, Closest to the Hole, Leverage Entertainment, and 2017 Lionsgate.
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