The effects driven retelling of the largest man made environmental disaster in U.S. history; Deepwater Horizon is more akin to ‘Snakes on a Plane’ than the human interest story it tries to be. Minimalist in its storytelling, Deepwater Horizon is a bit confusing at times yet, it still is an effect no-nonsense thriller. That could be good or bad, depending on your expectations of the film. This isn’t an emotional docu-drama, nor is it a bloated CGI fest. (OK, maybe a little) Deepwater Horizon, like so many other calamity films places a bunch of likable characters on the precipice of sudden disaster. Though the film stars Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson, the real star of the show is the ill-fated semi-submersible oil rig.
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It’s hard to imagine how the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise started as a typical summer blockbuster in 2001; to a seven movie franchise, that has grossed nearly a billion dollars domestically. Who knew that ‘Tokyo Drift’ would be the catalyst for the resurrection of the franchise. As a collective sigh washes over the theater, there’s a strange silence in the audience. Personally, I believe it’s because we’ve witnessed a small miracle. Director Justin Lin had been with the franchise for 4 installments, but parted ways in 2013. Production stopped because of the death of Walker, a principle character. With the film only half-finished, if production resumed; how would it continue without one of its lead actors?
A little computer generated wizardry, a complex editing technique and help from Walker’s brothers: Caleb and Cody; Furious 7 still required the services of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop, the New Zealand based special effects company to complete production. The budget ballooned from $200 M to and estimated $250 M, mostly to cover the cost of editing Walker; but it was money well spent. Except for one scene toward the end, the combination of Paul Walker, his brothers, quick editing and stunt doubles worked surprisingly well. Walker’s ironic death quickly became an afterthought, as he was indistinguishable from his avatars.
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