Film Preview: Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Page Revisions:

(May 9, 2016) Original
(June 5, 2016) New Trailer (#2) / New Posters (#2-#6)
(September 18, 2016) New Trailer (#3) / New Posters (#7-#13)

Release Date:

September 30, 2016


From IMDb: “A story set on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.”

Poster Rating: C / B- (5) / C+ / C / C- / B / B / C / B-

Review: (#1) The tagline is too small to read and the concept of a tragedy at sea may be precisely what the film is about, but this unnecessarily simplistic poster isn’t going to make people interested.

(#2-#6) It’s quite difficult to understand why a film like this needs character posters, but they could have chosen a worse way to convey them. They could also have chosen a better way.

(#7) If explosions are your thing, this is the design for you. It’s fine enough to advertise the film, but lacks originality. (#8) Is Mark Wahlberg really a big enough name to anchor a sales piece around him? I doubt it. The rest of the design is fleetingly inconsequential. (#9) Take the oil rig explosion motif, increase its size and then slap Wahlberg’s face over it and you create a domineering, but cheap approach.

(#10) The first in a series of artistic renderings of the deepwater drilling platform are visually daring, but meager at the same time. This first of the series is less symbolic, but more stark and noticeable. (#11) The second creative rendition adds some fascinating touches of color, but may be overly chaotic in the lower two-thirds. (#12) Easily the worst of the series of striking designs is the least interesting, blandest entry with the bare minimum of inventiveness. (#13) The final pieces is quite interesting, especially in its Hitchcockian blockiness; however, the design just doesn’t feel fresh or vital enough.

Trailer Rating: C- / B- / C

Review: (#1) Playing this tragedy off as if it were just a simple black-and-white issue about surviving a terrible disaster will be tough for the director. The film has too many cloying elements in the trailer to suggest anything deeply critical.

(#2) Instead of a film that looked more like a propaganda piece for the oil companies, we now have a movie that looks more like a disaster flick, one that may too closely resemble the recent box office dud The 33.

(#3) The humanizing elements of the prior trailers is largely absent, focusing on quick action sequences, without providing the requisite compulsion structure that might get butts into the seats.

Oscar Prospects:

This type of topical drama would normally play into Oscar voters’ wheelhouses; however, anything that might look positively on deep sea oil drilling is going to be a tough sell among the myriad environmentalists in the Academy.

Trailer #1

Trailer #2

Trailer #3


Poster #1Poster #2Poster #3

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Poster #7Poster #8Poster #9

Poster #10Poster #11Poster #12

Poster #13

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