Chernobyl, a five-part series from HBO is a difficult project to review at this moment, and I was actually considering not doing so until several months hence.
But that would affect potential sales out of the gate for this WB property, and I thought long and hard about what I perceive as the problems at hand.
Chernobyl, which concerns the Russian nuclear power plant disaster, and how the way the country dealt with it, affected the lives of many of its citizens. It not only dovetails into a political morass here in The Colonies, where I cannot go, regarding how our government either handled or mishandled, dependent upon one’s leanings, the Covid crisis, along with the current psychological mindset of viewers, in an extremely depressing time.
For those who not only believe that Covid is real, but also that over a quarter of a million Americans have died from its affects, Chernobyl, which is not a happy program to view in the best of conditions, may make things worse.
And this is the reason for my hesitancy.
I’ve decided to review now, but with caveats, as the program, its design, screenplay, direction and acting are all superb, and at some point in time, even if not now, should be experienced.
Audio in 5.1 is very well placed, and those with a system that reproduces the tracks as mixed, will enjoy the benefits.
The release is in 4k, but with little apparent resolution that pops because of it. Photographed at 3.2k and finished at 4k, akin to many recent HBO offerings. Many of the set pieces are dark (yes, Dolby Vision and HDR are helpful), dreary, dank and just generally unpleasant.
During the depression in the 1930s, Hollywood gave us the Gold Diggers.
Chernobyl was not produced for the Covid era, however.
It was released in May of 2019.
I seldom mention actors here, generally steering to the tech, but the direction by Johan Renck, the writing by Craig Mazin, and the lead thespians, Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgard, and Emily Watson should not go unheralded.
For those seeking an extraordinary story, as well as being cheered down, I’d go for it. Just keep anything sharp at bay.
For everyone else, since things tend to go in and out of print, dependent upon sales, you might wish to grab a copy, lest you be seeking it next year, and have to part with a kidney to pick it up on eBay. For those who choose to view it on HBO, that’s easy, but I believe that 4k hard media will allow a less compressed experience.
Image – 5 (Dolby Vision)
Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Pass / Fail – Pass
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