For those seeking an extraordinary story

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

Highly Recommended

RAH

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Robert Harris

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Richard M S

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Oh I agree it may not be for everybody and yet for me I thought Chernobyl was essential viewing and brilliant, fact-based filmmaking worthy of the Emmy Awards it won.

Still, I laughed when I read the above reference to the Gold Diggers films, because it is worth noting that those wonderfully escapist Chanel No. 5 commercials starring Marion Cotillard and the Paris Opera ballet dancer Jérémie Bélingar were directed by Chernobyl's director Johan Renck!
 
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BobO'Link

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I thought it was an excellent series and showed how a government could completely fail its people. It was so taught and engaging that I looked up the incident (something I didn't bother doing when it happened) to read more only to find that the series is *full* of inacuracies. So many things were altered or added to amp up the dramatic effect that it's more of a fairy tale than a true documentary of events. They got many of the "facts" wrong, both in events and what's scientifically possible. The things that were changed made almost all of them worse than is possible. Don't get me wrong... it was a horrible and devastating event. It just wasn't as bad (something difficult to say when it was incredibly bad all around) on many fronts as the film makers portrayed, apparently for dramatic effect or out of ignorance, with several things completely fabricated for the series.

So much was changed I have to consider it a fictional account of true events.
 

DanH1972

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I thought it was an excellent series and showed how a government could completely fail its people. It was so taught and engaging that I looked up the incident (something I didn't bother doing when it happened) to read more only to find that the series is *full* of inacuracies. So many things were altered or added to amp up the dramatic effect that it's more of a fairy tale than a true documentary of events. They got many of the "facts" wrong, both in events and what's scientifically possible. The things that were changed made almost all of them worse than is possible. Don't get me wrong... it was a horrible and devastating event. It just wasn't as bad (something difficult to say when it was incredibly bad all around) on many fronts as the film makers portrayed, apparently for dramatic effect or out of ignorance, with several things completely fabricated for the series.

So much was changed I have to consider it a fictional account of true events.
Most "based on a true story" films are dramatizations (that's why the Coen Brothers put that satiric tag in their movie and TV show "Fargo"). If you want reality, watch a fact based documentary. Chernobyl was bad and still is. The lies and coverups were horrible, but the characterizations and whatnot are usually going to be spruced up for dramatic appeal.