'The Terror - The Complete First Season'
(Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies, Ciaran Hinds, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / 2018 / AMC - LGF)
Overview: In 1848, two real life warships, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, sent on a Royal Naval expedition to find the treacherous Northwest Passage become trapped in ice near Arctic and face starvation, mutiny, cannibalism and a demonic polar bear.
Blu-ray Verdict: Based on the book by Dan Simmons, 'The Terror' gives a somewhat fiction account of the real-life doomed 1845 Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest passage - with an added element of supernatural danger.
Without a shadow of a doubt, 'The Terror' is gripping, haunting, heartbreaking and you will not want the episodes to end. It also appears to be fairly historically accurate as far as the voyage itself, and the events that plague the men.
It is an intelligent show and the acting is phenomenal. The Royal ship becomes ice-bound and while the men become stranded in their nautical abode, a strange illness begins to overtake them. Things really pick up pace because by this point we have come to know the characters and to care for them.
They are honorable men and their loyalty to each other does not waver (initially). They are also going through things that were not spoken of in this time period - clinical depression, suicide, homosexuality, alcohol and drug recovery.
When one of the men goes to the ship doctor to discuss his unrelenting depression (which of course, was not called that), the doctor merely asks if "... his gut hurts" and reminds the man he is a "... medical doctor".
Fortunately, another doctor has greater insight (Dr. Goodsir, my favorite character). When another is sick while recovering from alcohol, he listens to a story of his friend telling him of his mother and the drug that "... caused her to sometimes not feed us for days, but took away her pain and made her happy".
The Inuit women, the daughter of a Shaman, gives a haunting and supernatural element to the show while they battle something utterly terrifying.
Indeed, 'The Terror' just has subplot after subplot, and when the men begin to realize just how precarious their situation is, it just sucks you in more until you will soon feel as if you are on the ship with them.
With that said, the spectator actually becomes the passenger in a story that will make us suffer with each death, the simplest sigh of anguish, and question where reality ends and delirium begins.
From the splendid performances, to the artistic quality of photography, to the richness of dialogue, to the permanent tension. This is indeed a journey into a frigid hell, causing the viewer to question every metaphor, every allusion.
On a side note, and as always-fantastic as Ciaran Hinds always-is, Jared Harris leads an extraordinary cast here. Harris is a revelation, no small feat as everyone around him is just fabulous. I hope he does more leading roles for the man deserves more exposure. His performance throughout is so nuanced and drenched in emotion, it makes one wonder why we haven't seen more of him all these years. His old man would be proud!
In closing though, and in all journalistic fairness, it should be said that the only downside to what we watch here is that with so much attention to detail, and seemingly all the money spent having been devoted to costumes, sets, and the ship itself, when the creature is actually revealed, it is so awfully put together that it completely jeopardizes the atmosphere everyone worked so hard to create; turning, if you allow it to at that moment of reveal, a chilly terror into black comedy!
The three special features aren't really that exciting, in truth, but the fact that this Blu-ray features a wondrous Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is definitely something to crow about.
Indeed, there are a number of extremely well done special effects scattered throughout the episodes (just not the creature, sadly), but it's some of the more subtle moments, like the creaking within of the ships as they collide with ice, or when the aforementioned creature goes hunting, that nail it for me. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
A Look at the Characters
A Look at the Series
Ridley Scott on "The Terror"
'The Terror - The Complete First Season' Official Trailer
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