Quake (The) AKA Skjelvet
R2 - United Kingdom - Signature Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (21st June 2019).
The Film

This sequel to the acclaimed The Wave is another tension-filled, high-stakes geo-thriller.

Could reports of subterranean tremors beneath the Norwegian city of Oslo predict an imminent catastrophic earthquake? We follow a geologist who races against time to save his estranged wife and two children when a devastating quake strikes the city. Your nails will dig into your chair during this acclaimed thriller with jaw-dropping scenes of devastation and powerful performances.

Video

The sequel to 2015s The Wave; in that film an avalanche in a Norwegian fjord caused a tsunami that wrecked the town of Geiranger and killed over 250 people. The Quake (2018) has that film's lead, geologist Kristian Eikjord (Kristoffer Joner), suffering psychological trauma from his experiences three years on. When a colleague is killed investigating a tunnel Eikjord realises an earthquake is going to strike Oslo.

Talk about the same shit happening to the same guy twice; John McClane has nothing on the unfortunate Kristian Eikjord! The Quake is a disaster film given the sober, serious treatment. However, it still has all the usual cliches of the genre but treats it all as if it was Shakespeare. It's extremely well made all round but lacks the cheesy edge that makes Hollywood efforts so entertaining. We also get unexpected deaths that Hollywood probably wouldn't do. The other main problem is that Eikjord is annoying; you can see why his wife Idun (Ane Dahl Torp) is divorcing him.

On the whole recommended but with the caveats above; most likely for those who don't like American disaster films feeling they's too corny.

Visually this is a pretty straight forward, modern digitally shot production with a slightly washed out, faded quality. It's not as de-colourised as many mystery and horror films have been in the last decade or so, but it doers have a muted colour palette. Reds are rarely present and lack vibrancy for instance. There are a few sequences where the screen is bathed in red light and these are general well handled although the odd artefact was noticeable ... but they were not as vibrant as they ought to have been. I saw no colour bleed.

Being a DVD and standard definition this film does suffer with detail being rather soft. It's there but the further the focal plane from the camera like in long shots the more it breaks up. Black levels are rarely true and mostly a very dark grey. My 4K 55" TV is setup using a Joe Kane professional setup disc and I found that I had to turn the brightness down several notches to bring the best black levels out of the image.

I didn't notice too much unintended crush but there was the odd moment. Contrast is low key but adequate, especially on location and in daytime sequences. Dark scenes can be a trifle muddy (see black levels above).

All told, this is an adequate standard definition rendering of a film; image is overall solid and easy to see despite the odd weak moment.

PAL / 2.4:1 / 103:44

Audio

Norwegian Dolby Digital 5.1
Norwegian Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English (forced)

The sound is very good overall. The 5.1 track has the noticeable edge with plenty of active surrounds and a surprising amount of depth. Obviously, a lossless track would be a significant boost and with the disaster genre that is a boon. However, this a perfectly respectable, active track. Explosions and crescendos of music come off best. Dialogue is always clear and audible and the score effectively pushed to the surround channels.

Subtitles are sadly forced but seem comprehensive; well done on that score.

Extras

Startup Trailers:
- Final Score (2:20)
- The Guilty (1:52)


Forced startup trailers that can only be skipped by fast forwarding.

Overall

A solid disaster epic gets (disappointingly) a standard definition release. Films of this ilk work even better in HD and I'm surprised The Quake hasn't been afforded the Blu-ray treatment. Picture is solid for the format, although you will need to alter the brightness, sound slightly above the average. Extras are lamentably non-existent. The good thing to report is that this is a cheap disc. Recommended for casual viewers, collectors will want to seek out one of the many Blu-ray releases.

The Film: C+ Video: B- Audio: B+ Extras: E- Overall: C+

 


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