Blu-ray Review: The Wave & The Quake (2-Film Collection)

Who knew Norway could be so destructive? Judging from the pieces we see during the Winter Olympics, the places seems so picturesque and peaceful. Who doesn’t get into a calm state of mind looking at the Fjords? Those grand cliffs that dip down into the water that make Norway stick out from Sweden are marvels. And it turns out that they are also the root of the double dose of nightmares found in The Wave and The Quake. This is a two punch cinematic disaster experience that was made in Norway. This is a homegrown nightmare and not merely some slick Hollywood love child of Irwin Allen and Michael Bay using the country as a mere backdrop. Producer Are Heidenstorm gives us a double feature that seamlessly combines the foreign art house with the drive-in. The Wave and The Quake is a double feature that will leave you wet and shaken.

The Wave (2015) has geologist Kristian Eikjord (The Revenant‘s Kristoffer Joner) wrapping up his final day in the tourist village of Geiranger before moving to another monitoring station. There’s an odd event when the groundwater sensors report back that the mountain locations are dry. The rest of the crew tell him not to worry about it. They’ll look into it But while he’s in the middle of moving his kids, he has to turn back. He believes it’s not the groundwater that’s vanished, but the monitor lines have snapped from a shift in the mountain. Kristian’s old colleagues will keep investigating as he continues moving his family. For once things don’t move at a glacial pace as the shift speeds up. This leads to the big effect of the Fjord Disaster that leads to a tidal wave attacking the nearly unsuspecting, slumbering people of Geiranger.

The Quake (2018) catches up with Kristian after the events of The Wave. While he’s seen as a hero for his part of at least getting the alert out for the previous disaster, his life has fallen apart. His wife has left him and his kids aren’t too attached to him since he’s gone into a bit of a shell. While he’s stayed back in Geiranger, his wife and kids have moved to Oslo. Kristian only shows up in the capital city when a friend dies in a tunnel collapse. He surveys the site and the data and realizes that a giant earthquake could soon be coming. But his family won’t believe him because they fear he’s flipped out. But it’s Oslo that ends up flipping when the big one hits.

While most of the time a sequel to a disaster film gets greeted with the “What are the odds of this happening to them again?”, The Quake works because Norway is a hotbed of seismic activity. Both incidents involve earth shifting so why wouldn’t there be another massive event? Both of these films could have easily been Norwegian versions of SyFy original flicks with extra cheap effects and bumbling acting. But there’s more here than meets the emotional tug of even a major Hollywood disaster film. There’s simple emotions. During one scene a survivor calls out a name as he looks at the wreckage. In response, Kristian embraces his daughter tighter. It’s that simple emotion of him realizing how lucky they were that’s barely seen in blockbusters that exist on grand gestures. While The Wave and The Quake have huge effects on the screen, there human bonds aren’t ignored. The Wave and The Quake are the perfect Nordic Combine.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfers bother bring out the beauty of Norway and the extreme of the disasters. This is a major step above most SyFy disaster films. The audio is Norwegian Dolby Atmos and English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. I went for the Norwegian with the English subtitles to get the true art house feel. There’s also a Spanish subtitle track.

Behind the Scenes of The Wave (5:29) is a glimpse of what went into bring the mayhem to the Fjords. They used a Steadicam with a Segway scooter. They also show how they created the debris pile in Romania.

The Wave Visual Effects Breakdown (9:29) breaks down the compositing of three scenes. It’s stunning what they were able to do on a budget reportedly of $6 million.

Interview with Director Roar Uthaug (4:29) has him talk about making the first Norwegian disaster film. He got the idea for the film from reports of Fjord’s causing tidal waves and an impending mountain collapse.

Trailer sells the film on the countdown clock.

Behind the Scenes of The Quake (10:56) talks about how Oslo had a massive earthquake in 1904. In a sense, this movie and The Wave are predictions of what the impending disasters will do to Norway. They also show off the giant set built for the rooftop bar scene.

Magnolia Home Entertainment presents The Wave & The Quake: 2-Film Collection. Directed by: Roar Uthaug & John Andreas Andersen. Screenplay by: John Kåre Raake & Harald Rosenløw-Eeg. Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Jonas Hoff Oftebro & Edith Haagenrud-Sande. Rated: PG-13. Boxset Contents: 2 movies on 2 Blu-ray discs. Released: November 5, 2019.

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