In the future, entertainment reviews will be a mandated requirement for all humans, filed much like present day taxes. For expediency and maximum immersion, stories will be streamlined directly into the brain, infusing reality with finely crafted cinematic simulations- “cims”. At a classified laboratory in Cleveland, they’ve already begun testing… on me. These are my reports, code named: Total Review.

– CIM #1017 – “Deepwater Horizon” – 107 mins. – release: September 30th, 2016 -” 

As I lay in the lab’s processing unit, listening to the vague hum of underground generators, I ponder the top secret science juice it must take to run this place. I imagine advanced electro-nuclear engines, hydro-solar turbines, mythical power crystals, and several other confusing or non-existent resources. While I don’t understand what fuels a machine as complex as the cimulator, I do know that with raw energy comes raw danger, and the new disaster drama cim Deepwater Horizon is as raw as it gets.

The cim commences and I find myself as a worker on an oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon, in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, and my role is to pull the black gold from pockets beneath the seabed. We spend weeks or months out among a beautiful blue backdrop on an isolated platform, turning gears and keeping the flow alive. It can be a grueling job at times but someone’s gotta keep this world fueled and our tight knit crew is dedicated to the team, the cause, and yeah- the paycheck. It’s easy to get homesick, so I appreciate the Horizon’s camaraderie, especially when things don’t go according to plan.

Usually a bad day includes a mess of overtime, a kink in the system, or a visit from the white collar higher-ups. I could tell we may be dealing with all three. A chopper lands on the bridge carrying our trusted installation manager Jimmy “Mr. Jimmy” Harrell, the chief electronics tech Mike Williams, maintenance team member Andrea Fleytas, and a handful of British Petroleum reps who are clearly looking to move shit along on an already over-schedule drill. The BP stiffs demand to proceed with a drill that hasn’t had the proper safety testing. Here’s a tip: never skimp on proper safety testing.

What happens next is not much of a spoiler, because it’s since gone down in the record books as the greatest oil spill in the history of spills and the United States’ biggest environmental blunder to date. I watch as the Deepwater Horizon essentially springs a leak, and due to the wild spread of volatile substances like oil and methane, the entire vessel turns into a Molotov cocktail waiting to be lit. As the crew scrambles to contain the situation, one spark sets off a chain of fireballs, explosions, and rampant flames, devastating the Horizon and immediately threatening our crew of over a hundred and twenty.

I quickly reach the lifeboats and feel a modicum of relief before turning back to the bridge and freezing in place. All hell has broken loose. Some flee, others die forthright, and everyone is shocked and panicked. In the heat of the crisis, I witness heroes like Mike Williams run back into the ship’s core to search and rescue. I feel extra bad for enjoying my state of awe in response to the flaming mass before me. People are losing their lives and the fallout is an ecological nightmare. But the meltdown of this man-made island is a uniquely terrifying spectacle to behold. Seriously though, what a fucking mess.

After ejecting from the cimulator, I still felt the distress. Deepwater Horizon was an intense and upsetting worst case true story, spawning a multitude of questions I have no place to ask. Who is responsible for this epic debacle? How can we ensure this doesn’t happen again? When can we finally shift from the quick fix to renewable resources and avoid risking our one and only environment? None of these questions were addressed in Deepwater Horizon, but it was an exciting if not heartbreaking

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