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A National Geographic Docudrama, Not A True Feature Film: Well Done For What It Is
on January 1, 2013
After watching "Seal Team Six," I was a bit surprised to see the diversity in reactions to this well-intentioned teleplay. I didn't really expect to see glowing five star reviews, but nor did I anticipate the vitriol with which others would respond to this piece. Maybe it helps to know what you're getting into when approaching the DVD/Blu-ray release of "Seal Team Six." This is NOT the eagerly anticipated and critically lauded (and soon to be Oscar winning) film "Zero Dark Thirty" by Kathryn Bigelow. (Even that film, though, has its detractors despite unanimous critical acclaim). Instead, this straightforward docudrama was produced and aired by the National Geographic Channel. In no way does this constitute a definitive treatment of a difficult subject. It just boils down the main events of a rigorous manhunt into a earnest summary. It is a surface presentation of complicated events and judged on those terms, it works just fine.
This little film is loaded with TV friendly faces that you might recognize. Among the cast are Kathleen Robertson, Cam Gigandet, Anson Mount, Freddy Rodriguez, and Xzibit. The movie attempts to introduce the Navy SEALs responsible for this life changing raid. Much of the screenplay shows them interacting within their squad, but this footage is interspersed with confessional type sit-downs where each member of the cast gets a bit more personal with what they were thinking as the mission progressed. With Robertson, we see some of the behind-the-scenes moments that initiated the raid. Again, this is all presented in a documentary style that suits the lower budget of the project well.
If you have an interest in this topic (and who doesn't really?), "Seal Team Six" presents an entertaining enough overview. For its constraints and limitations, it is a nicely assembled film. My hesitation stems from the fact that there is a slight difference between watching something for free (or renting it cheaply) as opposed to purchasing it for your collection. Now that I have "Seal Team Six" on Blu-ray and have viewed it once, I'm not sure that it had the power or impact that will make me pull it out for a second look. I just wanted to weigh in with a more conservative perspective. If you anticipate that this treatment is the last word as an in-depth analysis of the subject, you might not be satisfied. Ultimately, for me, it didn't present much in the way of new information. But I did like the actors and the film's confessional documentary feel. KGHarris, 1/13.