In “The Burning Sea,” which is your basic, everyday Norwegian oil-rig disaster thriller, Stian (Henrik Bjelland), a rig worker stationed on a drilling platform that’s about to collapse, must descend into the bowels of the rig to shut down a well that can’t be reached remotely.
As the soundtrack fills with one of those flatulent brass musical scores that sounds like it’s heralding the arrival of the devil, a bureaucratically ominous title splashes across the screen: “D Shaft, Gullfaks A, 138 meters under the sea.” 138 meters? That’s pretty far down, though not necessarily deep enough to be, you know, scary.
The disaster film started off as a “realistic” genre, one that gradually grew more over-the-top. (The earthquake in “Earthquake,” released in 1974, doesn’t look like the apocalypse; about the worst thing that happens during it is that a highway collapses.) In recent decades, though, directors like Roland Emmerich (“The Day After Tomorrow,” “2012”) have accustomed us to the earthly-disaster-as-digital-ride.