Film Review: Supervolcano

The BBC in the mid 2000’s went through a period of making disaster TV Movies where they either went back in time to key disasters in history, or tried scare-mongering. “Supervolcano” falls into the latter half with a prediction of what could happen should Yellowstone erupt.

The Premise

Conducted like a documentary looking back at the event, lots of thoughtful blame passing scientists discuss a Supervolcanic eruption at Yellowstone.

The Disasters Faced

Yellowstone, lava, ash, lots of coughing and choking, collapsing ceilings and an evening dress.

The Execution

Supervolcano tries to tred a thin line by interviewing the survivors as they reflect back on what happened on the day. As they explain what happens, you see it before your eyes too. This docu-drama style of movie is different, but has its own pitfalls as you know who survives, who doesn’t and what’s coming next. There’s also a lot of padding to the story with sad pauses and people trying to choose their words carefully. I don’t know why but I just felt some of the actors couldn’t quite carry it off and so the concepts a bit hit and miss for me. As for the story itself, the pacing is good, there’s a lot of science and exposition, but it doesn’t come across poorly – it all feels relevant and worthwhile. The acting as mentioned above waivers from character to character with Rebecca Jenkins’ Wendy being the best. Rebecca obviously done the disaster movie rounds as she’d not long done 10.5 before this!

The Effects

As with most volcano films, its all about the huge eruption and pyroclastic clouds and those scenes are done very well with some impressive effects – especially for a TV movie. The science parts are also shown with a really overly elaborate computer too which I found quite amusing. All in all however, these are some of the most impressive TV documentary effects I’ve seen.

Why It’s Worth Watching

There’s good effects, goofy deaths, hammy acting and a fair bit of practical science involved. Also on the DVD is the documentary about Yellowstone that was broadcast on TV afterwards which is also really quite interesting. I hope however that it was just my DVD take appeared to have some bad pixelation when viewing the extras otherwise that’s a poor show BBC!

Best Death

Easily the best deaths are the two scientists in the car on the cover who get taken out in the pyroclastic cloud. Even more heleriously, just before they perish the female gets out her camcorder and says “well just incase”. Do you not realise how hot those clouds are my love?!

Favourite Character

I have to say the characters are all a bit.. characterless. I’ll go with the happy Adrian Holmes (Dave) who decides to sacrifice himself to give more info about the volcano to everyone else.

Weirdest Moment

Wendy starts part two in a dinner party dress and has a hissy fit about it. It’s all a bit out of place in a docu-drama! Also how have all the Scottish invaded Yellowstone – there’s hardly any Americans in the film at all!

Conclusion

Confident, big budget and self assured TV movie, Supervolcano spares no expense at throwing all kinds of effects at us. Add to that hammy acting, silly deaths and some moral highgrounds – and science programme as an extra – and you have yourself a fun nights entertainment.

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