A short 28-minute Imax documentary, ‘The Eruption of Mount St Helens!’ (yes, complete with exclamation mark) is an interesting if too brief live insight into the eruptions across the mountain.
The disasters faced
Ash, pyroclastic clouds and some local humour displayed on service signage.
‘The Eruption of Mount St Helens!’ chronicles some of the volcanic activity that took place over a six month period of St Helens. Whilst still images are all that have been captured of the main eruption, footage of follow up eruptions are taken from a helicopter seemingly right next to it. These shots are intercut with local town and traffic footage. Here you can see layers of ash forming on roads and rooftops which look eerie and somewhat wintery.
Why is it worth watching?
Being in Imax – a lot of the helicopter footage feels like it’s been fish-eyed into the frame. Once your eye adjusts though – the footage is fantastic. Some of the shots are genuinely wow-inducing and because the footage is not digitally produced it has a fuzzy vintage realism to it. The narration is a very 80s American – using a mix of drama and cheese. It adds to the ‘of its time’ charm of the documentary.
‘The heart of the mountain was blasted into the sky!’
Three memorable moments
- Seeing the cater post-eruption
- The plumes of ash and debris from the helicopter
- Seeing all the trees blown over like hair that’s been combed in one direction
The obligatory weird moment
The wry humour of locals is captured in the signs they put up to advertise the ash-laden hotel as being a cheap beach resort!
The drinking game
Is that traffic you see on your screen? Driving in ash? Good luck!
The main issue with this movie is that it is so short and prefers to be poetic rather than analytical or scientific. I’ve seen some TV shows that have gone into much better detail and so whilst ‘The Eruption of Mount St Helens!’ has a good 7 or 8 minutes of stunning volcanic footage – that doesn’t help much if you can’t build a movie out of it.
Rating: 2 / 5 Poor
If you liked The Eruption of Mount St Helens then you may like…
- St Helens – The movie on the guy who refused to leave his home on the mountain
- Dante’s Peak – A volcano goes after Sarah Connor and James Bond
- Pompeii – Hollywood historical blockbuster lacking character but full of effects
*This review was updated 24/11/19 to adhere to the new ILDM review format.