Monday, November 9, 2020

Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds - Documentary Review

The Movie: Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds

The Directors: Werner Herzog, Clive Oppenheimer

The Story: A new documentary from Werner Herzog about meteors and comets and their influence on ancient religions and other cultural and physical impacts they've had on Earth.

The Review:
Werner Herzog is an iconic figure when it comes to documentaries and also of course that unmistakable voice of his as well and I feel like the subject matter of this film is perfect for who he is. You can tell in his narration how fascinated he is with anything falling to the earth from space and there are even a couple times where he can't help but interact with the people on screen including Clive Oppenheimer who is kind of the on screen host of the production.

Watching the lengths the duo go to find meteorites and the people who study them is pretty fascinating in and of itself as they literally travel the entire world over the course of the film. They talk to so many different people all from various walks of life including a priest, a musician, geologists, scientists, professors, historians, and just about anyone else you can think of who might have any interest in rocks from outer space. They also explore all different types of rocks from large boulders that fell thousands of years ago causing chaos and destruction to small, almost microscopic particles that need to be properly viewed under microscopes to appreciate their beauty and history.

The cinematography, by Peter Zeitlinger, is at times absolutely breathtaking whether they are getting overhead shots I'm assuming by either helicopter or drone, or showing off panoramic views of every type of landscape imaginable. The filmmakers even travel to the most desolate regions of Antarctica in search of meteors and meteorites that have fallen to the frozen plains of the coldest region on the planet. Some of the most amazing discoveries seemed to happen in the most remote places of the world and some of it felt like Indiana Jones style adventures just without the Nazis of course.

Aside from all the wonderful science on display, Herzog and Oppenheimer explore the spiritual and religious aspects of humanity when it comes to rocks falling from space. There is a clear indication that most people, in whatever part of the world, attach significance and meaning to the events far beyond the physical act of a space rock hitting the earth. There are so many cultures and civilizations that have been built around these events and what they might mean for the people who they affected even generations down the line. All of this, mingled in with the more scientific aspects, made for a very interesting and engaging journey.

The Verdict:
Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds is an entertaining, educational, and engaging way to learn about space rocks and how they have literally, figuratively, and spiritually impacted our world. I'm a big fan of this documentary and would recommend it for anyone even if you're not totally into the subject matter. After watching, you most likely will be.

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