A powerful reminder of Mother Nature’s wrath
Unless you’ve experienced it first-hand, it’s hard to put into words the sheer power of natural disasters. From twirling twisters that shred everything in sight to earthquakes that shatter the very ground we walk on, hell hath no fury like Mother Nature.
The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari is essentially a game of Russian Roulette that went very wrong. Back in 2019, popular tourist destination White Island (Whakaari) erupted, claiming the lives of 22 men and women. With the volcano still active at the time, the tourist board essentially juggled the lives of everyone by bringing visitors onto the island, heading right up to the edge of the crater, snapping some pics and heading home.
When the volcano explosively erupted, blanketing the place in a pyroclastic flow and billowing plumes of black ash, a scrambled rescue operation ensued. At the time of eruption, 47 people were still on the island.
What follows are a series of talking head interviews, interspersed around stock footage of the island or shaky survivor phone footage, as what took place comes into view. Helicopters and lifeguards scramble to make it over to the island – while still over an hour out and ignoring government guidelines – while those still there try to save any survivors.
The film ultimately serves as a cautionary tale about why we should never take Mother Nature for granted. The sheer size and scale of volcanoes is hard to comprehend unless you’ve actually been there or seen this up close. As someone who has been up to the top of Mount Vesuvius and wandered through the ruins of Pompeii, it really does give you newfound respect and goosebump-inducing awe over the power these volcanoes have.
The documentary itself is pretty heartbreaking at times too, but it also demonstrates the best aspects of humanity. With some survivors faced with fight or flight moments, everyone chooses to help their fellow man, which is great to see.
The pulsating soundtrack really works to heighten the feelings of tension just prior and after the eruption too, with the editing great across the board.
The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari is a really solid documentary film and well worth a watch. The narrative is tightly constructed, the interviews informative and eye-opening, while the tone throughout focuses on the tremendous bravery and heroism that went into saving as many people as possible. You won’t be disappointed with this one.
Verdict - 8/10