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Supervolcano (2005)  rating

Review: written 2007

Effective science-infused thriller


They probably have to come up with a new category for movies like this. It's clearly an exercise in getting some science across to the viewer, and yet it has the trappings of a Hollywood blockbuster. And then somehow it melds the two into a new style of entertainment!

This is a BBC TV movie (in two one hour parts) which shows the build up to, and subsequent global effects of, a super-eruption. Although sensationalised - (it's overdue! It will plunge us back into the stone age!) it is actually almost documentary like in its unfolding, with the drama unfolding interspersed with faux interviews with the characters, as if looking back on the events - providing an effective opportunity for exposition of the science, in counterpoint to the action unfolding in the drama.

As a drama, it works pretty well - character is not so important as keeping the pace licking along - which it does. And although the faces are often a little earnest in movie-of-the-day style, the actors are convincing enough to keep an interest in who lives and who dies. As a documentary, it succeeds in getting across the scale of what could happen and how, in its geological context. Effects are passable for the small screen and sound is a satisfyingly rumbly 5.1 mix.

All in all, a well intentioned science based thriller, with decent talent and enough cash and science thrown at it to make it gel. It's somehow satisfying to find a thriller that does not have politics or terrorists as the driver, and done more believably than several high profile Hollywood stabs at the subject of volcanoes.


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