Supervolcano (2005) - Drama/Disaster Movie - UK/CAN/USA - TV Movie (BBC)
Directed by Tony Mitchell
Starring Michael Riley, Gary Lewis, Shaun Johnston, Adrian Holmes, Jennifer Copping, Rebecca Jenkins, Tom McBeath, Robert Wisden, Susan Duerden, Jane McLean, Sam Charles, Kevin McNulty, Eme Aneke, Garwin Sanford, Joanna Gosling, Shelagh Mitchell
Supervolcano is simply the best disaster movie I have ever seen.
Beneath Yellowstone National Park lies a huge chamber of magma as Yellowstone is a supervolcano. A super eruption happens about every 600,000 years, give or take, and with it being past due and tremor activity having increased in the area, a reporter quizzes the volcano experts at Yellowstone. Another vulcanologist who has been predicting an eruption has the reporter's ear and this gets the government asking questions, and getting answers they don't want to hear should a super eruption happen. And if it happens it will be catastrophic on a worldwide scale. This is a fictional account of that actually happening, or as it says at the beginning of the movie "This is a true story...it just hasn't happened yet".
What sets Supervolcano apart from any other disaster movie, especially those dealing with volcanoes, is its docudrama style of presentation. The story alternates with singular explanations, like interviews, from the different participants in the story. This has the unique advantage of explaining things on a factual level as they take place in the story.
Don't know the difference between a red and gray eruption? You will. Do you know how many times a passenger jet flies through an ash cloud each year? What is volcanic ash and how many inches does it take to collapse a roof? What affect does breathing ash into your lungs have? What about the affects on the weather? These and many more things you will learn about volcanoes, and this is a movie, not a documentary.
The characters in this did not fall out of a comic book or spy novel, but seem like people you would expect to see dealing with a disaster. The acting is superb and writing is brilliant, combining to create a tense and educational drama that will have you on the edge of your seat. One scene in particular was so well done as it turns into near a screaming match between scientists on the edge, the tension so thick you can hardly breath.
They obviously did a lot of research for this movie. A companion documentary was also produced. Not just the effects of a super eruption were well researched but the response before and after a disaster as well. You don't have the obligatory call to the president scene in this movie, but the departments that would actually deal with a disaster is the focus. Why ask someone who doesn't know a damn thing about how to deal with a disaster when they are surrounded by people who do, or can learn to deal with it?
And of all things, this is a made for TV movie, made by the BBC. As disaster movies go, this has special effects, a talented cast, a well written screenplay, sets and locations that give it authenticity. It has those things other good disaster movies have, then it goes beyond that and offers so much more.
My Rating: 5 Fingers. I give it a high five!
This movie is available on a Region 2/PAL DVD. You can also find it on YouTube.