The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari Documentary Review, Disaster in New Zealand

What The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari is all about without spoiling the show

I’ll refer to this one simply as The Volcano in my descriptions to save your eyes from getting too tired.

This documentary is about the 2019 eruption of a volcano in New Zealand and the ensuing rescue. It’s a basic premise. Do I need to go on further? Nothing else in this story stands out from the simplest of explanations.

Did you know anything about The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari story before watching?

I’m sure there was something in the news about the eruption but with COVID taking over headlines only a few months later, I don’t remember this at all. It’s on the other side of the world for me. If not for the accents and quality footage in this documentary, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you when it took place or where it was.

Will The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari make people feel uncomfortable?

We’re dealing with a natural disaster and some painful deaths. We do see some of the surviving victims and there is one grim description about the skin of an arm peeling off. It’s not overly uncomfortable, though. I think you’ll be fine. Reading about it here has already prepared you.

What was good about The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari?

The Volcano has some beautiful imagery. It’s a wonderful tourist destination, the White Island. I can see why people might feel enticed to visit even if it is an active volcano. If Nuclear facilities spruced themselves up, we’d probably have adventerers repelling into the cores of them.

Because of the time when this occurred, we get a lot of clean footage from the events. Camera phones from survivors capture the eruption. This documentary does not rely on many re-enactments like something I’ve watched, The Summit, which took place several years earlier before society decided everything must be recorded. Before I continue, I’ll just say that The Summit was a much better documentary. I’ll be kind to The Volcano.

What could have made The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari better?

What The Volcano lacked was a sense of direction. We meet survivors, rescuers, and family members of the victims. They all kind of blend together. We don’t know much else about any of these people other than their connection to the eruption. It’s hard to relate with them.

The documentary was slow to start and the eruption itself was very brief. I think one of the survivors said it lasted two minutes. About half of the documentary is about the rescue. As heroic as it was, there wasn’t anything all that interesting about the way the survivors were rescued. They were pretty much taken back by boat.

This isn’t an amazing story like the Thai boys rescued from the cave. I think The Volcano could have benefited more from narrowing in one one angle. Either talking from the point of views of rescuers or survivors exclusively could have given us more details about their experience. Instead, we got only a little bit from each angle. It weakens the documentary.

I didn’t feel like I really learned much from this documentary. There wasn’t enough found footage to tell a particularly interesting story. This was most useful to give us something raw. I was bored. Only the scenery kept my eyes locked at times.

Is The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari worth watching?

I’d skip this. You can probably find a 10-minute video on YouTube from the news covering the events and come away with as much information. It’s well-made. The storytelling is what was lacking. I never felt the urgency of the situation. With 22 lives claimed by the eruption, this event was no joke. It still effects the survivors physically.

Overall Score: 4 out of 10

It’s not a grind to get through The Volcano. It’s also not worth setting aside anything else to watch.

Interested in watching The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari or learning more about the case? Below you will find affiliate links to the series as well as other information about this case. By using this links, I may receive a small commission of any purchase you may make.

Watch The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari on Netflix

If you have a series or film you want to know my opinion on, please leave a comment below. I may have already written about it. I can save you some time from watching a dud.

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