It's the latest documentary from Werner Herzog, which might be enough of a reason for his fans to see it. For everyone else, it's fairly straight-forward documentary about the impact (no pun intended) that meteors have had on this planet, and on human civilization, over the centuries.
Werner Herzog documentaries are worth watching - as a rule - if only because they often feature Werner Herzog. His unique and mesmerizing voice narrates us in "Fireball: Visitors from a Darker World" along with volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer, whom worked with Herzog on the recent doc, "Into the Inferno." The topic this time around takes the pair across the globe, looking at how famous meteors and meteorites have changed the landscape and in some cases, human culture.
Take for example, that a meteorite crashed into the Earth in 1492 just days before Christopher Columbus arrived...had there been media at that time, the news of Columbus landing might have been been pushed to the second page. Many ancient civilizations formed their religions and belief systems from different artifacts believed to be rocks not of this world, and whenever a meteor strike was visible to the human eye, it was seen as a sign from the heavens that other-wordly favor was on their side.
While much of this is amazing to contemplate, "Fireball" lands more like a lecture video you might watch in a college prep course. By the end, the take-away is that not much is explained, despite a lot of explanation. There are not many revelations of conclusions drawn, not that there has to be, but the exercise ends up being a bit mundane if space rocks are not exactly your thing.
It would be a stretch to say that "Fireball: Visitors from a Darker World" rocks, but it definitely burns with a curiosity that might be enough for those willing to wonder.
Run Time: 1 hour 37 minutes.
Directed by Werner Herzog ("Meeting Gorbachev," "Into the Inferno," "Into the Abyss") and Clive Oppenheimer.
"Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds is available on Apple TV+ on Friday, November 13th, 2020.
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