Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Plenty to learn about science, math, and the cosmos. Also addresses larger concepts about possible life elsewhere in the universe, the coming of a deadly meteor that could wipe out everything, and the idea that everything is made of stardust.
Positive Role Models
Many scientists are interviewed, and the movie shows that they're real, diverse people and that their work can be used for the greater good. Two in particular have the job of monitoring the skies in search of meteors that might be a threat to Earth.
Violence & Scariness
Discussions about mass destruction and meteors "destroying us all." Story about a woman hit in the head by meteor; photo of her bruised side. Images of meteor destruction from the 1998 movie Deep Impact. A man is a four-time cancer survivor.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Use of "hell." Uses of "godforsaken." Mention of meteors being "send down by God."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds is a documentary by filmmaker Werner Herzog that explores meteorites -- not just in a scientific way, but also in a grand, existential way. It's a gorgeous, enlightening movie, if perhaps a bit too dense for younger viewers. There are discussions of a "big one" impacting Earth someday and destroying everything, as well as fictional footage of destruction from the movie Deep Impact. There's a story about a woman getting hit in the head by a small meteor and a photo of a bruise. Cancer is mentioned. Language includes a use of "hell" and uses of "godforsaken." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Herzog delivers another of his amazing nature documentaries that go beyond mere facts and into the cosmic, existential meaning of it all; this one, about meteorites, is glorious. Here, Herzog gives co-directing credit to volcanologist Oppenheimer, who previously appeared in Herzog's documentaries Encounters at the End of the World and Into the Inferno. Oppenheimer does the heavy lifting in Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds, interviewing the various scientists on camera and making the film's information, including some tricky mathematics and geometry, clear for viewers.
Meanwhile, Herzog narrates in his familiar, mournful voice, with his signature metaphysical, sometimes apocalyptic poetry lending the images an immensity that makes them seem comforting, like gazing up at a star-dotted sky and realizing that we aren't alone. As in his other movies, Herzog tends to follow his own insatiable curiosity, and he winds up in some amazing places; the two people who photograph the micrometeorites are a scientist who's also a jazz musician and a four-time cancer survivor who prefers to dress like Wyatt Earp. In the end, Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds reminds us that a big one may be coming our way someday, but that, at the same time, we're all stardust.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.