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Parents' Guide to

Volcanoes 3D: The Fires of Creation

By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Nature docu has mild peril, footage of destructive lava.

Movie NR 2019 42 minutes
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The cinematography's the thing in this kind of film, of course, and it doesn't disappoint, with impressive images previously unseen by most. Volcanoes 3D: The Fires of Creation takes full advantage of the immersive giant-screen experience to give audiences the feeling of looking straight down into a volcano's mouth just as it erupts. And the 3D conversion helps create a sense of depth down that giant maw, increasing the intensity as it fires gas, smoke, and lava up at you. Likewise, the effect beautifully captures floating, fiery debris and conveys ocean depths where undersea volcanoes are found.

That said, the 3D can feel too extreme at times -- especially when the human subjects are far removed from the backgrounds. The layers of depth can feel too greatly separated, as if the foreground subjects were shot in front of green screens (they weren't). And some of the science flies by, such as the description -- via the "giant impact hypothesis" -- of how a planetary collision may have spurred volcanic activity on Earth. The science geeks in the audience may feel a bit shortchanged. But the 42-minute documentary was crafted to appeal to broad audiences, moving from computer-animated simulations to footage of the remarkably preserved devastation of Pompeii, the more recent destruction in Hawaii, and a number of rare visions captured by Peter in his exploits.

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