I learned something about myself at a screening of Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation, the latest film offering at the Dome at the Science Museum of Virginia. I learned that I could watch footage of volcanoes erupting, lava flows, and bubbling lava lakes forever. This film doesn’t balk at the visceral power of nature as images of fire, molten rock, and ash bombard your senses on a 76-foot screen.
While the volcanoes are the true stars of this movie and don’t disappoint, the film follows various expeditions of Carsten Peter, a volcano photographer who self-describes as “not a normal person.” He proves this as he gets dangerously close to lava flows and rappels into the giant crater of an active lava lake. My wife and I both visibly cringed in our seats as we watched this man take risks we would never take. Nothing is graphic, and no one gets hurt, but there are several moments where someone with a fear of heights might prefer covering their eyes.
The film also does a good job conveying basic information about volcanoes, while acknowledging just how much humans have left to learn about them. Time and again in the movie, we’re reminded that, despite humanity’s best science to date, we really don’t know exactly when a volcano might erupt or what will happen when it does. It also gives a great overview of the eruption at Pompeii, which is an excellent primer should you want to pair your movie experience with a visit to Pompeii: The Immortal City an exhibit running concurrently at the Science Museum of Virginia.
At a runtime of approximately forty-five minutes, Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation was a great length for my family. While I could watch volcano footage for twenty-four straight hours, the film’s length hits the sweet spot of feeling like getting your money’s worth without the kids getting antsy having to sit for too long.
Dome features are ticketed at the front desk or online at SMV.org.