Apple TV+ review: Werner Herzog goes global in ambitious ‘Fireball’ documentary

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“Fireball: Guests From Darker Worlds,” the brand new documentary from Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer that hits Apple TV+ November 13, arrives extremely anticipated.

When Nonfics, an internet site that covers the world of documentary filmmaking, made its listing initially of the yr of its most long-awaited nonfiction movies coming in 2020, editor Christopher Campbell listed Fireball earlier than all others. The one caveat was that he wasn’t positive the movie would really arrive in 2020.

Arrive it has, as Apple introduced in July that it had acquired the movie for an Apple TV+ launch. Fireball is a successful documentary that mixes stunning photographs with the type of compelling narration with which Herzog has lengthy been related.

Fireball has an excellent hook. Herzog and Oppenheimer, who’re credited as co-directors, journey the world, visiting locations which have been struck by meteors, comets and different objects from house, in some circumstances a few years in the past.

The duo additionally discover the spiritual and cultural traditions in every place which have emerged round these arrivals, whereas considering the chance {that a} future object may do even larger injury to the Earth.

All world wide

“Fireball: Guests From Darker Worlds,” premiering globally on Apple TV+ on November 13.

It has been mentioned that Herzog is the one filmmaker in historical past to have shot on all seven continents, and he visits practically all of them once more in Fireball. The movie goes in all places from Mexico to Antarctica to Norway to Hawaii to Australia to even the hajj in Mecca, which isn’t a spot that is typically filmed for documentaries.

The filmmakers additionally go to a lab, in South Korea, which options largely small meteors which have fallen to Earth.

At every cease, Oppenheimer interviews specialists — who vary from charming eggheads like Neil deGrasse Tyson to outright cranks — whereas Herzog monologues on the soundtrack, within the meditative, German-accented voiceover that is grow to be his trademark.

All through, there’s breathtakingly beautiful cinematography, because of Peter Zeitlinger, who had beforehand shot 14 different movies with Herzog, together with Grizzly Man. That is undoubtedly one which’s preferable to look at on a big TV fairly than a cell machine.

We’re meant to wonder if another celestial object will strike us, and the filmmakers even insert footage of the climactic apocalypse within the 1997 motion film Deep Influence. That movie’s director, Mimi Leder, went on to govt produce the Apple TV+ collection The Morning Present.

The world of Werner

Clive Oppenheimer and Werner Herzog behind the scenes of

Clive Oppenheimer and Werner Herzog behind the scenes of “Fireball: Guests From Darker Worlds,” premiering globally on Apple TV+ on November 13.

If you happen to’re new to Herzog’s work, he is a 78-year-old German who has made dozens of movies, each fiction and nonfiction, since getting his begin within the early Sixties. His best-known movies embrace Aguirre the Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, and 15 years in the past he made Grizzly Man, one of many new century’s finest documentaries. That movie advised the story of Timothy Treadwell, the person who went to Alaska to stay with the bears, and ended up eaten by them.

The filmmaker has additionally had the occasional viral second, such because the time he ranted about chickens, and even performed the villain within the Tom Cruise film Jack Reacher and has an on-camera half in Disney’s The Mandalorian.

Herzog beforehand teamed with Oppenheimer, who in his day job is a Professor of Volcanology at Cambridge College, on earlier documentaries. The pair have labored on titles like 2007’s Antarctica journey Encounters on the Finish of the World, and 2016’s Into the Inferno, which explored volcanos world wide.

Awards potential

Clive Oppenheimer with Mark Willman and Joanna Bulger at the Pan-STARRS Observatory, Haleakal, Hawaii in

Clive Oppenheimer with Mark Willman and Joanna Bulger on the Pan-STARRS Observatory, Haleakal, Hawaii in “Fireball: Guests From Darker Worlds,” premiering globally on Apple TV+ on November 13.

Fireball joins a powerful Apple TV+ documentary slate for the yr, that additionally consists of Beastie Boys Story, Boys State and Bruce’s Springsteen’s Letter to You. It appears extremely probably that a minimum of a kind of will notch a Finest Documentary Oscar nomination, and Fireball and Boys State seem like the 2 favorites.

However even when it does not win awards, Fireball is a documentary that would appear to lend status to Apple’s nonfiction efforts. Whereas it appears to have been produced by way of a group of manufacturing corporations previous to Apple’s involvement, Fireball was most likely unusually costly to supply by documentary requirements.

Herzog is strictly the kind of filmmaker, and Fireball precisely the type of mission that Apple ought to be getting behind at this stage.


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