Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds

Dept. of Fireballs and Falling Stars


Werner Herzog has got a distinctive voice. Literally. His reading of the children’s bedtime story Go The F*ck To Sleep is amazing, both in the idea that acclaimed documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog would record himself reading a bedtime story, but also in the delivery of his lines, growing ever increasingly frustrated and worn down by these kids that just won’t go the f*ck to sleep.

The first thing you will realise about Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds is that Werner Herzog is the narrator. He shows up in spots throughout the documentary, but his voice is ever present, both literally, and figuratively. And that distinctive, gravely voice, with its thick Bavarian accent really drives this documentary forward. There is a sense of wonder and awe in the narration, written as a diary, in order to narrate this “home movie” to us.

A crater in Wolfe Creek, Western Australia in Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds.

Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds, the new AppleTV+ documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog and British volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer is an investigation into comets, and asteroids, and meteors, those celestial bodies that, once in a while, interact with Earth, either fleeting past us, or hitting home.

When it hits home is what this documentary is interested in. Herzog and Oppenheimer travel the world to not only look at the effect these falling rocks have on the planet, but also the consciousness of humanity, from the Black Stone set in the eastern corner of the Kaaba, to the aboriginal community near Wolfe Creek Crater in Western Australia.

Fireball isn’t an in-depth, scientific look at Earth’s relationship with these interplanetary travellers, but rather about the relationship humanity has, and had, with them. This isn’t a National Geographic special on the meteorites that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and the big ones yet to come. This is about the South Korean researchers walking (yes, walking) the Antarctic ice shelf looking for meteorites. It’s about the Jesuit priest in charge of the Catholic observatory at the Pope’s summer residence. It’s about the Mayans, and the craters left behind, which are seen as portals to the afterlife.

Clive Oppenheimer with geochemist Nita Sahai in Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds.

Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds is a paean to these visitors from the solar system. It doesn’t talk about the “next big one” that may wipe out humanity. It is more concerned with inspiring audiences to look up to the heavens. It doesn’t really bother itself with the mineral compositions of asteroids or what that means for us. It rather show us the excitement of researchers finding these little visitors from space.

Shooting stars seen in the night sky in Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds.

Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds isn’t a documentary for the head, it’s a documentary for the heart.

Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds is now streaming on Apple TV+. To read about more AppleTV+ content, click here.

Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds
97 minutes
Directors: Werner Herzog and Clive Oppenheimer

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Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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