***1/2. Once you've understood that Werner Herzog is not a scientist nor an ethnologist nor a filmmaker but simply a humanist and maybe the last one of his kind, you'll be ready to explore his filmography that's one of the most impressive of our time. Strongly recommended.
Well, this is all over the fucking place. Like aaaall over the place. And it is still worth because I've obviously never been let down by Herzog, but it stuns way more than it engages and that's the sign of a second tier Herzog filmography. It's not sloppy and it's not for a lack of effort, but goddamn, by the end of it I just wanted him to focus on one subject at a time and turn it into four or five different films.
Some breathtaking cinematography and archival footage that I haven't seen before. It's an interesting look into the modern human relationship with volcanoes, particularly modern mythology and religion. Herzog digresses a bit, so it occasionally loses focus, especially in the DPRK section (if you've already seen a doc on DPRK, you've heard nearly all of this), but it contains more than enough to enjoy.
Watched this to fall asleep to Herzog's narration and aesthetically pleasing visuals, but instead I was wide awake and interested on how he captured spiritual, mythological and scientific research behind these deadly volcanos. He's interested in the people who are so interested in it and this gives a humanistic quality to Nature documentaries.
Easy to forget how much a great guerrilla film maker like Herzog embraces or evolves with technology. He updates both a subject (volcanoes) and character (Oppenheimer) from previous films to sumptuous effect, now being able to inhabit the inferno with adequate awe. Not a successful integration of the science the superstition and the rogue state, but each individual component is Herzog at his best.
As soon as I saw the signature Herzog title font come up, I knew everything would be alright. His eye, wit and rhythm are completely intact, as well as his knack for assimilation, organic stylization and collaboration. His nature documents bring out the best in him. I only wish his features would rise to that same occasion again.
An extension to 'La Soufrière' rather than a definitive doc on volcanoes (complete with Herzog's daredevil filmmaking nous). The geographical context lends weight to the grandiose and haunting majesty of nature's wildest landmarks. It is a curiosity watch rather than one which challenges our notions of civilisation. For profound accounts of indigenous culture, see Fricke's 'Baraka' and 'Samsara'.
The unfocused globe trotting takes away from the end result despite some indelible images along the way. Herzog is somewhat removed from the subject matter this time both in narration and screen time and the film feels all the less for this change. If the film had focused more on one subject, North Korea or Iceland for example, it may have been more satisfying.
I love Herzog. Herzog loves volcanos. I love Herzog loving volcanos. Therefore, I should love a Herzog documentary about volcanos. Or so the story should go .... Please feel free to check out my full review below! https://trappedinthecinemablog.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/into-the-inferno-2016-%E2%98%85%E2%98%85%E2%98%85/