Discovery Channel’s movie “Supervolcano.”

We watched the Discovery Channel’s Supervolcano last night. Billed as a “true story” that “just hasn’t happened yet,” the movie was a surprisingly good mix of facts and drama that made for a very enjoyable viewing experience. With big disaster movies like Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow sacrificing scientific accuracy for dramatic license it was very refreshing to see a film that married the two together pretty well.

The story focuses on Yellowstone National Park and the fact that it is basically a huge active volcano that measures some 45 by 30 miles that has a tendency to have a super eruption every 650,000 years or so. The story gives us a worst-case scenario of what would happen if Yellowstone were to repeat its biggest eruption today. Let’s just say it would be a whole lot of not fun that would impact the world dramatically for years to come. It’s all based on what we know about the previous eruptions and what the effects of smaller eruptions from other volcanoes and it shows that there’s plenty of drama to be found in science accurate fiction. The Discovery Channel will re-air the movie on Saturday, April 16th at 8PM and again at 11PM so be sure to catch it if you haven’t already seen it. We really enjoyed it. At the end Tom Brokaw comes out and talks with a bunch of scientists about the movie and Yellowstone park which made for a nice followup.

Favorite line in the movie comes from a scene where two volcano experts and a marine are holed up in a military bunker in Colorado. As volcanic ash is piling up outside they’re debating whether they should stay put or try to walk to a safer location:

Expert 1: No, we should stay put and wait for them to find us.
Expert 2: If we stay put we’re going to starve to death before we’re ever rescued.
Expert 1: Not if we eat Johnson.
Marine: Heh. Just try it.

12 thoughts on “Discovery Channel’s movie “Supervolcano.”

  1. I watched that over here a few weeks back and I was quite impressed too. Luckily because it was a BBC production we got our claws on it a bit ahead of you guys (not very often we get anything before the states!). ;o)

  2. We’re getting it here in Oz too, just saw the ad on ABC, a fact which impresses me considering it’s only just aired overseas.

    Anyway, I was ready to dismiss it from what the ad showed but now thanks to you I’m a little curious, any show with jokes about cannibalism can’t be all bad.

  3. Suppose that that supervolcano becomes a reality in the near future. Would this country recover, or instantly become a third world nation? I believe that the TV show projected about 15M fatalities, or roughly about 5% of the total population.

  4. Well… I think that the dust from the Volcano throws the planet into a permanent winter might effect the ability to grow crops n what not… wink

  5. It’s not a permanent winter, but it is a long-term one brought about by the extra gases in the atmosphere. From the looks of things at the end of the movie the suggestion seemed to be that, though very battered, the U.S. and everyone else manages to adapt to the situation and I think that would probably be the case.

    Yes, it would be a massive impact on everyone’s lives and it would be months before we could even begin to adapt to it, but we’re at a point technologically that it wouldn’t keep us down for too long. As a species we’re just too damned stubborn not to adapt.

    I noticed that the movie was a production originally done for the show Horizons in the U.K. which was at one time aired here in the U.S. on TechTV as Secret, Strange, but True before bought out the channel. Wish the Discovery Channel would pick up that series over here.

  6. I watched it and enjoyed the way it was presented, but that is just the worst possible scenario, but it is far more likely if we see an eruption it will be much more limited. I have been following this subject for a few years, and it is very fascinating.

  7. Glad to hear this was decent, after that horrible Earthquake one last year I was dubious.
    Have it set to be TIVO’d on Sat.

    There is also a special on the Science channel called “When Yellowstone Erupts” that has been playing various times in the past week or so.

  8. This was the stupidest thing TDC could ever do, destroying its own crediblity as a science-network. A “true story” is, by definition, something that HAS happened; and the likelihood of that volcano erupting anytime in the next few hundred years is about zero. However such docu-drama which shows the eruption happening today, and the typical action-flick arrogance of the main characters being the only ones in the world who have a clue or who’s worth surviving (while everyone else is stupid, corrupt, or just plain EXPENDIBLE), then TDC can consider itself to have left the ranks of reality-based programming to join the Hollywank fun-fest; this looked just like “Dante’s Inferno” meets “Day After Tomorrow,” a formulaic natural-disaster movie with absolutely no basis in reality WHATSOEVER.

  9. …the likelihood of that volcano erupting anytime in the next few hundred years is about zero…

    …a formulaic natural-disaster movie with absolutely no basis in reality WHATSOEVER.

    And you know this for a fact because…?

    Granted, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the film myself, but it did appear to have much more science behind its speculation than just about anything else put out recently including the rather idiotic Dante’s Inferno.

    For that matter, if you’re going to get upset over Discovery channel putting pap on as science there are plenty of other idiotic shows on there to be upset about more so than this movie. They’ve gotten a lot better lately, but I used to cringe every time they’d show some “fringe science” show that uncritically looked at subjects such as ESP, Bigfoot or Bible Prophecy.

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