When Werner Herzog makes a documentary, you bet I am going to see it. It’s a bit odd to see him give Clive Oppenheimer (Cambridge University geographer and seismologist) a co-directing credit since he’s never directed anything before. But it’s Herzogs’ world, and we’re just along for the ride. And what a ride it is. I genuinely believe that Herzog could make a film about almost anything and make it entertaining and enlightening. Even a movie about rocks. Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds isn’t just about any ol’ stones but rocks from outer space, otherwise known as meteorites, some bringing organic matter with them from the distant reaches of the universe. Meteorites ranging in size from tiny match heads to large dogs give scientists lots to study and learn.

This film puts Herzog in his element with a little pop anthropology and the history of ideas. With Herzog giving the film his unmistakable accented bear of a voice, he and Oppenheimer give us the history of meteorites and the weird things that spring up in the blast radius. They fill us in on the cataclysmic threat to us from above. Leaving the audience with the realization that our lives can suddenly be wiped out by a giant meteorite much like the dinosaurs. Think along the lines of the 1998 film Armageddon, and you get the picture.

Of course, the cinematography for this film is fantastic, and the use of music from remote tribes with the score is transcendental at times. The two men journey to such places as Wolfe Creek, the colossal meteorite crater in Western Australia that resulted from an impact over 120,000 years ago. Creating a vast circular depression in the ground. They present the debate that Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, with their precious “Black Stone,” is, in fact, a meteorite. The documentary interviews are engaging with an eclectic mix of people and scientists. Including the head of NASA’s planetary defense coordination office. Whose job is to prevent a giant meteor impact that would kill us all. Just wait and see how they plan to take care of that massive task.

I give Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds a 4.5-star rating. It’s beautiful and thought-provoking. Fanning the embers of the curiosity that we’ve had about what’s out there since we were children looking up at the night sky in wonder.


Directed by: Werner Herzog, Clive Oppenheimer

Written by: Werner Herzog

Rated: NR

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Running Time: 1 hr 37min


Release: November 13th Apple TV+

Starring: Werner Herzog, Jan Braly Kihle, Clive Oppenheimer, Jon Larsen


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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