It’s the End of the World as We Know it

Supervolcano and End Day are currently available on instant Netflix.



Supervolcano (2005) – TV-PG

This explosive docudrama imagines what would happen if the supervolcano on which Yellowstone National Park sits erupted.”

Standard advice to people was that they store enough food and water for three days. Today is day three.”

Other than die-hard doomsday fans, I am unsure who this is made for. I will say that I was thankful that this wasn’t an Asylum production. In some ways, it is anti-Asylum. The special effects however are exactly what you would expect from Asylum – namely serviceable but about a decade behind current norms. This is intercut with a fair amount of actual volcano footage.

Supervolcano is listed as a BBC series but it is actually only an hour and forty-five minutes total, broken into two parts. The first part gives us an overview of Yellowstone, an introduction to our scientists, a fair amount of discussion of other volcanic events, and the growing threat of an eruption. The second part is obviously the eruption along with the aftermath.

While the special effects are nothing to write about, the scenarios are handled in a fairly realistic manner and the graphics support that. It doesn’t try to stuff every possible type of volcanic activity and phenomena into one movie (Dante’s Peak) and it doesn’t use man-made landmarks for sensationalism (Volcano).

This is done as a docudrama so don’t expect it to focus on individual stories of heroism. If you want that, wait for San Andreas, starring Dwayne Johnson. While they get some things right, I did have to laugh when they mentioned evacuating the President to a bunker in Florida. As anyone who lives in Florida knows, the water table is high enough to prevent basements in most areas, much less a bunker. Also BBC, no one in the US would give a distance in kilometers.

Acting is of course way better than anything the Asylum has ever put out but that is not saying much.

End Day

End Day (2005) – Not Rated

A fictional scientist travels from London to New York experiencing a multitude of doomsday scenarios, about which various experts provide commentary.

Another disaster docudrama from BBC, End Day is less than an hour long. In this time, writer and director Gareth Edwards constructs a series of disaster scenarios and links them in Groundhog Day style. A scientist wakes up in the morning and, during the course of trying to get from London to New York, encounters a disaster. He then wakes up back in his motel room and the day starts again with a different disaster encountered. Edwards even acknowledges his source by having Groundhog Day listed on a marquee. These are Edwards first writing and first directing gigs. He has gone on to write and direct Monsters and to direct the most recent Godzilla.

The disasters are all quick and dirty since each is only about ten minutes long, and that includes the repeat scenes of the scientist trying to get to New York. The first does not fit the doomsday storyline but is just a story of a tidal wave striking the East Coast, New York in particular. The others are potential doomsday events, leading up to our scientist arriving in New York to start up a Hadron like collider.

Both Supervolcano and End Day are strictly for those of us who are fascinated by the apocalypse. There are no characters to care about, no jaw-dropping special effects, and probably no particular extra knowledge to be gained.