The Review Quadrant: The Volcano: Rescue from Wikari Documentary

Hello to all of you beautiful nerds and welcome back from traveling the vast nerd universe! I am back with another review!

The Volcano: Rescue From Wikari Review

I normally don’t review documentaries, I almost reviewed the Woodstock one from this year but this one is a good change, but first!

Disclaimer

This review is based on thoughts and opinions of the lead writer of this blog. Please respect her thoughts and opinions since this is her first documentary review!

Topic of Documentary

This documentary tells what happened on December 9, 2019 when a group of tourists toured the island known as Wikari or White Island located in the Bay of Plenty close to New Zealand. This tour was a part of a cruise that was through Royal Caribbean but what people were not expecting is surviving an eruption that took place on that day. This documentary is told by survivors including Linda and Brian Yuri, who were on their honeymoon during the cruise, Jesse Langford who lost his sister and parents, and first hand accounts of the rescue crews that have saved the ones who are alive to this day.

Thoughts

I was surprised that I found a trailer for this earlier today at work when I was trying to see about volcano movies I haven’t seen yet and that NetFlix had done the documentary. I have enjoyed a few documentaries by them, which included Train Wrecked: Woodstock 99. I almost reviewed it since I remembered that event and Peter Monne talked about it but it was hard to write it. I think this would be easier because it is a subject I enjoy.

For a few years, I enjoy disasters that have taken place in history from Chernobyl in Ukraine to the Station NightClub fire in West Rowryk, Rhode Island, this disaster has been one of my other favorites because of what people have endured at that time and never thought I would see and learn. While teaching remotely and being at U. Mass, I decided to watch some volcano documentaries one day during a cool down period and saw something called “Trapped in the Volcano” and watched it. It was about the White Island eruption and how people were trapped inside of it. I did watch the 60 Seconds Australia special which showed the Yuris talk about how they went to the island on their cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, with other families who were on the ship enjoying their Christmas vacation on top of it. The White Island tour was part of the excursion list and people signed up for it. If you haven’t been on a cruise, which I had in 2007, part of visiting different locations you could pay for going off on adventures. I remembered sailing on Carnival and went to the Mayan Ruins of Belize where my dad and I wanted to see the ruins at some point. I do admit I did have a major bout of acrophobia during this trip since it was on a mountain and had to climb old temples but I did get to learn about the Mayans we never learned in school and it was a good break from shopping which we had done for the most part. My mom did blame my blindness but I blamed my fear of heights really and my dad did notice it. Anyways, at least I didn’t get hurt on our trip because at least Carnival did look out for people but Royal Caribbean hadn’t because White Island was an active volcano with acid lakes, mud eruptions, and steam eruptions. I would say watch the stuff on YouTube which does give you an idea of what White Island is like, I even recommend Illuminati’s episode on it for her Wild Wild World segment which I wish she kept doing.

This documentary was very interesting but I wished it would have done a little bit more since there was one survivor they didn’t feature and that was Stephanie Bower. You can watch her bits in the Trapped in the Volcano documentary, the 60 Minutes Australia special, and Mile Higher’s podcast episode on it. I did like to see what had happened with Jesse Langford, the Yuris, and Kelsey Waghorn who also survived the eruption. I did get to see this with audio description and getting to hear their accounts of what had happened to them was great because the stuff on YouTube was kind of brief with these people due to the spotlight on Stephanie and her recovery. I would love to hear more about what she went through in the eruption, again you can see her on YouTube and Tic Toc.

I did wish that this documentary could have been more than one episode, I could have enjoyed a two parter because there felt like there was more to it that can be told, especially more with the helicopter crew that rescued Stephanie and most of the other people who survived or died. What was not told, which you can find on YouTube is that most of the bodies that were left had two people wash away and I think the second episode could have expand on that especially with how rescue crews went back a few days later to get those bodies, especially one of the tour guides and Jesse’s sister, Wynnona, which we get to learn a little bit about them that they were very adventurous. I can see where we got Jesse and his family going to this island in the first place. I would also love to learn about what changed the geography of the island, as in is there still steam even though some of the audio description did mention some present day shots but not what the volcano looks like since it was a StratoVolcano, which is a cone shaped volcano coming out f the water. If you want an example, Yellowstone’s volcano is an example of this type and predictions are pointing to an eruption soon.

There was one thing that YouTube did mention and thought the NetFlix documentary should have mentioned in a second episode is that Royal Caribbean had a suit against the survivors. Mile Higher kind of went into detail with their episode where Royal Caribbean is suing the survivors which is not their fault. Yes, they signed up for an adventure but were not told that an eruption would happen that day. Remembering from what I’ve seen on YouTube, there were threats and the level was measured from one through three and apparently the island was at Level 2 due to an eruption that took place one night in 2016. At least no one was on the island. Stephanie and her family were told about this and this caused some nervousness and I can see why, if I was on that island, I would tell my dad, “I want to go back to the ship! I am not staying here!”Especially learning about how bad volcano burns are! Yes, they are not like the basic burns you could get from cooking, they are more extensive and can cause more long-term injury, scarring, and surgeries to repair the damage. Stephanie even ended back on 60 Minutes to take off her compression mask that helped heal her face burns. The Yuris did talk about their injuries in the NetFlix documentary which after watching the stuff on YouTube, I wondered how they were doing and hearing that they still have extensive burns is a major ouch, especially Brian with his ring finger on the dominant hand not working. THey showed him building a small cabinet and Laura talking about her burns on her neck and face, but what was interesting was that one part of Brian’s writ was not burned due to Laura holding it during the time of the eruption so she could hold onto him.

Rating: 3 Star Pawprint Comets Out of 5

At first I was going to give it a four but after remembering what I’ve seen on YouTube, I felt that YouTube had the better material, especially with 60 Minutes, Illuminati, and Mile Higher doing more detailed episodes on this disaster. I did like the bits that we did get to have more volcano footage because of how people used their cellphones to record this. Heck, Stephanie’s sister, Crystal, had some of the first count of the eruption because when she, Paul, and Stephanie reached the crater they had a photo in front of the black smoke that was coming out. That should have been a point to have Stephanie on this because of them getting that close along with Jesse, Brian, Laura, and Kelsey. It did help getting Kelsey to tell her part since she did yell at people to run in her group. But this documentary could have been better by adding another episode to tell more about what took place with the rescue and talking more about why crews had to hold back from going to be part of the rescue on the island, which Laura did tell 60 Minutes Australia that she was angry that they were held back and that more people could have been saved. While that is true, more people could be alive, even the Langfords and Rowerts could have survived. Plus, I felt as though YouTube had the better versions of the documentary but I can see why NetFlix had done this since the third year anniversary of this disaster did pass. You wouldn’t believe that this only happened three years ago when The Station NightClub fire happened in 2003 and Chernobyl in 1986. I think this was a good way of showing as a short piece and then let people dig deeper into the full story, which if I taught a class on historical disasters, I would show this documentary alongside Trapped in the Volcano and then used Mile Higher and Illuminati as additional resources in my class due to this documentary showing the detailed parts of the eruption and then seeing how people got trapped and the online module having an assignment with Mile Higher and Illuminati. THat is how I would teach that module.

Well, that is it for this review, I had more thoughts but it would probably take me a lot more to write into the morning but this was an okay documentary. I did enjoy Train Wrecked more though, just saying! I am still reading the final book of the Playful Brides series and will have the Bests & Worsts of 2022 sometime this weekend. So stay tuned!

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