geopious | Princeton, New Jersey USA | 10/18/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"My college graduation was cancelled when the eruption of Mount Saint Helens sent a boiling ash cloud east and covered Spokane, WA. This personal experience hightened my anticipation of the DVD release of "The Eruption of Mount St. Helens." I even put money down for an advance purchase. But, alas, the film is sorely lacking in 1) scientific explanation, 2) IMAX quality images, and 3) a decent script. Believe me -- I'm not picky! I love all the IMAX format DVD I've purchased. But this one was a big disappointment. There is so much more that could have been captured -- from the personal stories that collided with the eruption to the scientific/natural marvel of a volcano blasting away in the modern era. The eruption of Mount Saint Helens was an unexpected event, and I realize that the visual material available for this production is limited. But I did expect that, twenty years after the event, someone could edit the material with more skill, better interpretation, and a sharper sense of the drama of that terrible/incredible day."
Some interesting historical footage, no science, poor qualit
Alex | Chapel Hill, NC | 11/10/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Do not be fooled by the advertisement. This movie is only 26 minutes long! Although sold as a "former" I-MAX movie the footage was clearly shot on film of a much lower grade and quality. This DVD was released in 2000 but the original movie was actually shot soon after the eruption - most of the time you get the "hazy" 1980s TV-quality picture.
Other than a few great shots of the eruption (some repeats here) there is no science to speak about. Words like lahar, pyroclastic flow, or Plinian eruption are not used. This is a descriptive video without any background, analysis of processes, or scientific background. This video would never even be nominated for best documentary today - there simply isn't enough information in it. If you played this video in a classroom without the sound you wouldn't miss anything.
Am I the only one to notice the helicopter's rotor blades at the top of the screen on virtually every aerial shot?
If you want some nice historical footage of the eruption - this is a good video (though short) - if you are looking for a classroom tool loaded with good science and information - don't bother."
Poor Eruption Footage
Joshua R. Diener | Bothell, WA USA | 10/20/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I was really disapointed, for the price you pay you sure do not get much footage of the Eruption. I live in Seattle and was hoping to learn a lot about the Eruption and honestly didnt learn a single thing. Eruption footage only lasts maybe 1 minute of the entire movie."
Three strikes against it
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 05/09/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Although THE ERUPTION OF MOUNT ST. HELENS probably played well in IMAX theaters, as a home video it's almost a failure. The initial explosion that shattered the mountain and sent countless millions of tons of ash and dust skyward is represented by time lapse photography. It's perhaps the only footage that exists of this cataclysmic event. The first disappointment, or: strike one.
For those of us in places other than the affected area, seeing news reports the morning after are the most vivid memories. How peoples' live had been affected by a relentless snowstorm of ash was just mind-boggling. There's little of such images here other than impersonal long shots of stalled cars. Strike two.
Where this half-hour fails most is in foregoing an opportunity to educate viewers on the anatomy of volcanoes, also on how and why they erupt. References might've been made to previous eruptions. This information may have added 5 minutes to the running time of what is redundant videos of billowing dust clouds, or perhaps there could have been a trade-off of such footage in exchange for more substantive background. And there's strike three.
This viewer was thoroughly disappointed with THE ERUPTION OF MOUNT ST. HELENS, and grateful I'd borrowed from the library rather than having paid to see it."