5.5/10 Nominated for Best Documentary at the upcoming Academy Awards, “Fire of Love” follows Katia and Maurice Krafft, two volcanologists/scientists who fell in love, got married and dedicated their careers and lives to studying all things volcano related. While a lot of the footage from various volcanoes around the world is stunning to look at, “Fire of Love” lacks the excitement or stakes of other more recent documentaries where our protagonists have a mission to carry out. Since the Kraffts have been dead for decades at this point, there is no mission for them to accomplish as we wonder if they will achieve their goals or not. For example, “The Rescue” was about the Thai cave rescue and while most viewers knew how that story ended, the danger of the mission at hand and all of the moving parts coming together to help the trapped boys made for an extremely exciting film. Likewise, “Free Solo” featured Alex Honnold as we wondered if the rock climber would be able to climb El Capitan and live to tell the tale. Both of these incredible documentaries had life or death stakes, a mission at hand and uncertainty in their outcomes. “Fire of Love” did have danger, but since we already knew that the husband/wife team died (this fact is never hidden in any way so not considered a spoiler), it really eliminates the stakes. The movie isn’t sure if it wants to focus more on their romantic relationship or the volcanoes, spreading the movie’s content a little too thin in the process. If you eliminate the fact that they were one of the few (if not only) volcanologist couples, their love story is rather generic/boring and the scenes featuring their romance just had me longing for more volcano/lava footage, which is where the movie excels. Even the Kraffts themselves were rather mixed as a documentary subject matter. On the positive side, their research and awareness definitely aided in saving lives by getting nations and world leaders to take the life threatening volcanoes seriously and not downplaying their destructive nature. On the downside however, since the Kraffts had no children (they didn’t want any), had few friends due to always traveling and had no faith/religion in their lives, I found it rather sad and empty to dedicate your entire life to your job, no matter how important that job may be. While one could argue that the footage in this documentary and a lot of the books they wrote/work they did will last until planet Earth ends, it still felt surprisingly hollow to forsake family, faith and friends for your work life. Despite some of the flaws, the score was solid, the images/footage was incredible and their passion for their work was definitely contagious. It is fairly shocking how little we know about volcanoes, as it is obviously too dangerous to get close enough to study them in as much depth and detail as volcanologists would like. While fans of volcanoes or nature documentaries in general will appreciate this movie, the low stakes and lack of excitement, despite the explosive subject matter makes this documentary undeserving of its Oscar nomination and I highly doubt it takes home the win come Oscar night.

#ILavaYou / #MusicByMichaelMolten / #BackKrafft / #ForTheCraterGood / #DomeSweetDome / #BrideAndPlume

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