The Wild Blue Yonder

The Wild Blue Yonder PG (2005)

Dir: Werner Herzog

I’d like to have a brew with Werner Herzog, although it would take far longer than the length of time it takes to consume three chocolate hob-nobs to explore the recesses of his peculiarly brilliant mind. I’d also like to convince him to have a go at saving the world: scientists can try as much as they like but I believe it’s only through the arts that us humans will really respond. Throw facts and figures about the cataclysmic future that awaits us ’til you’re blue in the face and people might just get round to sorting their recyclables; show us through poetic visuals mixed with said science and we might all gain a sense of urgency.

Wild Blue Yonder is Herzog’s requiem for the planet; a plea for us to try and save it from its destruction and an aria to its beauty. Aliens settle on an earth that’s verging on becoming uninhabitable and humans head off into space to try and find other planets to colonize. One of the aliens (played by Brad Dourif) tells the aliens’ story, providing an elegy for his own planet, Andromeda, which has frozen over. The story is told using footage of NASA missions and deep-sea diving expeditions and old news reels, but it’s the soundtrack that really stands out – haunting vocals that made me think of whales crying out to each other or funeral song. The slow, beautiful shots of the astronauts exploring the planet are stunning, and the passionate performance by Dourif is really moving.

Philosophical, poignant, and with a bit of humour that Herzog always manages to inject into his films. I tell you, he’s the one to save us.

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