Krakatoa: The Last Days

Krakatoa: The Last Days

2006, History  -   30 Comments
Ratings: 8.48/10 from 62 users.

Krakatoa: The Last DaysKrakatoa: The Last Days (also titled Krakatoa: Volcano of Destruction) is a BBC Television docudrama. The program is based upon a selection of four eyewitness accounts of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, an active stratovolcano between the islands of Sumatra and Java, present day Indonesia.

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa is the second greatest volcanic eruption in recorded history (after Mount Tambora, only 68 years earlier), erupting more than 18 cubic kilometers of tephra in less than 48 hours, and killing about 36,500 people.

A subplot concerning Rogier Verbeek (played by Kevin McMonagle), a Dutch geologist who had surveyed the area two years earlier and laid the basis for modern vulcanology with his research after the eruption, adds a scientific touch and a helpful map to the computer-generated imagery that convincingly portrays the ash cloud, collapse of the mountain, pyroclastic flows, and tsunamis.

The film also portrays a family trying to escape the devastating volcano and a ship with more than 100 passengers trapped at sea when the eruption reaches its height.

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30 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Susan Gallen

    The film did make me research more info on what the actual events were and I was disappointed to learn it was not exactly accurate. The real facts were just as dramatic so I don't know they didn't stick to them. The ship sequence was based on fact, not the particular passenger stuff, but the struggle to keep it afloat. And some of the Dutch family's heartbreaking experience.

  2. jason

    To call this a documentary or docudrama is a mistake. Although framed in Verbeek's narrative, the portrayal of actual events is not entirely accurate; while the portrayal of the people involved is heavily fictionised and styled to suit a modern audience. Some of the script and acting was good, but most of it was bad; and far too much emphasis was placed on fictitious drama rather than the actual events. The film could have been saved by special effects, but even these seemed dated lacking the quality CGI standard we now expect. Also there was a lack of attention to detail. For example, Captain Lindemans's ship the SS Governor General Loudon was built in 1875, yet the ship portrayed in the film is clearly a product of the 1895 - 1910 period.

    There were one or two nice touches, such as the audio being replaced by a ringing noise to convey the temporary loss of hearing due to the loud explosion, and the scenes aboard Loudon prior to the Tsunami, but in retrospect I would say that I watched this film to the end more out of curiosity about how it was made, rather than because I found it enjoyable. I have to say that it was a wasted opportunity.

  3. Darren

    he should have leasoned to his wife

  4. manfruss


    Depending on your point of view, and your societal position, leaving this world can be a blessing.

  5. kchief58

    WOW,God Bless Them

    1. Achems_Razor


      "God Bless Them"?? You want your gods to bless them after he annihilated them??

      Funny religee's!

  6. quiv240sxse

    holy crap! why would anyone live there?

  7. Patrick Pdawgg McMahon

    Awsome documentary would watch it so many times more

  8. Guest

    This is a brilliant documentary, keeps you on the edge of your seat.

  9. Guest

    That is "Mum's Nature" God. Not a belief but a reality.


  10. Layla Phelps

    So he stops for a basket?

  11. Insomnio

    Very nice one. That was a damn mean volcano!

  12. Rina

    C.S. Lewis: Thank you for your comments. They are much appreciated. You write so much like the famous novelist that bears your name. I found it intriguing since he's dead ( hate that word.

    1. Daniel Baker

      ..... He was quoting C.S Lewis, Abrahams son is his handle. : /

  13. krakatau

    @ CIRCLE:

    Search for "Krakatoa" on the site VeeHD. They have a conventional documentary about that eruption there. It's in 2 parts (each 40 minutes long). It was originally aired by PBS and it's very good. The thing is, to watch it, you'll need to install the Divx Web Player. However, you can get it for free from Divx's own website.

  14. CIRCLE

    Good doc. Was expecting the usual type of doc but instead got a movie based one. Was very surprised.

  15. Abrahams Son

    Dont ask me what this has to do with Krakatoa either. I have no idea.

  16. Abrahams Son

    Rina, whatever the truth is you cant change it. "fairness" is a concept based on an ordered universe. If no order exist then life cant be "unfair" because there is no basis to assume fairness exist anywhere. In other words, we dont have any right to expect anything out of life in the first place. Maybe this need for purpose is a result of the evolutionary drive to survive. Ive heard all the various secular theories of our purpose in the Cosmos and none are satisfactory to me. I dont have any answers to your questions or mine. I have to fall back on faith in a being greater than ourselves no matter how illogical the concept in almost any way you look at it. If self delusion is my only method of survival then the evolutionary process has won another round in the propagation of the species. I like to believe I remain open to searching for truth no matter where it leads but I have to be able to survive to search for that "truth". I have only concluded so far that it is not possible to prove that a greater being does not exist no matter how completely illogical it may be. It seems obvoius to me that only a "deity" could have such knowledge which would always create a "catch 22" problem for any argument to the contrary. So to me the only important question becomes "Why believe in something empirical evidence does not support"? Evolution seems to have a insurmountable edge when it can always make us believe things our intelligence tells us not to believe. I do enjoy reading these post for the variations in thinking you find.
    If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
    C. S. Lewis

  17. Rina Ralls

    What's the point? We're born to die. Talk about life being unfair. I don't get it. I keep searching but coming up empty.

  18. jane haydon

    This really was a terrific doc, I think I only moved from my seat once. Seeing what happened was eye opening and I found the Captain fascinating in his turn around, what a brave chap. As I can see Mount Baker from my home I think I will do some research, also on various animal alerts, I want to know what to react to! Thankyou so much!

  19. Aerun

    I meant no insult by my comments. I might have taken your statement out of context. It resonated in me perhaps?

    I know nothing of you other then your user name and the fact you like to post often on this site. I have seen your name pop up from time to time.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "chill out, don't be so eager" I assure you, I am very chill. Communicating through text alone is difficult as intonation and body language are vastly important to impart meaning.

    I've stared into the abyss and I saw darkness. What keeps me going every day is the belief that I can help make a better world.

    Even in dire adversity, you must continue to press onward. Not for the sake of life, no, for the fact that you only get this one chance to exist. Make it count. It seems like you already are based on your statements.

    I would like to think I would face my death with dignity (not that you wouldn't), if I had time to ponder the end as I knew it approached (like a massive eruption or having been critically wounded, but still aware)

  20. MIchael22541

    Outstanding job Mr. V.

  21. Waldo

    @ Andrew C

    Don't you think you are reading a bit much into a simple statement pal? I happen to be very conciouse of the problems that mankind faces, and do more than my part in trying to help. I am very active in both local and national politics, working for different campaigns and heading an effort in my area to register first time voters and get college kids involved in political discourse. I was simply trying to impress upon people how bad things would be in the wake of a Yellow Stone eruption. Chill out man, don't be so eager. Besides all the saocial conciousness in the world will not direct or control a volcanic eruption. I am not a doctor nor an emergency responder, so I am not sure how I would be of any service.

    Do I really wish I was killed in the first stages or onset of whatever takes out mankind, I have no idea. Haven't really give it much thought. I suppsoe if mankind were truly on its way out I wouldn't see much sense in hanging on until the end to play Mother Teresa- sue me. Does that choice reflect on the way I live now, not in the least.

  22. Andrew C

    You are touching on the right idea, but there is a lot more to it.

    You see, eventually something will happen. The super volcano will blow, an "Killer" asteroid will impact the earth, A virulent plague will wipe out many people and governments will fall into anarchy.

    One day the sun will burn out and consume the Earth. Sure, we can create technology to do many things, but in the end our civilization, our species, just like our individual lives will go silent into the night...

    Once we face the mortality of not only ourselves but of the group as a whole we are faced with a choice. Do we believe that their is more to existence then this conscious, physical self or is there really no point to anything beyond immediate gratification.

    Many people live their lives right now as if there is nothing of importance. Why? You say you hope you are dead or killed by whatever event may wipe our species out... I say, I hope I'm able to enjoy a life of luxury for many years, and leave a plentiful and safe world to my children and the many more to come.

    If I'm alive during any event that threatens the very existence of the sentient spark on this planet I hope, and strive to be in a position to help determine it's outcome.

    We cannot choose the times we are born into, only how we conduct ourselves.

  23. Waldo

    Now anak krakatau, son of Krakatoa, rises above the remains of the devastation. Let us hope it never repeats these horrible events. This explosion is still considered to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history, with reports of it being heard nearly 3,000 miles from its point of origin, and being mistaken for gun fire at sea. The shock wave from the explosion was recorded on barographs around the globe.

    When yellow stone finally goes, they say it is a question of "when" not "if", it will make this look like a fire cracker. They catagorize its potential as a super volcanoe. Here is what wiki has to say on the subject:

    "A supervolcano is a volcano capable of producing a volcanic eruption with ejecta greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers (240 cubic miles). This is thousands of times larger than most historic volcanic eruptions.[1] Supervolcanoes can occur when magma in the Earth rises into the crust from a hotspot but is unable to break through the crust. Pressure builds in a large and growing magma pool until the crust is unable to contain the pressure. They can also form at convergent plate boundaries (for example, Toba) and continental hotspot locations (for example, Yellowstone)."

    I hope I am dead and gone by the time this happens. If not I hope I die in the eruption, life after the event will be h311.

  24. Ghostie

    I like to think that the manservant Tarijko found his family alive and well and went on to live a long and happy life.

  25. JustSayGrow

    Yes, definitely has the plot for a Hollywood blockbuster. Nonetheless, it brings clarity and perspective to volcanoes, volcanology, and the degree of devastation that may be had upon peoples and our earth. Well, did for this guy.

  26. Cool E Beans

    WOW! If asked how do you make a great movie, have them watch this one to see. Horrible devistation portrayed in an excelent manner unsparing in its depiction of death and destruction without over acting or hyped secondary plots.

  27. John D

    Wow, really liked this doc.

  28. HHV

    I don't normally like docudramas, but this one was alright. Interesting subject.