DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

KIM AKASS

MONIQUE NAZARETH

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Rebuilding Paradise: Ron Howard Talks about His Scary, Beautiful New Documentary
November 8, 2020  | By David Bianculli  | 189 comments
 


Rebuilding Paradise, 
directed by Ron Howard and premiering tonight at 9 ET on National Geographic Channel, is a wonderful documentary and an inspirational true-life story – but doesn’t begin like one. It begins like a wildly intense horror film. 

Paradise, CA, is the name of a small community that, on that day in 2018 at the start of Rebuilding Paradise, looks like one. A beautiful morning, sunny blue skies, and the sound of a radio reporter warning of high winds that could swiftly spread any wildfires that might break out.

Howard employs no narration on Rebuilding Paradise, even though, as he proved on Arrested Development, he’s a very gifted narrator. Instead, his documentary unspools naturally – and, like a wildfire, builds in intensity quickly and without warning.

By collecting and utilizing videos shot by Paradise residents as they attempted to flee the fire that suddenly encircled them, Howard starts Rebuilding Paradise as a sort of Blair Witch Project horror movie of “found footage.” Only this footage is real. When a woman trying to drive to safety is told that her community is “100 percent surrounded by fire,” her reaction is a simple but plaintive question: “Are we gonna die?”

Another piece of cellphone video puts us in the car of a family trying to escape the sudden inferno. The husband is driving, and the wife is photographing, while the car drives over and through flames. Finally, they see clearer skies, and realize they’ve made it to safer ground. Like Lot’s wife, she turns to look behind her – and her cameraphone captures the Paradise city sign as they’re escaping the city limits.

The sign is on fire.

After all that – as scary a sequence as in any horror or disaster film, and with no CGI effects whatsoever – we get the aftermath. And another sort of horror sign, as President Donald Trump, who has just surveyed the damage, tells TV news crews, “We just left Pleasure” – whereupon Gov. Jerry Brown, without looking up, corrects him instantly with a muttered “Paradise.” That scene plays differently today than it did even last week. Instead of just anger at the ineptitude, there’s relief at knowing that different leaders are soon to come.

In the community of Paradise, the leaders and leadership made all the difference. Citizens had to decide if they wanted to rebuild, after what was assessed as the worst fire in California history. And if so, then how?  Howard’s crew follows this process all the way, which gives Rebuilding Paradise, after such a frightening beginning, a truly inspirational ending.

When I interviewed Ron Howard briefly last week for TVWW, he stressed that it was the rebirth from the ashes aspect of the story that always drew him to Paradise – not the devastation, but the story of what it took for a community to learn how to revive itself, and where to go to get the help it needed, and which types of help truly were helpful. And as he and his crew kept filming, the narrative got more and more positive.

“The title was always Rebuilding Paradise in my mind as a working title,” Howard told me. “But it had a question mark on it at the beginning.” Once he saw how Paradise came back together, the punctuation was dropped.

As for the scene I described, of the woman filming her family’s escape from the fiery hell that night in Paradise, Howard was equally impressed and enthusiastic.

“It’s an amazing shot,” he agreed. “What a gift, when we found that, discovered that.

“Gladys Murphy, one of our editors, was in charge of putting together all of our found footage, our fire footage,” he continued. “So a lot of it, I didn’t see for months, because so much of it flooded in. I knew we were getting good stuff, and it was powerful, and it was personal, and it was really going to help us tell our story.

“But it wasn’t until she put it in this order that you recognized that this could be sort of a sequence like Saving Private Ryan, where you drop the audience right into the D-Day landing.”

Howard admitted, “This wasn’t the way we were going to initially begin the film. “But once we saw that footage together, we realized this was the way to alert audiences to what the film was about, and what people had lived through.”

 
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
KDLIU
Type in the verification word shown on the image.
 
 
 Page: 1 of 10  | Go to page: 
189 Comments
 
 
I high appreciate this post. It’s hard to find the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it! would you mind updating your blog with more information
Feb 21, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Let us guide you through the most iconic and breathtaking sights, turning your excursion paris into an unforgettable exploration. +33 1 84 68 01 03.
Feb 20, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
I love the way you write and share your niche! Very interesting and different! Keep it coming!
Feb 20, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Certainly! To find a garage door repair service near you, consider searching online or using local business directories. Look for a reputable company with positive reviews, experienced technicians, and prompt service. Check if they offer a range of repair services, such as fixing broken springs, replacing damaged panels, or addressing issues with the garage door opener. Additionally, inquire about their pricing, response time, and warranty options to ensure a reliable and satisfactory repair experience.
Feb 20, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Men's Islamic Gifts: Celebrate the men in your life with our curated collection of Islamic gifts, ranging from stylish accessories to meaningful decor, designed to inspire and uplift their spirits.
Feb 20, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Financial Management Firm in Pakistan: Seeking professional financial management services in Pakistan? Our firm offers comprehensive solutions to help individuals and businesses effectively manage their finances. From budgeting and forecasting to risk management and investment planning, we provide expert guidance to optimize your financial performance and achieve your objectives successfully.
Feb 19, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign.
Feb 18, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
This particular tools are extremely important to me whenever I require because they help me get the practical analysis of my project completed.
Feb 18, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Spraying in the kitchen has traditionally been associated with cleaning and food preparation. However, the concept of spraying has evolved beyond the conventional methods. Dynamic spray technology takes the traditional idea of spraying to a whole new level by introducing smart and efficient solutions.
Feb 15, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
It turns out that even the hottest port has a few places where you can get off the beaten path. Here are some recommendations that will make you feel like you're in the know
Feb 13, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too. There tend to be not many people who can certainly write not so simple posts that artistically. Continue the nice writing
Feb 13, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching for such kinda informative post and your post looks very interesting for me.
 
 
How Good is Special Kitty Cat Food: This description would evaluate the nutritional value, ingredient quality, and overall health benefits of Special Kitty Cat Food, providing pet owners with insights into how this brand stacks up against other cat food options in the market.
Feb 13, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
i read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future..
Feb 12, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
However, it's important to note that engaging in online gambling may have legal and ethical implications depending on your location and personal circumstances. Additionally, online platforms related to gambling can pose risks such as financial loss and addiction.
Feb 12, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
"The word 'cassasse' sounds like it could be the title of a captivating novel or an enchanting melody."
Feb 11, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
If you're unsure about sizing or style, don't hesitate to reach out to customer service for assistance. Many lingerie brands offer personalized recommendations to help you find your perfect fit.
Feb 11, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Check Reviews and Ratings: Once you have a list of potential locksmiths, take the time to read reviews and check their ratings. Websites like Google, Yelp, and Angie's List are valuable resources for gathering feedback from past customers. Look for locksmiths with high ratings and positive reviews, as these are indicators of reliable service.
Feb 10, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
Looking for garage door repair near me? A Plus Garage Door Repairs is here for you in Palm Harbor also with 24/7 for emergency repairs.
Feb 9, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
The Swift Code for JP Morgan Chase Bank is CHASUS33. This is also known as a Bank Identifier Code (BIC). Financial institutions are given this unique code to make sure that foreign financial deals are safe.
Feb 9, 2024   |  Reply
 
 
 
 Page: 1 of 10  | Go to page: