The Valero Verdict: Rebuilding Paradise


Welcome to another edition of the “The Valero Verdict” movie review. In this, I will give you a quick movie review with a couple of bullet points of which I either liked or disliked. I will end the review with a rating of the movie and short overall thoughts.

On the docket today, National Geographic Documentary “Rebuilding Paradise”.

On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures. It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years — and the worst ever in California’s history. REBUILDING PARADISE, from Academy Award-winning director RON HOWARD, is a moving story of resilience in the face of tragedy, as a community ravaged by disaster comes together to recover what was lost and begin the important task of rebuilding.

Here are photo’s from National Geography’s site taken by Peter Muller.

Disaster is something you expect to always see on TV. When you see it, you mourn, you cry, and you pray for all of those involved. You never expect to be on the receiving end of the mourning, the praying, the crying, and when you are, you don’t know how to react.

Rebuilding Paradise opens with raw footage of the fire. It takes us inside the lens of phone cameras, showing us the devastation that ensued from these fires. The haunting score that you hear while it is happening, you almost lose sight that you are watching a documentary.

We see a father and son driving down the road, and you can hear how scared the son is by the tone of his voice. The father, trying to reassure that they are going to be okay, but even within his voice, you hear it’s cracking, and it’s scary. The moment the son sees those clear skies, he breaks down and cries, and I did the same. It was such a raw moment that is terrifying to see unfold.

We transition into the trickle-down effect of after a disaster. We see people seeing their homes for the first time, watching the heartbreak as they tell stories of things that can’t be replaced. They are hurt, and you can see and hear the pain.

Watching it go from a disaster to a political conversation is something that happens with everything anymore. Having to watch these people fight for their homes, for their money, to rebuild, and witness them see prices rising due to the disaster, troubling how it unfolds. These people do not care about what happens to these people, and you can tell. When the P&G guy started speaking, you could hear the political tone in his voice with no remorse in front of people who have lost family members.

The rebuild was hard to watch because a lot of people were so uncertain of what was going to happen. Watching the excitement from the kids being back in school was warm, watching the community band together and understand they need each other.

These were words from the speech at the gathering of the community in Paradise.

“It is so important to remember that we are not alone in this. As we’ve rebuilt our lives, we begin to heal. As we heal, we feel ourselves rising from the ashes like the Phoenix. We will survive, thrive, and together we will create a beautiful and lasting community. And if that’s not paradise, I don’t know what is.”

The Verdict

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

“An emotionally crippling documentary that gives you hope even after disaster.”

This short shows how if we come together, we can change the world. We saw why Ron Howard is one of the best at what he does, the documentary was a masterclass of directing how to layer a story with compassion, with heart, and with hope.

Rebuilding Paradise gave me hope that one day we can all band together and make the changes needed for our future generations.

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Tell me what you thought of the movie, hit me up on here or talk to me on Twitter @RickyValero_

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