Many disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure or The Towering Inferno are blown out of proportion for the sake of the film, while others like The Impossible are more realistic but focus on catastrophes that are still rare. Tornadoes happen all the time out in the Midwest, and sometimes it takes a film like this to remind those who don’t live there of the power and devastation of these storms. That’s not to say Twister isn’t rather overblown as well, with a convenient rash of tornadoes breaking out within driving distance (which is still plausible) and tons of special effects. While it received mixed reviews overall, even critics couldn’t help but praise the effects used to bring the twisters to life and iconically fly cows across the screen (or maybe the same cow).
They may not be Oscar-worthy, but Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton pair quite well as meteorologist action heroes, and both at least seem like real people. Jami Gertz also has some memorable moments as Bill’s overwhelmed girlfriend Melissa, and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Alan Ruck are great fun as the leaders of the storm-chasing entourage. Cary Elwes skillfully drops his English accent to play Dr. Jonas Miller, preparing him for other villainous roles later on. By the way, that was Alexa Vega of Spy Kids fame playing the young Jo at the beginning. In addition (Lost alert!), there’s Jeremy Davies, who played Daniel Faraday on my favorite show. It’s a small role as one of the members of Jo’s storm team, but when I saw this film after Lost, I said “Oh, my gosh, it’s Daniel!” (He’s the one who gets up from Meg’s table to let Melissa sit down.)
The final twister is truly spectacular in its enormity, tossing around everything from houses to oil tankers, but because it’s so big and powerful, it strains credulity that no one but the bad guy got hurt. I mean seriously, with all that debris flying around, none of it hurt Bill and Jo as they were running through the heart of it? It’s one of those action movies that conveniently protects the main characters from all harm, but the scenes of destruction are believable enough to make up for that. The drive-in scene and the collapsing house scene are both edge-of-your-seat sequences so impressive that they were recreated for the theme park attraction down at Universal Studios. Twister is a whirlwind of a movie with plenty of thrills and laughs, a memorably greasy breakfast scene, and remarkable visuals that have kept me from ever wanting to move to Oklahoma. No offense.
Best line: (Melissa, on the phone during a twister) “I gotta go, Julia; we got cows!”Artistry: 5 Characters/Actors: 7 Entertainment: 9 Visual Effects: 8 Originality: 7 Watchability: 10 Other (language): -3 TOTAL: 43 out of 60
Next: #187 – Frozen
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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