Rated PG-13 for intense depiction of very bad weather.
Directed By: Jan De Bont
Written By: Michael Crichton
Staring: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gerts, Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Louis Smith, Alan Ruck, and Todd Field
When you used to tell me that you chase tornadoes, deep down I thought it was just a metaphor. -Melissa
The biggest storm system to hit Oklahoma in half a century is promising to brew a slew of tornado’s. Waiting is Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt), and meeting her is her soon to be ex-husband/storm chaser Bill (Bill Paxton), a weatherman. Bill meets Jo to sign the divorce papers when a huge storm sweeps across the alley and Bill, his new fiance Melissa (Jamie Gerts), follow Jo and his old crew to see the most amazing tornado onscreen ever. Suddenly Bill sees his revolutionary creation “Dorothy” that will help understand Tornado’s, and therefore help predict them in the future, come to life. He realizes his relationship with Jo is not the only thing he needs closure on, and volunteers to help get it going, and takes along his fiance Melissa. Here, the real Tornado chase begins.
The premise of the story seems ridiculous, but actually plays out as somewhat plausible. No doubt due to the brilliance of Micheal Critchon. His forte is in mixing man with nature and nature with science. These are all the main components of Twister. And since the viewer buys the science with nature aspect of the story, the unnatural idea of man being mixed in isn’t questioned as much.
Really, the only “big” damper of the story is the necessity to have an antagonist character thrown in the mix when the tornado’s themselves work as antagonists. Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes) and his crew have a creation similar to that of Dorothy and are trying to get their technology out there before Dr. Harding gets hers. It becomes nothing more than an added complication. The film is already larger than life with it’s massive tornado’s and it already contains a conflict between it’s two main characters. All Jonas and his over the top “black” band of science bandits do is distract from the fun of the rest of the movie.
The motivation of the characters isn’t ideal and Helen Hunts wacko adaptation of Jo is annoying at times, but nonetheless Twister comes out a winner. Due to one main attribute: The most amazing tornado special effects ever onscreen. People are drawn to tornado’s and their mystic, even with all of today’s camera footage, a real up close and personal shot of a tornado is hard to come by. In this movie, Jan de Bont actually put the viewer in the tornado and it just doesn’t get cooler than that. The FX mixed with a fun supporting cast, and a storyline that while you can’t take seriously doesn’t put too much a damper on the fun chase of the storms. It makes for an excellent and fun movie. Twister gets two and a half out of four stars, but with a giant smiley face afterward.