Twister (1996)

"Very Good"

Twister (1996) Review


This is a review of two films....

The first film is an eye-popping, jaw-dropping action/adventure, a study of tornadoes and the carnage they create wherever they land. A story of two maverick "stormchasers" who try to launch a data-gathering probe into the heart of one of these twisters and risk life and limb in doing so.

The second film is a lifeless character drama, a tired old story about a couple going through a divorce, the man with his prissy wife-to-be, the woman still pining for their old relationship. It is also the story of a second, group of cartoonishly "evil" stormchasers who compete to launch their own probe into a tornado.

The first film is fantastic. The second film is awful. And they are both called Twister.

Never before have I experienced a picture that could have been so good and that had so much going for it, that blew it so badly. Twister's groundbreaking effects carry it a long way. These include, but are not limited to, a tractor dealership being sucked into the air, a semi dropped from the sky, a house rolling across the plains (which is driven through on its side), flying bovines, and of course, lots of faux tornadoes. I can't remember how many times I muttered "Oh my God..." during the screening. (Thanks go to Speed director Jan de Bont.)

I likewise can't remember how many times I started to doze off during the predictable, shopworn, boring "character development" scenes, none of which are effective. You'd think that in an hour of development, we'd learn more about the leads, all of whom can be fully described in 15 words or less: Bill (Bill Paxton), leaving the stormchasing world (and his wife) for more peaceful conditions; Jo (Helen Hunt), Bill's maniacally devoted wife, driven to near-madness by a tornado trauma as a youth; Melissa (Jami Gertz), Bill's hollow and uptight girlfriend (and Chicagoan Gertz looks ridiculous made-up as a Southern belle); and Jonas (Cary Elwes), the stormchaser who "sold out" by getting (the horror!) a corporate sponsorship (and Brit Elwes is even more ridiculous as a Southern beau). There's even an Aunt Meg (Lois Smith)! Welcome to Oz, folks.

The film follows a pattern more predictable than a Tyson fight: a big tornado scene, then a boring talking scene, then a big tornado scene, then talking...and on and on. After two hours, the tornadoes go away and so does the talking. Thank God for the latter. And fortunately, the action scenes are much more memorable than the drama scenes, and they serve to sway this critic into the recommend side of the ratings scale.

Now you know what you're up against when you see the film, and like its precursor, Jurassic Park, you should see it on the big screen, or else you'll be wasting a video rental. I think Twister might mark the first time where the only real response the heroes have against the enemy (the tornadoes) is to run away, and we cheer for them to do so. It's also the first time since His Girl Friday that an estranged leading couple were so obviously perfect for each other.

And as for tornado-knowledge, this is what I got: if you're in a tornado, just hold on to a big metal pole in the ground and everything will be just fine. Promise.

I went to the Twister web site and all I got was this lousy GIF.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.