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

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

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.