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

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

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.