Directed by : Jan De Bont
Written by : Michael Crichton & Anne-Marie Martin
Cast : Bill Paxton (Bill) Helen Hunt (Jo) Cary Elwes (Jonas) Jamie Gertz (Melissa) Lois Smith (Aunt Meg)
Produced by : Universal Pictures / Amblin Entertainment
Rating : **** out of *****
Theatres : Everywhere in Singapore!
THE MAKERS OF JURASSIC PARK & THE DIRECTOR OF SPEED CONJURE UP A STORM!
(Reviewed at Eng Wah's new Jubilee Cineplex at Ang Mo Kio)
"Unlike earthquakes, their fury is precise. Unlike hurricanes, their reach is unlimited. Unlike fires, there is no way to combat them. Unlike floods, their terror is sudden." - excerpt from TWISTER production notes
I'm sure many of us living in this part of the world have never seen tornadoes (or twisters) before. I for one, have only seen the devastating effects and footage of tornadoes from news reports on TV and personally, I feel tornado-caused destruction comes no where near the destruction caused by hurricanes and earthquakes........that is until I saw TWISTER. The destruction caused by twisters may be precise (not widespread but it moves very fast and its path of destruction is unpredictable. It will suck in cars, houses, livestock, etc..... basically anything in its path that is not firmly rooted to the ground and in TWISTER, you'll get to see all this - close up!
TWISTER tells a tale about a group of Storm Chasers. These people are basically out-of-their-mind and for the sake of obtaining data on twister-occurrences, they risk their lives by literally chasing tornadoes, trying to get as close as they can.....that is if the tornado does not suddenly decide to change its path towards them! Jo (Helen Hunt) is the leader of this pack of kamikazes. While they are gearing up for the mother-of-all-storms as predicted by satellite recon, Bill (Bill Paxton), a former co- leader of the team returns to settle some divorce papers with Jo. Apparently, Bill has left his rogue-ish days for greener and more practical pastures - as a television weatherman. He catches up with his old-self and follows the pack like the good ole days, bringing his wife-to-be Melissa (Jamie Gertz) along, a city-bred woman toting around with a handphone. Jo has finally implemented Bills initial idea of a device called Dorothy which measurement's of a twister may lead to a better understanding on how tornadoes are formed so that a more reliable early-warning system can be implemented. The problem is, the device has to be placed very near the twister, and in its path (which is practically unpredictable) of destruction in order for it to function. To add to their current challenge, there is another group of Storm Chasers that is corporation-funded led by Jonas (Cary Elwes) and they too have a similar device. Thus begins the race; Jo's cheap government equipment with beaten-up vehicles against Jonas's high-tech computers and satellite link-ups with their sleek, black all-terrain vans.
Plot wise, there are not really anything to shout about. TWISTER is as predictable as any summer box-office hit can get. There is the danger of the twister, the competition with Jonas's more well-off team and of course, the settling of differences between Jo and Bill (this part gives the film its human substance). Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton and the rest of the actors/actresses give only average performances and all of them take back seat to the main thespian in this movie - the twister itself! Thanks to the impressive digital effects by ILM (Lucasfilm's Industrial Light and Magic), we get to see the terror and destruction caused by tornadoes up close; from stripping barns and houses to lifting up livestock!
Jan de Bont once again proves his visual abiility (thanks to his years of experience as a director of photography for action films) for action sequences. Like his previous film SPEED, the tornado sequences (which are essentially THE action sequences) are well visualised and edited. Audiences will be holding tight to their chairs everytime a tornado comes on screen! The surround sound effects sure does help a lot in stressing the terror of a twister! (The cinema must at the very least support digital sound to fully appreciate this) TWISTER is definitely an effect-dependent movie.
Now that ID4 fever has begun to reside, and people are getting bored of watching Will Smith whoop ET's ass for the umpteenth time......TWISTER is your sure bet of 7 bucks well spent! Watch it in a good theatre...please.
THE FLYING INKPOT's RATING SYSTEM:
* Wait for the TV broadcast.
** A little creaky, but still better than staying at home with Gotcha!
*** Pretty good, bring a friend.
**** Amazing, potent stuff.
***** Perfection. See it twice.
Jack Choo is currently not doing anything harmful. He comes from Ipoh, Perak, allegedly the home of "the BEST hor-fun in the world!".
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