Good day to you ladies and gents, time for an unexpected film review as today we’ll be going back to 1996 with the film Twister. I remember this film from childhood and since it was on TV tonight I thought I’d watch it and then review it, so let’s get started.
The premise for this film can be described as the following:
“Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes.”
Now this is a film I remember from my childhood and have seen a good few times over the years and to this day I still like it. The plot is serviceable. You have your main set of storm chasers running after tornadoes mixed in with rival competitors and another story element involving the two main characters who have history that will need to be sorted over the course of the film. Its nothing you haven’t seen before, it’s also cheesy and a bit cliché with dialogue and character development, but for the most part it works, sure there’ll be times where you question the realism of what’s happening but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter that much. I also think there’s something about disaster films from the 90’s with crazy action sequences that makes smile. This film in some ways reminds me of Jurassic Park, they are obviously two very different brands of film, however there are some subtle similarities like:
- The way Jurassic Park made dinosaurs cool, this film made tornadoes cool
- Has that 90’s kind of look and feel
- Is the kind of film that could only work in the 90’s (as I don’t think it would be effective today, take Into The Storm for example)
- There are those small signs before danger approaches, in this film you have wind chimes and TV’s losing their signals before Tornadoes hit. In Jurassic Park you had large sounds, shaking water and small tremors that gave you an indication that a Tyrannosaurus Rex was coming
When it comes to the cast they’re pretty good and this film is notable for my introduction to actress Helen Hunt and actors Bill Paxton and Philip Seymour Hoffman, a fact I never realised until now haha. Firstly there’s Helen Hunt who is as Dr. Jo Harding, I think Hunt was great, she’s this obsessed meteorologist with issues from her past conflicting with her current line of work and of course when Bill comes into play, that changes things too. Then there’s Bill Paxton who does a great job as Bill Harding, Bill is a weather reporter and former storm chaser, he’s trying to move on with his girlfriend but as fate would have it, things don’t go his way and he ends up finding his way back to Jo because of the tornadoes. Paxton and Hunt have good chemistry together and you can tell that they have ‘will they or won’t they’ attitude about them even if you know how it will play out. And then there’s Jami Gertz as Dr. Melissa Reeves, gosh, I don’t know how I forgot about how dull, petty and annoying this character was. I guess you’re meant to feel for her because she’s Bill’s fiancée and gets thrown into Bill’s old line of work which totally catches her off-guard and with Jo she clearly feels threatened. Gertz does her best with her material, however she wasn’t that engaging to watch really.
Cary Elwes is good as Dr. Jonas Miller, Elwes the role of bad guy as he and his group of rival storm chasers go out and try to outdo who Bill’s group through corporate sponsorship and using their own version of ‘Dorothy’ (the idea for which he stole from Bill). Philip Seymour Hoffman is great as Dustin ‘Dusty’ Davis, he’s this hyperactive member of the storm chaser group and the most notable other character in the film. The guy’s carefree, humourous and totally charismatic, its one of Hoffman’s stranger roles but I love his energy and his character really reminds me of myself haha. And then there’s everyone else, they’re all secondary characters and while their performances are good, since they’re not as developed as the main cast you can’t really get attached, that being said, you do get a sense that Bill and Jo’s storm chaser group are a tight collective of people, a family unit who care about each other and are after the same goal.
As for the presentation, its pretty good. Visually the film is good, while the CGI may have aged quite a bit, for a product of the 90’s it looks pretty good and does the job when it comes to the tornadoes and destruction. As for the action I believe that they are still awesome as there are moments of genuine danger, thrills and memorable sequences which are both cool, absurd and lacking in realism especially that great moment when Bill and Jo drive through the house that got dropped on the road. And then there’s the soundtrack by Mark Mancina and Eddie Van Halen, while it does come across as a bit over-the-top and cheesy with the choir-like vocals, at the same time it feels pretty epic. In addition to that there’s all those cool songs included in the film, most dominantly of course is “Human Beings” by Van Halen, a song I’ve always remembered since childhood and still like the sound of.
In conclusion Twister, after all these years is still a good time. It is nothing overly amazing, but for a disaster film of the 90’s with all its cheese elements it still holds up rather well. The action set pieces are still pretty impressive, the cast led by Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton are fun and the music is kick ass. Maybe I’m a bit biased because of the nostalgia factor, but I reckon that if you haven’t seen this film then check it out, it’s silly but fun.
So have you seen Twister and if so what do you think of it? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see you on the next review yo! 😀