Friday, November 13, 2009

Twister (1996) [PG-13] ****

Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) has been obsessed with tornadoes ever since she was a child and saw her father sucked out of the family storm shelter by a deadly twister. Now she leads a rag-tag team of researchers who've developed an instrument pack that can place hundreds of tiny airborne sensors within the tornado's funnel, to report velocity, barometric pressure, etc. The team hopes that the knowledge they gain will help them build a better early warning system, to save more lives.

On the day Jo plans to deploy the pack, her husband Bill (Bill Paxton) shows up with his new fiancĂ©e Melissa (Jami Gertz), expecting Jo to have signed their divorce papers. Melissa is a reproductive (sex) therapist who thinks chasing tornadoes is just a metaphor, and is she in for a surprise! Bill is also in for a surprise as another team led by Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes) has developed a similar instrument pack, and now the race is on to see who can gain first glory by defying danger, placing their instrument pack in the tornado's path and then getting safely out of the way.

This is a great action adventure thriller, and the special effects showing tornadoes and their destructive power are very realistic. There are several scenes inside the National Severe Storms Laboratory and of the various instruments used to track storms. There's great chemistry between Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton as they come to understand how similar they really are, both professionally and personally. The supporting cast is excellent, especially Jami Gertz as an intuitive, emotional therapist who realizes that she can't compete with the adrenalin rush of chasing real tornadoes; Lois Smith as Jo's Aunt Meg, who survives a direct tornado strike on her home; and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dusty, a slightly unhinged member of Jo's team who idolizes Bill, but whose tornado-chasing stories terrify Melissa. Twister was co-written by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), and was directed by Jan de Bont (Speed, Speed 2: Cruise Control). The soundtrack is incredible, including tracks by Van HalenEric Clapton and Deep PurpleTwister will suck you in! 

Labels: action, adventure, disaster, drama, thriller, tragedy
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 68/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=60, viewers=64)

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