[Join your host, John Holliday, in the review column "A Movie A Week" as he shares his spoiler-free thoughts on our collection of DVD / Blu-ray titles.]
The 1990's was full of action blockbusters filled with explosions and the "bigger is better" mindset. It worked to some degree and, for those that can turn their brains off for a couple of hours and enjoy dumb fun, it was a pleasant phase. These are the types of movies that you have to be in the mood for but, when you are, nothing else can satisfy the craving like the perfect popcorn movie. This featured movie review may not be the "perfect" popcorn movie but is archetypal of the decade while being original in it's topic and perpetration.
Twister, the indisputable all-time best tornado movie opens in 1969 with a typical Midwestern small-town family receiving reports of a nearby touchdown. The man of the house rushes upstairs to his wife and sleeping daughter and leads them out into the windy night towards their storm shelter. With debris already dangerously flying past them, they barely make it but the weak door between them and the F5 tornado rattles violently. The little girl watches as her dad fights to keep his family alive. The nearly 300 mile per hour winds are just too much for him and he is explosively sucked into the darkness.
Many years later, the little girl, Jo (Helent Hunt), is now grown up and has dedicated her life to researching tornados in order to increase warning times so other families won't have to suffer a loss as she did. Her soon to be ex-husband and tornado chasing ex-partner, Bill (Bill Paxton), comes for the divorce papers at an inconvenient time as tornados are forming nearby. Jo and her team rush off to deploy Bill's lifelong invention, a device that needs to be lifted into the funnel to transmit back data, and he can't resist the opporunity to see it fly for the first time. With his fiancée in tow, Bill joins the old crew "temporarily" as old feelings come creeping back, not only for his love of tornados but also for Jo. With a lifetime of storm-chasing, Bill may eventually get the chance to discharge his machine and Jo will certainly come face to face with only her second F5 tornado. But they know all too well that, in their line of work, the situation can quickly turn deadly.
This Steven Spielberg produced and Michael Crichton penned script was one of the duo's string of hits within just a few years. Other than 'Jurassic Park' the plotlines can't be too highly praised with any seriousness; they're action/adventure and nothing more. Twister was and is a great experience for it's eerie take on the tornado phenomenon that hasn't been done remotely as well in any other movie. Even if you didn't have to resort to straight-to-DVD titles for other takes the subject matter, Twister has a charm and unrelenting pace that would be hard to top. The special effects still hold up better than most modern CGI spectacles and, combined with excellent sound design, can be quite chilling at times.
Since the lack of emotional attachment to the characters is replaced with tornado after tornado, I can't give this one a bad rating. Just don't go into it expecting a life-altering message of perseverance or destiny or whatever you could milk out of the story. It's all about the visuals and the adrenaline which makes it a must-see for teenage boys as well as a high recommendation for everyone else at some point. You don't have to change your weekend plans to see this one but you'd be a fool not to knock it out someday. That's why I give Twister:
What movie would you like to see John review next week? Your suggestions are always welcome at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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