(out of 5)
Leave it to Hollywood to make a film about natural disasters and still find a way to insert a hammy villain. Awe-inspiring visual and sound effects do more than just make up for the weak dialogue in this extremely fun ride. Bill Paxton plays a tornado chaser turned weatherman who travels to the mid-west with his fiancee (Jami Gertz) in order to get his soon-to-be-ex-wife (Helen Hunt), herself still chasing after twisters in order to study them, to sign the divorce papers and free him for his new marriage. The moment he finds himself back with his old crew he can’t resist but join them for a few more adventures to the land of Oz, so of course we start to suspect that maybe the crumbling marriage isn’t completely over. Michael Crichton contributes to the script, one that is overly abundant with fascinating scientific data regarding this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon, but also one that relegates most of its characters to cardboard stereotypes who never really jump off the screen (with the exception of Gertz). On the other hand, the action sequences are so exciting that you yourself will jump out of your seat from fear (though I daresay the home video experience won’t be quite the same as it was in its theatrical release).
Directed by Jan de Bont
Cinematography by Jack N. Green
Music by Mark Mancina
Production Design by Joseph C. Nemec III
Costume Design by Ellen Mirojnick
Film Editing by Michael Kahn