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Into the Storm
Into the Storm
Director: Steven Quale
Writer: John Swetnam
Cast: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress, Alycia Debnam Carey, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter, Lee Whittaker, Kyle Davis, Jon Reep, Scott Lawrence, David Drumm, Brandon Ruiter, Jimmy Groce
Synopsis: Storm trackers, thrill-seekers, and everyday townspeople document an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes touching down in the town of Silverton.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references
2 / 10
- Great cinematography
- Great visual effects
- Weak script
- Poorly written characters
- Rushed subplots that don't go anywhere
- The film never slows down in between tornadoes to allow audiences to take in what transpired, while also using it as an opportunity to get to know the characters.
- Useless supporting characters like youtube vloggers that add nothing to the story
- Feels extremely rushed
A disaster of a film on so many levels...
"Into the Storm" is essentially a knock off of the 1996 film, "Twister"; minus all the charm. Granted, "Twister" was NOT a perfect film by stretch of the imagination. In fact, it was corny, cliched, and down right silly with it's array of generic, and sometimes goofy, characters. However, there was a certain charm to it. Even though "Twister" was nothing more than a disaster film trying to capitalize what was popular at the time, the main focus was always on the characters, as it should be in most movies.
Granted, you still saw a lot of tornadoes destroying stuff, but "Twister" still managed to slow down enough to allow audiences to get to know the characters. Sure, "Twister" was a generic disaster film on the surface, but deep down it was actually a love story between two characters that thought they were over each other, but soon find out that might not be the case. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that "Twister" had a perfect love story or anything, as I personally found it a bit too predictable and cliched myself. However, it had a certain charm to it. A certain je ne sais quoi if you will that made "Twister" enjoyable to watch; in spite of it's many flaws.
Sadly, "Into the Storm" has none of that going in it's favor. Even underneath the surface, "Into the Storm" is still just a generic cheap disaster movie trying to make a quick bang for it's buck. The characters are barely fleshed out, and there's hardly any downtime in between these tornadoes to allow audiences to get to know the characters on a personal level. At least with "Twister", it knew how much storm chase scenes to give us, but it also knew when to slow things down to allow audiences to take in what they saw, while allowing them to get to know the characters.
"Into the Storm" doesn't do that. Sure, you have the first twenty minutes of exposition, at the beginning of the movie, that explains who your main characters are going to be. However, once those tornadoes start to come, there's really little to no downtime for audiences to get to know these characters; which makes it hard for an audience to feel emotionally invested in their safety. Granted, you never want them to get hurt because...let's face it...nobody would want to see anyone die from a natural disaster. Unless of course, you're some sort of sick sadist or something, but that's another story....
However, unlike "Twister" and "Titanic", the story never sets it up to where you ever know who these characters are on a personal level, before all the bad stuff starts to happen. Hence, when climax does finally happen, you find yourself not even caring about them if at all.
Unfortunately, this is the biggest problem with "Into the Storm." It's because the film focuses so much on the special effects and disaster aspects of the story that it seems like it forgets to establish the characters, by giving the audience a reason to care about them.
Plus, some of the characters don't even have any business being there, and they serve almost nothing to the story; other than to add moronic stupidity to it. Unlike "Twister" that focused on a small group of storm chasers, "Into the Storm" focuses on various sets of characters. Not a bad idea mind you, but it's executed poorly here.
Some of the characters that it focuses on is a group of storm chasers/documentary filmmakers, whom are trying to capture rare footage inside the eye of a tornado for some documentary they've been working on for awhile. We're never told exactly how long they've been working on this movie, but they're expecting to make a helluva a lot money off of it if they do. The filmmaker leading the group is a greedy son of a b****, who doesn't seem to mind putting his own crew in danger half the time just to get the shots that he wants. However, like most films of this ilk, we find out he may not be such a prick after all. Meanwhile, he also has some meteorologist girl that's often butting heads with him.
And then we get to arguably the heart of the story, a father that's trying to find his son. At the beginning of the film, we're shown a young high school boy that's assigned, by his dad, to record the high school graduation at their school. Apparently, the father works there, but he ends up ditching the task onto his younger sibling because he finds a unique opportunity to get close to the girl of his dreams. Needless to say, this leads the young would be lovers far away from the school, and it causes the father to have to look for them later on. Although the story is set up rather well for great drama, the sad thing is that it's extremely rushed.
Once s*** hits the fan, we're never able to stop and get to know any of the characters in between all these storms, so the drama of a man trying to find his son, during this disaster, not only lacks the emotional punch that one would hope for, but it feels a bit underwhelming to say the least.
And of course, you have the comedy relief characters in this flick. Unlike the goofy characters in "Twister", these men literally serve no purpose in the story whatsoever. Apparently, "Into the Storm" features a bunch of idiots that make a living doing stupid crap, and then uploading it onto youtube. When they see the tornadoes devastating everything, they rush right towards it, so they can film the whole thing, while they're out laughing and drinking beer. Why do they do this considering that most sane people wouldn't? Because they somehow think it's funny. Wow, I guess anything would seem rather funny when you're drunk!
Apart from the special effects, I have to say that "Into the Storm" leaves a lot to be desired. While I won't say this was the worst film that I've seen in 2014 thus far, I will say that it's arguably the most boring to watch. And, a lot of that mainly has to do with the characters themselves. Because the movie never takes any time to properly develop any of these characters, you never feel any kind of genuine connection to be emotionally invested in their safety.
Say what you want about "Twister." It was corny and cliched , but at least you had a good grasp on who the characters were. At least in "Twister", it gave you reasons to care about the characters outside of their obvious safety. Yet with this movie, we're just expected to root for them for no other reason than that's what we're supposed to do.
Overall, I would highly advise against anyone seeing this feature. Granted, the visual effects are great, but the sad thing is the story is so poorly written that it hardly makes it worth checking out in theaters.
But for those of you still aching to see a good disaster movie involving tornadoes, then I would recommend "Twister" instead. Granted, it's not a perfect movie, but it's fairly decent for what it is, and it still holds up to this day; which is more than what I can say about "Into the Storm."
© 2014 Steven Escareno