Alas! Sunday has come, and it’s time again for Sunday Night Movie Night! For the past week, I’ve been dealing with some weird weather around here, so I thought it only suitable to watch:
(Plus, it’s from a Dutch movie maker, Jan de Bont, and I remember how everyone in my country was soooo proud of this man for making films in America).
Synopsis: Where to start? This movie is a tornado of story lines, but I suppose the main storyline is the one on which a little girl experiences an F5 twister (F5 is the biggest, worst kind of storm) and witnesses it killing off her daddy dear. She then grows up with one goal in life: to hunt down tornadoes and learn how to predict when and where they will appear, so people will have more time to get to safety (and won’t be ripped apart by the evils winds like her daddy was).
Almost two hours of hurricanes have passed by. Thank Heaven it’s over. I’ve taken lots of notes while watching this movie, but bottom line is I have no idea why we, the Dutch Nation, are so proud of mister De Bont. But let me start at the beginning.
There are several story lines all intertwined into one big messy… twister-like general story. There’s Jo, a very devoted storm-chaser and almost ex-wife to Bill. Then there is Jo’s team of people who help her chase the storms and who are all equally strange, some even downright weird, and obsessed with tornadoes.
Of course there’s Bill, not only almost ex-husband of Jo, but also ex-co-boss over Jo’s team of friendly but weird people. Bill’s engaged to Melissa, who is the only normal character in the movie. I swear, she’s the only one that’s got any sense in her (although it does take her a long time to finish things off with Bill, but hey, nobody’s perfect)!
And just when you think that’s about enough as characters go, there’s a whole team of other storm-chasers, being led by a butt-whipe named Jonas. Jonas is like Jo, but richer, more arrogant, and more stupid. This man, and his entire team, are completely redundant in this movie. They don’t add anything to the story, apart from a good laugh here and there and a big “hurray!” when they finally die.
So far for Jo and Bill’s adversaries.
There’s also Jo’s mother, Meg. Meg’s part is also slightly redundant, but she does build great wind-chimes that lead to her daughter’s epiphany to build a tornado-gauge, and then I mean one that actually works.
Back to the other characters. In my honest opinion, Melissa could have been cut out of the story and it wouldn’t have mattered one bit. As Bill’s psychiatrist fiancée, the only thing she adds to the story is a bit of friction between Bill and Jo, and a hint of tension in the air (that originates from something else than a tornado). Having said that, I have to admit I loved Mel! And I felt so bad for her! The only thing she wanted to do was to accompany her Bill on a trip to his almost ex-wife and to retrieve some signed divorce papers. Just so Bill was good to go and marry Melissa. Sounds easy, right?
The next thing Mel knows, she’s in the back of a truck hunting down several twisters (against her will, I might add, but what other choice did she have but to stay behind and see her future husband drive off with his ex-wife?). And she’s not even in the “safe” trucks, aka the ones that stay putt on a safe distance from the tornado, no, Mel is stuck in the truck with Bill and Jo. And they’re both crazy insane and want to get as close to the twisters as possible.
And talk about bad luck when each time they get in real close and things get my-life-could-be-in-danger-scary, Melissa gets a phone call from a desperate patient (she’s a psychiatrist) who refuses to hang up.
Poor, poor woman.
And if that’s not enough, she’s forced to hear Jo rant on about her deceased daddy, after which Bill tells Jo she’s still got him (that’s basically saying: ‘forget about Mel, I still love you!‘).
Needless to say Mel and Bill’s fairytale ended pretty soon after that. Seems like blondes do get the man in the end.
I am far from a tornado-expert, so I don’t know what is right and what is wrong in this movie (twister-wise, that is!). Fact remains I had some questions I hoped to get an answer to, but unfortunately some were left wide-open. Four things I kept asking myself when watching Twister were:
- HOW many tornadoes can appear in one day, and how lucky does a storm chaser have to be to be so close to them when they appear?
- WHY do the twisters keep popping up left and right, do harm to all the storm chasers, and then right after the excitement is over, and I mean RIGHT AFTER it’s done, they disappear mysteriously?
- WHERE did all the little balls go, the ones Jo and Bill created to somehow be sucked into a tornado and that are able to do measurements from within? In the end, they manage to get a load of those things up into an F5, but isn’t it so that when a twister dies down, all the things it kept flying through the air will land somewhere? They can’t just… dissolve into thin air, can they?
- I’ve never experienced a tornado. Luckily, where I live we don’t have them. But I do wonder (very much) if twisters growl the way they do in this film. I mean, I get it now. I understand how Bill the Tornado Whisperer can predict when and where a tornado is going to happen. He doesn’t smell them, like I thought he did. He hears them! I am serious, the things roar and growl as if they’re wild animals rather than a devastating storm. Heck, the animal-like sounds the final F5 tornado makes were ear-deafening.
I’ve also realized two things after the ordeal was over: Jo was right: the tornadoes do chase her around! And when they can’t get to her, they attack her mother. At first I thought Jo was paranoid and a little supercilious (honestly, why would a natural disaster keep following YOU around?), but by the end of the film I had to admit she was right after all.
Second thing… Lord, I have got to get myself a truck like Bill’s! It can survive almost anything! Twisters, heavy rains, hail, branches hitting it, both from the top and the ground, cows hitting it, both from the top and the sides, driving through mud pools and corn fields, heck, even a ride through a house won’t keep it from driving!
My conclusion is that I think this movie is too loaded with unnecessary characters, too many story lines, and too many weirdos, all in desperate need of some mental health guidance.
Too bad they let Melissa go. She could have had a great time trying to fix their brains.
Believe it or not, but I have two, actually. The first one was when Jonas’ van got sucked into the big *ss tornado, only because he didn’t want to listen to Jo and Bill’s warnings to turn his car around. Serves him right.
The other one was the part when Bill and Jo get the tornado to suck up the we-can-measure-the-twister-from-inside-balls and they then realize the tornado is turning and heading their way. Oh dear! (please notice a sarcastic undertone there).
Completely hilarious and ridiculous, of course, because if a storm is so powerful as they kept mentioning this one was, it should have sucked them up, too.
But that wouldn’t have done any good for this movie (or maybe it would have), so instead we witness B & J running for their lives and seeking shelter in a barn. Where all kinds of knives are kept that will most definitely be thrown around by the wind and kill them. Yea, not that smart. I almost wishes Melissa had been there. At least she was smart.
Somehow Bill and Jo seem to realize their predicament in time, too, and they run out of the barn and seek shelter in a teeny tiny shed. There’s a metal bar that, according to Bill, runs about 30 feet deep (the man’s got a great eye). So they take down some leather leashes that are coincidentally hanging around (and apparently are storm-proof), and tie themselves to the bar. Just in time, because the F5 twister that was stalking them soon passes over their heads.
How they manage not to get torn into bits by the howling (sorry: growling) winds is beyond me, but then again I know sh*t about tornadoes so maybe I ought to shut up. Anyway, being tied to the metal bar and thus “safe” from flying away, Jo glances up at her feet (by this time both her and Bill are hanging in the air upside down) and sees the eye of the hurricane:
It would have been a brilliant ending if the bar had proved NOT to be 30 feet long/deep at all, and B & J would have been gulped down by Mister Twister. But oh well. Can’t have it all. At least it was a nice shot.
Unfortunately, B & J survive. The F5 immediately after calls defeat and dissolves instantly, and Bill and Jo rekindle their love. Aww, who would have seen that one coming?
Probably Jo herself, because she’s now a (storm-)clairvoyant.