Reviewed by John Perry
Rating: 8.5 Beans
n the summer of 1996, filmmakers proved that you don't need brains to make a movie earn over $200 million. "Twister", a special effects-filled but undeniably brainless epic redefined those tired disaster flicks of the 1970s, and had moviegoers flocking by the millions to see it. Riding high on its heels came "Dante's Peak", the first of two volcano movies that Hollywood spewed out to cash in on the success of "Twister". Little did they know that both this one and its follow-up flick "Volcano" would bomb at the box office.
Even the presence of two big-time action stars could not save this one. Pierce Brosnan, better known as the new James Bond, plays a scientist who discovers that a volcano is ready to erupt close to a tiny mountain town, run by a pretty mayor (Linda Hamilton, from "Terminator 2: Judgment Day"). Of course, everyone thinks he is crazy, until it is too late.
What follows is one completely unbelievable misadventure after another as our heroes, the mayor's kids, and the family dog (what disaster movie doesn't have one of those?) make it to safety as lava flows everywhere.
The dog is the main reason why "Dante's Peak" is as unbelievable as it is. After rescuing Grandma from her cottage (which is destroyed seconds later by lava), the dog runs away. The characters then cross a lake of acid, a forest of flames, and roadways of pure lava (which they drive through like it's snow). About thirty screen minutes pass, and who do they see standing on a rock, covered in ash and surrounded by lava? The dog. When I saw that scene I turned to my friend and burst out laughing. In a way, though, I'm glad the dog didn't die, because he had ten times more character than any human in "Dante's Peak".
It's movies like this that make us wonder, if producers want to spend millions to make it, why didn't they just contribute some money to the low-budget movie market? Let the ones who know how to make entertainment be in control of Hollywood's money!
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