Reviewed by Nathan Johnston
Rating: 7.5 Beans
have no doubt - absolutely none whatsoever - that there exists, locked away in a vault somewhere a pre-defined template for disaster movies. This template is dusted off and taught to film makers all around the world when needed. This template simply states that: Everything that can go wrong MUST go wrong, no exceptions... or its your arse boy-o. Don't get me wrong though, these are disaster movies we are talking about and this is always expected. But part of me always finds the situations that arise so hilarious that it cannot be described by any language known to man.
For example, take "Dante's Peak", an obvious play on the 14th century Italian who wrote vividly about the firey depths of Hell - used so disturbingly in the excellent "Se7en". The movie itself should have been engulfed and destroyed in the pyroclastic cloud that destroys everything else in the movie.... hey this is a *disaster* movie, you knew the volcano was going to erupt. It has to... its in the goddamned template fercryinoutloud!!!!!
Back to the point, which the movie has very few of may I add. Lets note the supporting evidence of my theory here. First of all we have the volcano erupting... pretty stock standard, ordinary, boring everyday stuff. Therefore this can't be all that can go wrong can it? It should be, but for Hollywood, of course it isn't. As a solution to this grave problem, add the human stupidity factor and we now have a steady stream of disasters to add to the fray.
I for one don't think that I ever want to have kids at the moment lest they decide to drive up the side of a volcano after its just erupted. The reason? Well because - to show that stupidity runs in the family - grandma ain't leaving her house (which she built on the side of the volcano) for no-one. Not even for her own family, or when the ground she lives on has just started shaking like a 8.0 richter scale earthquake and there is copious amount of ash falling all around her. Hands up who would have left the crone after there to be crispified after not heeding your repeated warnings?
But that's not all! This allows for even more crazy hijinx that would have even the most inexperienced of volcanologist choking on their dinner. We have our intrepid dunces (including Pierce Brosnan & Linda Hamilton) running from lava that is less then 10 feet away from them and that is hot enough to fry them to a crisp at twice that distance. We then have our group motoring across a lake in a boat only to find the lake has turned into sulfuric acid due to the volcanic activity and is eating through the metal and the outboard motor. Its interesting to see that sulphuric acid can eat through a propellor blade and the metal hull of a boat, but not the fabric of a jacket that is being used as a paddle. Finally our group of courageous clods drives across a half-cooled bed of lava in a pickup truck, somehow without the tires completely melting, or for that matter the car itself. This is even without the gas tank not exploding due to the heat.
The stupidity in this movie is not limited to our intrepid band of main idiots though, making us wonder if there is anything else beside floride that has been added to the town's water supply. We have people trying do drive across a river in family sedans and people flying helcopters with ash falling all around them and into the helo engine. Then there are Brosnan's co-workers. I almost had a heart attack when I saw their abseiling safety precautions or lack thereof. Also, when on of their group doesn't survive, they console themselves by saying "At least he got to see the show"... yeah I'm sure that's the way he wanted it to be as well.
If anyone said that line to me about this flick, they'd be going down for the count. That all aside, I think that the classes in "Disaster Movies 101" need a revamp.
Other reviews for this movie:
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