“It’s Coming!” a famous cry that brought in the age of storm movies. Twister set the precipice long ago for giving us chills and thrills as humans go up against the forces of nature. Over the years, audience members have watched beautiful faces defy the limitless threats that our own ecosystem can throw in the forms of tornadoes, hurricanes, eruptions, quakes, and more. These films have actually been pretty good, often balanced between high budget bouts of destruction and engaging stories surrounding them. However, as technology improves plot seems to falter and trade engaging stories for their artificially created bouts of destruction. So this weekend, another movie has released entitled Into the Storm, in hopes of continuing the genre of non-terrorist destruction. What does it hold in store? Read on to find out.
Let us start with the strengths of the movie. Perhaps the biggest feature of this movie is the creation of the unrelenting storm. The design team did their homework on this one, as the creation of the artificial windstorms was executed quite well. Simple clouds are white and innocent, until the pressures change and the clouds darken. The mood is captured in the approaching storm, the cheerful town slowing being engulfed in shadows as the storm comes. Yet the build up isn’t what you go for, but more so the environmental threats that await. Well have no fear; Into the Storm is filled with tornadoes that will satisfy your storm craving for the next year. While some of the qualities are obviously crafted, the team does a good job showing how the storm develops. The formation of the funnels as they touch down is impressive, editing in the overused giant fans to blow with impressive graphic displays. Once down, the twister’s path is beautifully crafted for those in love with destruction, with trees, buildings, and other urban components raining across the screen. Amidst these CGI visuals, is an impressive audio to help bring out the terror of the storm. Howling moans amidst crashing metal fills the theater, somehow not drowning out the screams and comments of our fearless group. The end product of the editing is the incredible creation of an epic storm. One thing that is still up in the air for me is whether I liked the camera work or not. From first person perspective, we get to see all sorts of carnage and destruction, most of the movie captured by some camera source present in the scene (i.e. in the hands of a human, a security camera, etc.) Ironically it’s more stable than other works, and I didn’t mind it other than the cheesy convenience of the cameras.
Aside from the storms though what else does this movie offer? The characters are relatable, with each on having some issue or quality to latch on to. Thrill seeking idiots, uptight storm chasers, and caring families are all represented in this movie, each with a background that is of old hat. Despite the stale characters though I did enjoy the chemistry of the group, and the little band they formed on their quest. Of the characters, I enjoyed Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) the most. She was very calm, and used her smarts to help the group survive. Helping to support the brains was Gary (Richard Armitage), who although dry had a lot of loyal qualities that I admired and rooted for. Helping to relieve some of the dramatic tension was Trey (Nathan Kress) who was the comedy aspect of the movie. The former Icarly star has simplistic lines that are delivered at just the right moments to get the most laughs, though without crossing the barrier into annoyance. There were other characters in the film, but they didn’t stand out to me, with the exception one, and were merely tools to keep the suspense and thrills coming.
This brings me to my next point: the story. Unfortunately Into the Storm is a very simplistic tale, a mere mixing of plot elements from Twister, The Edge of Tomorrow, and surprisingly 127 hours. What starts out as a typical day, turns into a linear journey from one point to the next in attempt to accomplish some goal. No surprise, most will be able to determine what will happen next, either through the lack of diversity or from the obvious camera angles. The fact that some of the characters are prime bait for a ridiculous, albeit disturbing, death takes away from the suspense. Some of the characters then just disperse, a lazy write off if you ask me. And unlike its predecessors, Into the Storm doesn’t have as much edge of your seat moments as you might like. Once or twice I felt the thrills, but they still paled in comparison to some of the disaster scenes I’ve seen in the past. Throw in some rather simple dialog, and actually some emotionally stunted moments and you again get a rather plain and simple movie.
Into the Storm has amazing storm craftsmanship, but aside from a few other little qualities there isn’t much sustenance to the film. Simple story, rather stupid stunts, and a lack of suspense make it difficult to recommend for a trip to the theater. However, if you are looking for a storm flick, this one is decent to stop on by, but I recommend waiting on this one for home viewing. My ratings for this movie are:
Movie Overall: 5.0