Skip to main content

Mr. Brown Goes Into the Storm

Say, you liked disaster flicks like Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, The Perfect Storm and 2012; and you flocked to watch found footage/POV features like The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and the Paranormal Activity series, so here you go, America - a natural disaster flick with shaky camera work! It's a sure-fire hit; just step back and watch the money roll in!

Maybe I'm being too harsh. I'm sure this wasn't how first time screenwriter John Swetnam and producer Todd Garner pitched the film when the script was given the green light to start production. But I really do wonder if the people inside of the pitch meeting at Warner Brothers had a moment of pause and thought, 'Isn't this just a remake of "Twister" but with found footage slapped on?' Then again, this is the same town that thought Movie 43 and Catwoman had decent scripts to go into production, so I guess this shouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

Please don't have sharks in that forthcoming tornado, please don't have sharks in that forthcoming tornado...
I will say this about Into the Storm: the visual effects are quite good. The film's best scene comes from two high-powered tornadoes that combine to form one super-powered twister that tears through a high school and lays to waste an airport and picks up commercial planes like they were 5 lb dumbbells. It's a really impressive action sequence, as are most of the other sequences in the film, especially since the film's budget was reportedly $50 million. You can see where most of the money went. Too bad they couldn't have spent more on re-working a script that's cliched and implausible.

Storm chaser Pete (Matt Walsh of HBO's Veep) and meteorologist Allison (The Walking Dead's Sarah Wayne Callies) are chasing tornadoes across the Midwest, where they hear of a huge storm that's about to hit the town of Silverton. In said town, the Vice-Principal of Silverton High School, Gary Morris (played by Richard Armintage) is juggling both the graduating class ceremony and his two distant teenage sons, Trey (Nathan Kress of iCarly fame) and Jacob (Jeremy Sumpter). And rounding out the cast are two stereotypical rednecks (Kyle Davis and Jon Reep) who are trying to become Internet celebrities, but come off as lame Jackass rejects that even Johnny Knoxville wouldn't want to have around. When the storm hits, our heroes fight to stay alive as it becomes more unpredictable and deadly by the second. Sounds like a fun, thrilling setup, right?

Wrong. As I said before, the spectacle is undeniably impressive, but the characterization in Into the Storm is so bland that calling the characters one-dimensional isn't doing it justice, and the decisions made by most of them range from stupid to extremely implausible. Pete is so consumed by his goal of chasing this one big storm system that he comes off as unpleasant to work with and gets his crew-members in mortal peril because he wants up-close footage of the twisters he and his team are chasing; the Gary/Trey/Jacob arc is the classic 'rebuilding the family unit' we've seen in countless blockbusters; and the two rednecks are so aggravating that you end up cheering for the tornadoes to suck up the dust bunnies the film calls comic relief within 2 minutes of meeting them. Even the direction by Steven Quale (Final Destination 5) is haphazard. The look and feel of the film constantly switches back and forth from the found footage/POV look, to the traditional third-person one, all the way to the third act, where the found footage is almost abandoned entirely. Look: keep the flow of the narration consistent, because all it did was take me out of the story and made me guess which scenes used the found-footage format and when it was abandoned.

Into the Storm borrows from other better weather disaster flicks, but it doesn't have the interesting story and characters of Jan De Bont's Twister, and little of the self-awareness of Roland Emmerich's The Day After Tomorrow. Sure, it has great visuals and well-placed action scenes, but that's all that it has going for it. The story isn't developed, the characters are too one-dimensional and make stupid decisions that put themselves in danger, and the direction is some of the clunkiest I've seen all year. Even if you're deciding what to watch because Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are sold out, you'd be better off watching Lucy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or Hercules than spending almost 90 minutes watching this clunky thriller.

* 1/2 stars out of ****


Popular posts from this blog

Lost in Translation

I think it's fair to assume that a lot of us were very skeptical upon hearing that Masmure Shinrow's cyberpunk manga Ghost in the Shell was being updated for mainstream audiences, in the form of a live-action film. We've seen how this business has handled manga/Anime properties in the past, and the track record, outside of the Wachowskis' Speed Racer, has been dismal, to say the least. When it was revealed that Scarlett Johansson was chosen to play Major Motoko Kusanagi, the Internet went ablaze, the cries that studio suits were whitewashing a beloved Anime character, as well as petitions making the rounds to remove the actress from the role in favor of an Asian actress to carry the role. When the first trailer dropped in mid-November of last year, I think most of us were blown away with just how, on a surface level, it looked like the live-action version might do the original source material justice.

Then, the actual film was released.

It's hard to talk about the …

Spare Me

Sometimes you find something so incredibly stupid and so utterly irresponsible on social media that you have to address it. Last weekend was the Peoples' Summit in Chicago, where a coalition of Sanders supporters and left-wing activists flocked to a three-day event to discuss about where the movement, which started back in 2016 behind then-candidate Bernie Sanders, would and should go in the Trump era, including whether the Democratic Party can be (or should be) saved, or if the time has come to abandon the party and start a new People's party instead. Enter The Young Turks correspondent Nomiki Konst and her thoughts on why the Democratic establishment should accept and embrace independents who don't lean either with the R's or D's in primary battles.
"No open primaries for Democratic Party equals voter suppression and racism with young independent voters" @NomikiKonst#PPLSummit — Holly Mosher (@FilmsForChange) June 10, 2017
*Rolls eyes HARD for several m…

Transformers: The One Good Movie

A bit of backstory here: I was at a bar last Saturday night, chatting with fellow film fan Mason Daniel via social media when an ad for Michael Bay's latest Transformers flick, The Last Knight, appeared on television, in which I had said that I would talk about each of the last four films before I (eventually) pay to see the fifth installment of the franchise. Also, I need to get back into writing and reviewing movies, because given everything that's happened in the world, and everything that has yet come to pass, I could use the distraction and escape. What better way to do that than to revisit the site's original whipping boy (before Jimmy Dore took the crown recently) and his soul-crushing franchise of noise and destruction?

Oh, Michael Bay. You and I have had a long, contentious relationship - most of it (extremely) negative. However, I do think his talent, purely from a visual aspect, is to be commended: every last one of his films has a slick Hollywood feel and shine…