With the advent of computer graphics effects that can display tornadoes
and alien invasions with startling realism, it appears that film makers
have decided to go back and remake all of the old Irwin Allen disaster
movies to take advantage of them. Dante's Peak is the first of this year's
crop of these glorified TV disaster-of-the-week movies.
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton,
and Charles Hallahan
familiar formula's in place for this movie. There's the smart, but
haunted, scientist (Pierce Brosnan) who travels around the world monitoring
volcanoes that appear poised to erupt. (His arrival in town should warn
everyone of impending doom, but, of course, he's got also got a knack
for jumping to conclusions that lulls everyone into the typical false
sense of security.) There's the attractive, but lonely, single mom (Linda
Hamilton), who is the mayor of the town that stands in the shadow of the
looming Dante's Peak. This movie also has the typically cute kids, the
family dog, and a rag-tag team of scientists and college nerds that monitor
the progress of the impending disaster (ala Twister).
The movie begins with Dante's
Peak, the town, being chosen as the "second
best place to live in the United States with a population of 20000 or
less." To me, it sounds like a perfect candidate to get lava and
ash dumped all over it. Of course, the entire town seems stupefied that
the volcano might actually erupt. Science must not apply to the particular
volcano that overlooks their town.
There are few true surprises in the movie, other than some of the more
inventive ways to get the protagonists into trouble and then get them
out again. If anyone really had the luck that this group has, they'd be
better off taking up professional gambling and quit the geology thing
pronto. In fact, the only people that die in this movie are either not
introduced to the audience or they've had some sort of difference of opinion
with either Brosnan or Hamilton's character. Hmmm...
Although none of the performances are out-and-out bad, the actors clearly
take a back seat to the stunt people and special effects crew. Some of
the effects are truly spectacular, but how many different ways can things
blow up? And that's the only thing this movie is good at: blowing things
up. Great special effects are only great when there's a story behind them.
Otherwise, they're just eye candy.
If you're in search of a slam-bang good time at the movies, look elsewhere.
If you want to learn about volcanoes, try an encyclopedia.
Bohen, who wrote the screenplay for Dante's Peak, is also responsible
for the recent Sylvester Stallone debacle, Daylight. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)