Movie Reviews

Published on August 8th, 2014 | by gareth


Into The Storm

It has been 20 years since “Twister” thrilled audiences by using state of
the art effects to simulate one of the most destructive forces on earth.
In the new film “Into the Storm:, Warner Bros has once again dipped into
the formula that made “Twister” so successful, combing the best FX on the
planet with high-end sound and human drama.

The film follows a documentary film crew low on cash and in desperate need
to find a storm so that funding can continue. At the same time, a student
is recording a video diary for his high school and dealing with his
estranged father who happens to be the assistant principal.

The family has severe tension over the death of their mother and see the
father as caring more about his working and position than the needs of his

The characters are not broadly written or well developed as essentially
they exist to serve as props for the very impressive scenes of destruction
when the massive tornadoes strike.

There are some very effective moments of tension when people and vehicles
are thrown around and as buildings are destroyed by the full force of
nature’s fury.

While many aspects of the film fail to stand out, the visual power of the
film is attention grabbing and does allow you to overlook the thin plot
and characters.

We were fortunate to screen the film with the latest Atmos Dolby sound
systems, which really enhanced the experience of what it is like to be the
a storm without risk to life and property.

For the visuals alone, I would say the film is worth seeing as long as you
temper your expectations accordingly.

3 stars out of 5

by Ian M. Woodington

There is an inspired piece of dialogue towards the end of one of Pixar’s very best, Ratatouille. The character voiced by the late, great Peter O’Toole reflects on what it is to be a critic stating that, “We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read” This is true. But there are a couple of films that come out every year that just take all the sport out of writing negative criticism. Into the Storm is precisely one of those films.

All the stereotypes and clichés are accounted for as the lives of three groups of people are forced together during a series of violent storms in the fictional town of Silverton, Oklahoma. We have a vice-principal with no time for his sons. The oldest being a shy, sensitive introvert and the younger, an arrogant jock. Racing across the country in a supposedly tornado-proof tank (based, I assume, on Sean Casey’s Tornado Intercept Vehicle, but looking more like something stolen from the Wayne Enterprises basement), we have an obsessed documentary filmmaker desperately short on cash and looking to score that big break. Accompanying him is a nervous cameraman and a strong, single mother neglecting her young daughter to pursue her passion. Then, just in case those weren’t enough, we have the two drunken, small-town boys seeking not only to win over your hearts with their ham-fisted comic relief, but fortune and glory in the form of hits on YouTube. If the idea of trying to out-run a barrage of tornados with this dull group hasn’t bored you yet, you’ve done better than me.

Though just another entry in the tired, mediocrity-beset genre of first-person, found footage films, I will admit Into the Storm almost had me suspending disbelief during a set piece or two, and then the actors started speaking again. I held out hope that either Richard Armitage (The Hobbit trilogy) or Matt Walsh (the fantastic, scene-stealing doctor from The Hangover) could make me feel even a little empathy, but I don’t know that there is an actor working today could have salvaged anything in this script. Not a good sign when an audience bursts into fits of laughter at what is supposed to be an intensely dramatic moment with two characters arguing about whose fault it is that another character has died.

And laugh they did, through almost the entirety of the last twenty minutes, proving what a failed attempt this was at creating the Twister for the YouTube generation. Following the end of the screening, I realized what an insulting analogy that was to Twister, which in retrospect doesn’t seem that bad of a film now. At least it had likable characters, some semblance of a watchable plot and Bill Paxton.

Despite his lack of experience at the helm, director Steven Quale, when you consider that he has been working with James Cameron since The Abyss, really ought to have known better than to take this job. I can understand the appeal of wanting to take on the technical challenge of trying to insert the spontaneity of a found footage movie into the world of something that has to be as carefully choreographed as a CGI-heavy disaster film, but all the special effects wizardry in the world won’t distract from an appallingly bad script, riddled with ridiculous logic and numerous moments stolen from better movies, and a D-list cast trying their best.

Now that I have given you enough cynicism to last all week, I’ll finish with an argument that I am constantly in when it comes to the quality of a film. It usually consists of someone defending a terrible movie with some version of a statement that I have begun to loathe, “Not every film needs to win an Oscar”. True enough, but here are a couple of questions for you: Is that somehow supposed to negate the fact that said film seems to be deliberately poorly made? Are you willing to trade quality storytelling, acting and direction for a vast quantity of CGI that so many bad filmmakers lean on like a crutch? Are any films made with the intention of sweeping the Razzie awards?

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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