Into the Storm Blu-ray Review
Looking at the cover and seeing a massive CGI tornado told me one thing right off the bat, it was a movie that I would need to turn my brain off for. Or maybe I shouldn’t. TWISTER and the POSEIDON ADVENTURE have proved that when done right, the spectacle of mass destruction and terror can be accompanied by some reasonable writing. But still, don’t go in with your brain operating at 100%. INTO THE STORM sacrifices spectacle for shoddy handheld camera work, and writing for one note characters moving across the screen, apparently soulless and babbling clichés.
If anything, INTO THE STORM feels like the unwanted stepchild of TWISTER. There’s the group of scientists/storm chasers hoping to find a tornado and test out their new groundbreaking toy, a tornado vehicle called “Titus”. On one day in particular, they’re lucky enough to come across wave after wave of storms hitting the small town of Silverton. Although I’m not sure how small of a town it is when it has an airport with multiple 747’s waiting on the tarmac.
In Silverton, the area high school is creating a time capsule and preparing for graduation; and I might add a graduation class that fluctuates from a couple dozen to over 100. That’s where we meet single dad, Gary (Armitage). He’s trying to raise two trouble making boys, who to no surprise to the audience, become entangled in different peril filled situations created by the onslaught of Mother Nature’s wrath. I could do a cut and paste job with this simplistic plot outline and TWISTER. I could swap out Titus with Dorothy, replace Armitage with Bill Paxton…you get the point.
The movie tries to distinguish itself by presenting half of the movie as handheld camera footage. It doesn’t add any depth and doesn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense in terms of the plot. This is a movie that could easily be told without the gimmick. It’s not like the twisters were so devastating, that the only thing left is this footage and we’re now seeing the aftermath. Although towards the end the movie seems confused on whether or not it’s presenting the fictional facts as a documentary or bad TV special. It simply adds nothing to the movie and feels like a half-baked idea.
Is there anything redeeming? I guess you could always say the special effects are good, but anything with a budget, and that isn’t airing on SyFy channel on a Saturday night, will generally get enough money to make something silly looking look shiny and pretty. But still, inevitably silly. It’s expected that we’re supposed to suspend disbelief that these are actually tornadoes, but at the same time it’s hard not to notice how bad a tornado looks when a character is standing a couple feet away, acting as if this spiraling creation of death is emitting a light breeze that’s simply caressing their face.
I guess if you have a wicked sense of humor, like me, you’ll find the scene of a crewman being sucked up into a fire tornado incredibly laughable. But that highlights the biggest problem with this movie. This isn’t just some random person who would clearly make a great red shirt on STAR TREK, we have to endure a long bit of “drama” where we learn that the leader of the storm chasers is just hell-bent on getting the best footage possible. I don’t know the guy who just had the coolest death in the movie and I certainly could care less if the leader of the pack isn’t upset about him being consumed by flames. Either play up the slapstick of a disaster or hire better writers to make me care. Of course, 30 minutes in, and well before that scene, I didn’t care at all.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Seems like everyone in this town owns an HD camera. You’ll be able to spot that as one of the minor flaws of this movie with this clear presentation.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) You’ll have no problem hearing this movie at all. Just be careful on your audio settings when a tornado rips through. My neighbor heard every bit of destruction as well.
Into the Storm: Tornado Files (10:48): This is a slight overview of how they attempted to make the CGI tornadoes look realistic as well as the specific tornadoes they have in the movie. It’s fairly informative and as someone who grew up in tornado alley, it had tidbits of info I didn’t know.
Titus: The Ultimate Storm Chasing Vehicle (8:23): Apparently storm chasing vehicles are real. I thought this was some kind of silly movie gimmick, but it’s interesting that they were inspired by real tank-like vehicles.
Fake Storms: Real Conditions (5:37): This is the closest you’ll get to anything dealing with the actors and behind the scenes footage. While obviously we could care less about their acting method, this is a feature all about filming and shooting in the elements.