I’m a storm junkie. A certified weather spotter. I love storms. So it comes as no surprise that I was standing in line with my daughter (also a storm junkie) to view “Into The Storm” on Saturday afternoon.
The latest of the “tornado” disaster movies opened this week and it was one of the five or so films I chose to see this summer. I wasn’t disappointed.
Okay, it wasn’t the stuff academy awards winners are made of, but when you’ve got stunning shots of the biggest tornado ever — 300 mph winds — who cares? I wasn’t there for the dialogue.
The setting is Silverton, an all American town destined for destruction.
The story follows die hard storm chasers with a very cool armored storm chasing vehicle called ——- and the threat of unemployment hanging over them for not actually being on the scene, Johnnie-on-the-spot filming as it happens. Until today.
Set against a high school graduation (outdoor graduation, of course) with the token single dad, his sons and the prerequisite redneck beer drinking idiots, some of the writing is on the wall, though an early scene with its drunken attempt to jump a four wheeler over a gasoline-slick burning swimming pool had me all but falling of my chair laughing. I have a relative or two who might try that. Really. With the same result.
The storm chasers uses an armored vehicle called “Titus” that has custom struts that can jut out and drive anchors deep into the ground to withstand winds of 170 mph. Remember, though, that Titus is about to meet a 300 mph monster.
Told in a gentler form of cinema verite, the film has a down to earth feel despite tee parental heroics. And then there are the tornadoes… big, biggest, multiples and, as my daughter would say, “ginormous.”
Everything in the film leads up to that moment and the payoff is huge. Director Steven Quale takes writer John Swetnam script and, with appropriate breaks for comic relief, transforms it into the best twister movie since, well, “Twister.” At times, you’ll find yourself hanging onto your seat as go along for the ride.
There’s no doubt that the star of the film is that final journey through the eye of the tornado and back.
And there’s no doubt that this is a terrific “popcorn at the drive-in movie” film for summer viewing.