Twister (1996)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Still the best.

If there’s one good thing that comes out of a rotting, decaying, abscess of a tooth keeping you up at night – it would be all the time in the world to watch movies. Yes, three in the morning may have most of you wiping your eyes out of tiresome reasons, but not me. I decided I would watch a classic disaster movie – you know, the kind that still seemed unique and innocent instead of super flashy and in-your-face? I’m talking about Twister, the best tornado movie that has ever been and probably ever will be. Move aside, Into the Storm, there’s no way you could ever match the caliber that this film set for itself.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, get familiar with it. It’s about a team of twister trackers that basically have one goal set in mind – to unleash Dorothy – a tornado tracking system that demands the team get as close as humanly possibly to the twister – we’re talking in the eye of the storm – which means danger and life threatening scenarios. If they can get everything set, they’d improve the warning system of just 3 minutes to 15 minutes to get to safety. However, another team of storm trackers are hot in pursuit, and aiming to steal their thunder…so to speak.

A little history lessen for you folks already familiar with storm tracking – Twister introduced us to the mere idea of physically tracking storms. It was happening in the real world, but to the outside world – most people got their information from the meteorologist on the news, no one even thought about these daredevils that risk their lives every day trying to find the biggest, baddest tornadoes in the name of science. Since this film, we’ve come out with various reality shows and movies that touch the same subject, but nothing has ever been so genuine and relatable than Twister, which continues to maintain it’s spot as the best tornado movie out there.

Nowawdays, storm trackers have monster vehicles that clamp themselves to the dirt to protect themselves from the high-velocity winds – but in 1996, you just had trucks. That’s it, a couple of Ford 4×4 trucks and maybe an R.V. and that’s the entire team. When you watch that, you don’t think storm trackers, you think hey that’s Cousin Vinnie and Tommy coming to visit from Texas. You think family, which this movie clearly had a handle on. Half the time you are watching for the thrilling excitement from natural disasters, but that would be nothing without the all-star cast that treat each other like a true family. This movie did family right, and because of that, they also introduced a level of pure vulnerability from the characters that required unending courage to just do their job. It felt real and tangible, and it makes you forget about the flaws.

Is there flaws? Yes there is. Maybe not so much in 1996, but in almost 20 years, the movie has aged some. The tornadoes themselves are constructed by CGI and unfortunately they don’t look the best up close and personal. At least not in full-blown HD. The tones are there, the attitude and reactions are there, even the music is there, but any time you had CGI tornadoes, you could tell. In 1996, it looked miraculously perfect, but modern expectations carry modern disappointment. Fortunately enough, it won’t really matter, because you just love the characters and themes – it pulls you in the story in a way that you can really appreciate and admire.

The Good:

Twister is a film that is overall – a fantastic time at the movies. It holds up remarkably well after almost 20 years, despite a few problems here and there with the graphics. What you truly care about in the movie is the characters and tones – and if you notice, there is no dark, brooding filter needed to keep you on the edge of your seat – just good, unfiltered thrills.

The Bad:

The only real negative aspect I could find with the movie was just the graphics. It’s not a huge deal, like I said, but it is noticeable. I always watched this movie on VHS where it wouldn’t be so bad, but on Blu-Ray, it makes a difference – a difference that you can spot.


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