I did not have high hopes for this movie. I had seen one of the early previews and it looked like all of the other disaster movies out there. The tornadoes were as dramatic and unrealistic as possible to grab the attention of all viewers (that’s how you make money, after all). But I’m a weather nerd above all and there hasn’t been a major movie focusing on tornadoes since Twister, so I was still excited to see it. When invited to a private screening on July 10th (nearly a month before the movie is released!) as part of Texas Storm Chasers, I eagerly accepted!
The first thing I’d like to point out is that if you’re suffering from any tornado-related PTSD, this movie may affect you. I imagine this movie won’t go over extremely well in places like Moore, especially with the scene involving a tornado hitting a school.
The movie grabbed me with the opening scene. A bit of it is shown in the trailer here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=333187290180892 . I’ve had a close call with a night-time tornado back when I was new at chasing and had no idea what I was doing (now I at least have a vague idea). Many chasers have also been having close calls lately and one team was killed last year. The car scene was pretty realistic and sent chills up my spine.
I had intentionally avoided watching most of the trailers because I wanted to keep a majority of the movie a surprise. I also didn’t want any scenes in the trailers to discourage me from seeing the movie (i.e. “wow, this looks terrible, I’ll just wait until it’s out on DVD”). Therefore, when I walked into the theater, I was under the impression that this would be a “Twister 2.0″, focusing on storm chasers on the chase of their lives. However, while there are storm chasers in the movie, it mostly focuses on a town and its residents going through a series of tornadoes from multiple supercells. A large part of the movie is filmed as though through the video cameras of the characters, which helps put you in their place instead of watching from afar.
The storm chasers: As you have probably seen, there is a TIV and a Sean Casey-type character in the movie. He’s had a run of bad luck for the season (oh hi, 2014) and just wants that perfect shot for his tornado film. He’s running his small team ragged in search of the perfect tornado for that shot. Or maybe just a tornado in general.
The yahoos: There are a couple of rednecks in the movie who are trying to make it big on YouTube with crazy stunts and tornado videos. They provide a vast majority of the comedy relief in the movie, but also aren’t very far from the truth in regards to the yahoos out there “chasing” today.
The plot: The general plot of the movie is probably about what you’d expect. A town is ravaged by multiple tornadoes, each worse than the last, and the residents struggle to survive all that the tornadoes throw (literally and figuratively) at them. The chasers become the chased. Quite a bit of the movie is very predictable. But there are a lot of parts that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It does get a bit slow and repetitive at times, but overall, the movie keeps your eyes glued to the screen waiting to see what happens next.
The tornadoes: Surprisingly, the tornadoes were fairly realistic. To someone that has never seen a tornado, they would look very real. Of course, there are still aspects of the tornadoes that were exaggerated for Hollywood, but what can you do? No average person watching the movie would know. Also, they rotate the right way!
The science: This was something I liked in this movie more than in Twister. They actually talked some of the science. Not much, of course, because then you lose the average viewer, but there was still a bit more science in this movie than there was in Twister. At least, that’s how it seemed to me.
The soundtrack: Most people don’t actually care about music, but to those who do: the music was awesome. It fits well with the activity in the movie. I bought the soundtrack when it was released earlier this week.
Similarities to Twister: A lot of people have asked me about this. Yes, there are some very glaring similarities between Into The Storm and Twister. I don’t want to give away anything more than that. You’ll know them when you see them. One thing I will say: yes, there is a flying cow, but you have to look carefully to see it. I’m not sure if anyone else even noticed it, being too busy watching the actual tornado.
Another question people have asked is how the movie compares to Twister. Honestly, I don’t feel I can give an accurate comparison between the two because the main thing that is similar between the two movies is the fact that there are tornadoes. If you’re looking for a happy movie about storm chasers having fun in the name of science, watch Twister. If you want to watch a movie about a town being ravaged by a bunch of tornadoes, watch Into The Storm. In regards to how realistic the tornadoes look, though, I’d probably have to give that point to Twister.
Is this going to create an “Into The Storm generation” of chasers? I don’t believe it will. Twister portrayed storm chasing as a hobby where you go out, hang around with friends, and get tornadoes every time. It glorified storm chasing. Into The Storm portrayed tornadoes as a kind of creature that you shouldn’t chase unless you know what you’re doing. You don’t win every time, and even the experienced chasers can get hurt or killed, much less a bunch of wannabes.
I believe most of the people reading this review are storm chasers or weather nerds who are wondering what they might be getting themselves into when they walk into the theater. I’ve seen a lot of people who are already proclaiming that this movie looks “as fake as can be” and demanding that Hollywood “stop trying to make disaster films”. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s not nearly as terrible as the previews supposedly make it look (I still haven’t seen most of them), and I’ll definitely be seeing it again as soon as it comes out!
Meanwhile here is one of the trailers for the movie Into The Storm!