It’s time for a fairly old film. Twister may have come out in the late 90s, but for some reason it always feels a whole lot older than that. I dunno, maybe it’s just me but since it’s so iconic it just feels like it has to be ancient. Well, I’ve seen this film twice and it’s fairly solid. Some parts of the story are a bit iffy involving good ole Bill, but chasing the Twister is always fun. If only the characters realized how outmatched they were.
Bill used to be a storm chaser. He’d find a Twister and drive after it to collect more data. His team had even started to create a machine to stop it, but then Bill had enough of this life. He tried to get a divorce from his wife Jo and went off to find a new lady. Well, he found her so now he’s back to make the divorce official. Unfortunately, Jo seems reluctant to do so and convinces him to go on “One Last Ride” to stop a current Twister and prove that their invention will revolutionize early warning systems as we know it. Bill is skeptical, but once his old rival Jonas pops up, he realizes that he has to finish this.
Here’s my problem with Bill, it’s hard to sympathize with him at all. We never really get much reason for why he split up with Jo. They definitely seem to have some disagreements, but nothing major. It also comes across as rather fake because he found someone else so quickly. He got together with her and even planned to get married before the divorce was finalized. It was all very rush rush on his part and I just can’t like a main character like that. As you’d expect, he also ends up going back to Jo by the end of the film. He was dumped first, but he sure made it easy on his new fiance since he jumped back into the fold so easily. At least one good thing about Bill is how he’s always ready to jump into a fight. When he notices that Jonas has stolen his invention, Bill quickly steps in. After all, now it’s personal! It was nice to see that side of him, but it’s not enough to make this ex professional a good character.
Jo is a decent heroine I suppose. I’d probably take a while to fill out the divorce papers too just to mess with everyone. She takes everything in stride and pretends to be oblivious to what everyone else is thinking. Jo can come across as a little selfish at times and the whole 3 way romance plot is still tricky for all of the characters involved. At least Jo is more down to Earth though and prepared to go anywhere to stop the Tornado. Unlike Bill who quit, she stuck with the project the whole time so that definitely deserves some credit.
Meanwhile, we have good ole Jonas. I actually liked this guy. Sure, he stole the idea to give himself some credit and is not heroic by any stretch of the imagination. That’s what makes him such a good antagonist. He’s not trying to destroy the world or anything, he just wants to spite his old pal Bill and get rich. At least he’ll be stopping tornadoes along the way. Unfortunately, he does underestimate the tornadoes at the end and proves the heroes right when they thought that he just didn’t have the right knack for the job. The guy was good at working the crowd, but that simply wasn’t enough. I did miss having him around though as he had most of the good banter.
There were a few other supporting cast that hung around during the film. After all, Jo had a whole crew with her. Unfortunately, these guys weren’t great. There was one guy who whined a lot and really liked cookies, but I can’t say I was crazy about his gimmick. He wasn’t very smart and that was basically his whole character arc. The rest of the staff are all right, but they don’t actually do anything. Bill’s new fiance is all right as well. She’s pretty reasonable considering what she has to put up with during the film. The movie does make her exaggerated at one point though as she doesn’t want to eat with everyone at the table. It wasn’t even dirty and the staff weren’t eating like pigs. She just didn’t like that everyone was passing the food around like in those movies where the table is too big. Honestly, I thought everyone was doing well all things considered so that was clearly just to make us want Bill to change his mind. It felt out of character for her. She probably made the right move in breaking things off at the end though. Nobody wants to play second fiddle and it’s clear that Bill had been starting to waver.
I also have to give the film some props for not self destructing in the opening minutes. In Jo’s origin story, her dog nearly doesn’t make it to the shelter in time because her father was getting ready to close the hatch. Fortunately, the dog did make it though and then the father was taken away in the tornado. That’s an ending that I can live with and if the dog had died this review would be very different. The mother has a tough time overall though as she gets a pretty rough turnaround in the present as well. Still, animal violence would have been a huge no no.
The effects for the Tornado look pretty good as well. A giant black tower of destruction is exactly what you would expect from one. The driving around the country side could have been boring, but the writing/script were solid enough to keep the pace up. I was entertained at the very least and I have to give Jonas some credit for this again. He certainly kept the stakes high since he meant that the heroes would have to keep going fast. They’re also lucky that Bill did stick around since his 6th sense saved them quite a few times. They would have been in the wrong direction otherwise.
Overall, Twister is a good film. The characters aren’t really a strong suit though. They are reasonably charismatic I guess, but when you actually think about the characters they get a little tricky. I did like the rival though and the banter between the characters is good. At its core, the light tone and bond between the characters is what makes it fun. As much as Bill keeps claiming that he isn’t here to stay, the members of the group don’t believe him for an instant. It’s fun to just see them all having fun and referencing the good ole times even if we don’t actually get to see them. Don’t get the wrong idea though, I’m not proposing a prequel film. A “Twister” film without the twister could be dangerous. The writing is pretty solid and the Twister scenes are pretty fun. If you haven’t watched the film yet, you should since it is one of the original Disaster films. There aren’t too many destruction scenes so prepare for a lot of down time where the characters eat and have fun, but those scenes are handled pretty well. I could definitely see a remake of this doing well since the core plot is interesting as it is. They’ll just have to make a few adjustments since modern times have changed the situation a bit.