Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Into the Storm: Movie Review

Into a whirlwind of intense stupidity.

“Let’s get outta here!” There’s a storm coming, so this means every character must scream that sentence every 20 minutes. Audiences should also heed their warning and just run aimlessly wherever you feel like it. The tornadoes (yes, that is plural, not just one tornado) in Into the Storm are far greater than anything ever recorded and not even storm shelters can save you. 2014

Directed by: Steven Quale

Screenplay by: John Swetnam

Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies

The characters that have been assembled include a storm chasing documentary crew, a father with two teenage sons, a school full of kids and teachers, and a group of idiots who film themselves doing stupid things to make idiotic YouTube videos. I wasn’t previously aware that films had a white trash quota to fill, but that’s all the latter are good for. The documentary crew love filming everything hand-held, and the boys’ father has decided they need to make time capsule videos. This means, courtesy of our main characters, that the first 30 minutes is from the point of view of home made videos.

And all these characters are about as interesting as cardboard, but not as smart. Gary (Richard Armitage) is the vice principal at the local high school and he realized he should move graduation day because the incoming storm will interrupt it, and then he must have forgotten. After a tornado took down all the cell towers, two trapped kids realized that they couldn’t make any calls, but then an hour later started freaking out their phones weren’t working. They, too, must have forgotten. Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies), the lead storm scientist, got everything wrong originally, but then got everything right – as if being in the storm can change her ability to read meteorological charts.

The acting was horrendous and more chaotic than the incoming storms. But in my gregarious mode, let’s not blame that on the actors. After all, they got to deliver lines like “Let’s get outta here!” and “There’s no time to explain! We have to leave the storm shelter and head for the buses.” The lead documentary filmmaker was probably meant to be the worst documentary narrator ever recorded, this also includes his desire to not film the upcoming storms and seeing the tornado funnel form and move, but to be in the storm where all you would see is fast moving dirt. It would look a lot like the snowstorm channel that you don’t get, except with mud instead of snow.

It does get slightly better as it goes along – the tornadoes increase in intensity. But, wait, what’s that in the sky? Is it a bird? Nope. Is it a cow? Nope. It’s a plane! Using an object that can already fly through the sky seems to be an odd way to one-up “Twister,” but lifting a commercial jet off the ground is meant to show just how powerful these storms are. There were moments with impressive visuals, but it’s also just to show how far from reality they were willing to go.

I give the film one star for creating the storms and one more star for some moments of family drama, but you should be able to get the latter from any movie set on Earth. And I will leave you with one final warning. It is rude to laugh at people who get sucked up into a tornado, but you might not be able to help yourself when one gets electrocuted by a fire-breathing tornado. Yep, that happened. Into the Storm walks that thick line between bad and stupid.

Similar Titles:

The Impossible (2012) - Forcing us to cry rather than giving us characters to emotionally connect with.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011) - Action heroes versus cowboys and aliens where thinking is not allowed.