Intense storm thriller has smoking, language.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Supercell is an action-packed thriller about a teen who's fascinated by dangerous storm systems. Think of it as Twister meets Jurassic Park. Writer-director Herbert James Winterstern intended the film to be one that families can watch together, and while the storms are the excitement, the story is really about balancing the choices we make to follow our own pursuits versus the best decisions for our family. Still, the peril is intense. Main character Will Brody (Damian Diemer) has lost his daredevil father and gets stuck in some wild weather, but the only people who die in the movie are those with expertise who choose to put themselves into harm's way. Will's mom (Anne Heche) smokes constantly, and Will accepts and takes a couple of sips of a beer he's offered as a symbol of congratulations and acceptance. There's teen romance with a kiss and some language ("ass," "s--t," "popped his cherry"). The film promotes curiosity and drops quite a lot of information about the science of thunderstorms, as well as solid info on what to do in a tornado.
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What's the Story?
SUPERCELL opens with the death of Will Brody's father, legendary storm chaser Bill Brody. It then fast-forwards to when Will (Damian Diemer) is 17 and his mother (Anne Heche) has scrapped her career as a weather scientist in an effort to keep Will safe from the pull of following in Bill's footsteps. But when Will gets his dad's journal in the mail, which outlines plans for an innovative storm audio capture device, the teen goes on a journey to learn more about his dad. As one of the decade's biggest storms approaches, Will travels to Texas to team up with his dad's former partner, Uncle Roy (Skeet Ulrich), who's now working for a unscrupulous tour operator (Alec Baldwin) who sells rides into the storm.
Is It Any Good?
If Steven Spielberg remade Twister, it might look something like the intense Supercell. The story beats are similar to those of Jurassic Park, where scientists must act in deference to their benefactor, who turns nature into an amusement park despite the obvious danger. Supercell's main characters also have the last name Brody -- as in Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) from Jaws. Will exudes a sense of wonder like Elliott in E.T. The special effects (which are far better than Twister's 1996 then-advanced flying cows) are on par with War of the Worlds. And the score by Corey Wallace is so reminiscent of John Williams that you may find yourself mulling over Spielberg's filmography to place where you've heard it before.
This is all intentional, as writer-director Herbert James Winterstern has said that this nature thriller is an homage to family classics from the 1980s and early '90s -- like E.T. and Back to the Future -- that delivered an experience equally satisfying for both parents and kids. This movie is also about family: The superstorm is just the tool to tell the story of a young man who sets out to learn more about his father but winds up understanding and appreciating his mom. Winterstern does an impressive job with this Spielberg knockoff and is one to watch when he creates his own original style.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the appeal of defying nature. Whether it's storm chasing, mountain climbing, or jumping out of an airplane, why do you think some people are drawn to try to conquer nature? How do films, including Supercell, tend to depict these types of thrill seekers?
The movie pays homage to family adventure films of the 1980s and '90s. What similarities do you see? If you were going to create a new story out of your own favorite films, what would the plot be?
Does Supercell glamorize drinking or smoking? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?
How does Will demonstrate courage and perseverance? Why are these important character traits and life skills? Do you consider him a role model? Why, or why not?
- In theaters: March 17, 2023
- On DVD or streaming: March 17, 2023
- Cast: Skeet Ulrich, Daniel Diemer, Alec Baldwin
- Director: Herbert James Winterstern
- Studio: Saban Films
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Science and Nature
- Character Strengths: Courage, Curiosity, Perseverance
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language, some peril and smoking
- Last updated: March 20, 2023
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