What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teens will be excited about the great special effects in this adventure movie, although they may be disappointed by the thin plot. Parents should know that the main characters are a soon-to-be-divorced couple who are still sexually attracted to each other. All of the characters put themselves in dangerous situations as part of their job. In the opening scene, a girl watches as a tornado carries her father away, and there are several frightening scenes involving the destructive storms.
What's the story?
When conditions create a perfect storm for multiple tornadoes, storm chaser Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) finds herself re-teaming with her ex-husband Bill (Bill Paxton) in an attempt to collect valuable data using their high-tech invention called DOROTHY. Meanwhile, corporation-funded Dr. Miller (Carey Elwes), armed with a similar device, tries to get the vital statistics before Jo and Bill.
Is it any good?
Twister's raison d'etre is showing off elaborate special effects that create the experience of being near and even in a tornado. A tornado isn't an easy phenomenon to build a plot around--they can't be predicted more than three minutes in advance, and they don't last very long. So it's partly forgivable that the filmmakers haven't come up with much of a story. The relationship woes and scientific rivalries only serve as filler between the wholly believable scenes featuring huge objects hurtling through the air.
The opening scene, about Jo's first experience with a twister, is both exciting and scary. After that, the filmmakers satisfy themselves with thrilling viewers rather than frightening them. They also drop so many references to The Wizard of Oz that families can make a game of counting them. It's a bit of a disappointment that scientist-turned-scriptwriter Michael Crichton doesn't challenge the audience a bit more here. Still, despite being cliched, the characters are likable. In particular, Helen Hunt is as inspirational to young women interested in science as Jodie Foster was in Contact.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the popularity of disaster films, and what makes a good one.