Picks and Pans Review: Twister
As the title indicates, the star of this action thriller, directed by Jan De Bont (Speed), is a tornado, so the only real issue is whether the special-effects department has created sufficiently scary funnels. Yes! If The Wizard of Oz had opened with any of these monsters, Dorothy would have been knocked down dead in the middle of the Dust Bowl, and Aunt Em would have grieved forever. The computer-animated storms are roaring terrors, but beautiful too. When one slender spout splits to produce a twin, they wrap around each other in a helix, then split again into dancing triplets. The movie builds to a furious tantrum of cloud and debris, capable of hurling a tank truck, then pausing to pluck apart the planks of a fence. It's as if God, after a full course of havoc, wanted an after-dinner toothpick.
And I loved the flying cow.
The plot, which is of no significance, is about a team of tornado chasers, meteorological thrill seekers whose ambition is to insert a sensor device into the eye of tornado and create a profile of the storm from within. Hey, whatever turns you on. Paxton and Hunt, as the ex-lovers heading the project, are both good, natural actors. They scream and run for cover with total conviction. (PG-13)