Reviewed by: Ken James
Reality aside, “Twister” delivers plenty of nail-biting action to the big screen (where it must be seen for full effect)! The special effects we’ve heard so much about are not disappointing, nor are the acting abilities of the cast.
“Twister” takes us to the heart of tornado country, Oklahoma. There we meet Jo Harding (Helen Hunt). Because of a terrifying childhood experience with a tornado that killed her father, Jo dedicates her life to chasing these immense storms. She studies them in hope that one day more accurate predictions can lead to the saving of many lives.
Jo and her daring (and slightly insane!) crew of tornado chasers have prepared a new scientific instrument, known as “Dorothy.” If effective, it will deliver more scientific information concering tornados in one hour than has been gained in the previous 40 years! Hundreds of censors contained inside a trash-can like housing must be released into the tornado. There is only one problem: “Dorothy” must be caught up into the center of a tornado to work properly. Further complicating the situation, another team of scientists has stolen the idea and built a similar piece of equipment. So the race is on: who will make history?!
As the team prepares to go after a chain of incoming storms, Jo’s soon to be ex-husband, meteorologist Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) and his fiance arrive to get Jo to sign Bill and Jo’s final divorce papers. Though he has no intention of becoming involved with Jo and her newest chase of tornados, he is surprised and enthralled to see “Dorothy,” his brainchild, no longer on paper but ready to work. Bill joins the team for one last time. The day is both amazing and intense, and reveals to Bill his true feelings both for Jo, and for his former career.
“Twister” has no sex or nudity, but does contain about two dozen obscenities and a dozen profanities. Excessive natural destruction and scary scenes involving mass destruction effectively limit the audience to ages 12 and above. A few references to sex are made while Bill’s fiance, Melissa (Jamie Gertz), a sex therapist, talks to her patients with her cellular phone.
As for the reality check—leave it at home. There is no possible way, aside from divine protection, that anyone can be caught in tornados as often as Bill and Jo and leave unscathed, amidst deadly debris flying everywhere. The plot development never went far, but for an action flick was quite acceptable. The story line was predictable; every time the movie slowed down for a couple of minutes, everyone knew a new storm would surface that would require the attention of Jo’s crew. With many failures during their impossibly long day, things finally work out in the end, both for “Dorothy” and for Bill and Jo.