Friday, November 21, 2014

Into the Storm

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The prequel will be called Intro the Storm.





Into the Storm – 3 out of 5


Natural disaster films are pretty damn silly.  It’s hard to not laugh at the ridiculousness of films like 2012 or anything really made by Roland Emmerich.  However, with all the implausible weather and “natural” occurrences (even with Climate Change, The Day After Tomorrow is still pretty ridiculous with its science…and don’t get me started on The Core), the films are kinda fun and I would push over an entire horde of old ladies to play someone in those films—preferably someone who dies a ridiculous death.

Richard Armitage is giving the "what do you think, audience?" look.
Imagine all the porn you could watch with those screens...
Silverton, Oklahoma is just a normal town with normal things going on normally.  However, the residents are unaware that Mother Nature has decided to say, “Fuck this area in particular” and unleash a devastating storm that will contain the worst, largest, and probably least sexy tornado in all of existence.  During the calm before the storm, high school Vice Principal Gary Fuller (Richard Armitage) is trying to get his unruly sons organized for the upcoming graduation.  He’s charged his boys Trey (Nathan Kress) and Donnie (Max Deacon) with recording the ceremony and making a video time capsule for the school (and there you have the “found footage” aspect explained).  Meanwhile, a storm hunting team (more "found footage" explanation), led by a driven veteran of storm chasin’ (Matt Walsh), stumble upon Silverton thanks to their expert Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies).  They soon find themselves mixed up with helping the citizens of the town instead of researching the storm and it becomes a fight for survival against the homicidal wrath of Mother Nature and her rage ‘nadoes!

Optimus!  Hurry, get out of the way!
No, Optimus!  NOOOOO!!!!
Into the Storm isn’t the most memorable natural disaster film I’ve seen.  There’s no real praise worthy sequences that stick with you after the credits hit—well, beyond the teaser trailer that showed the mega-tornado picking up the 747’s and setting them free—and the characters really aren’t very deep.  However, the movie is kinda fun because, at the end of it all, it’s shit getting fucked up by weather. 
Hmmm...tornadoes have tails.
That one plane looks like he's having fun.
The “found footage” element in the film feels, often, forced and didn’t really help the film out in any way.  In fact, it often took me out of the action because you are passively watching the weather endanger the lives of the characters and aren’t in there experiencing the actors’ reactions like you are in other films.  It ended up creating a massive disconnect with the characters and the drama and that really hurts the film because you already have characters that barely have much depth to them to begin with.  It also provided an extremely lazy way of introducing the characters by simply showing them and having their name and occupation underneath.  It gave the film a slight mockumentary feel and that was something I could have got behind but this element is only utilized in the beginning and end and was almost entirely absent the rest of the time.  Add this to the times when the film abandons its “found footage” element here and there and you have a movie that feels like it really doesn’t know how it wants to present itself.
Here we go again...another movie reinforcing the stereotype that tornadoes
are aggressive.
"One piece of data I've collected is that the pressure
created from tornadoes causes spontaneous bowel
emptying."
The acting in the film isn’t really terrible but when the film is pretty much Richard Armitage (who is unrecognizable to me without his Thorin Oakenshield beard and attire) yelling that he wants to protect his sons, Nathan Kress from iCarly just sort of being in the background and seen holding a camcorder occasionally, Lori Grimes from The Walking Dead rarely mentioning how she has a daughter and hates being away from her before going back to spouting off weather-y stuff, Matt Walsh being super dedicated to recording the fuck out of shark-less tornadoes, and Max Deacon doing very little as Donnie and being backed up even harder with doing nothing by Alycia Debnam Carey as the love interest of him, acting really wasn’t something you look for in this film. 
This.  This is what you are looking for.

Awww.  That one plane is photobombing the other.
All you really need is some minor defining characteristics and names and then you let them run around in the rain and wind.  Sure, Twister did a dynamite job at making the characters endearing and interesting but this film was fluff from the get-go.  Drama, tension, character development…you knew that shit was going to be accidental if it appeared at all and, for what it is, these characters work and the actors do their jobs as well as they need to be.  There’s no real bad acting going on…even from the terrible comic relief that was completely unnecessary for the film.
His ridiculous hair will protect him from the imminent flying debris.
When I sit down to watch a film like Into the Storm, I’m not expecting Citizen Kane or some masterpiece dealing with character-based drama.  I’m expecting disaster porn.  I’m expecting buildings getting torn apart, trees uprooted and tossed like the gods are on a bender, explosion after explosion with all their bright fireball-y glory and people running for their goddamn lives!  If the film is done right in these departments, I don’t give a shit if the characters are cardboard cutouts and one-dimensional.  However, it’s still possible for these characters to ruin a film.  The characters of Donk and Reevis are these characters…their names pretty much tell you all you need to know about them.
And that's pretty much how you would picture them, too.
Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep) are two characters that are shoehorned into the film and do nothing but try to be comic relief…but, in reality, are bumps in the gratuitous action and are reminding us that life is fleeting and happiness will eventually end.  Donk and Reevis are two rednecks that desperately want to be internet famous and they use stupid stunts to try and up their YouTube hit count (because aside from cats and needless aggression towards completely insignificant things, residents of the internet love seeing people getting hurt in many different ways).  These two men, who almost definitely have a “Git-r-Done” shirts and testicles hanging from their trucks, see the tornado as an opportunity to get really crazy and they decide to film Donk standing in front of it. 
If anyone sees that and says, "I wanna get filmed standing in front of that,"
I say go ahead.  You won't be missed.
There is only one sequence where these two have an impact on the plot but, for the rest of the time, they are just randomly inserted into the running length and fail miserably at being amusing.  In fact, they are just uncomfortable and annoying.  The film would have probably scored an entire point higher if these two were not included.  You hear that, production?  A movie review blog run by a nobody will give you a better review if you got rid of Donk and Reevis.  I await your Director’s Cut that fulfills my wishes…
That's a terrible rap album cover.
Into the Storm is a poor man’s Twister that lacks the interesting and lovable characters but still has the implausible weather patterns and even goes a step further by having some truly remarkable special effects.  The chances of me giving this one a repeat viewing are slim but, aside from Donk and Reevis, the film is pretty entertaining and a decent flick to veg out to if you’re looking for something that is far, far away from being complicated.
"Well, we survived and I'm still stuck with kids who look like they are trying to make
a junior version of Donald Trump's hair.  Thanks, tornado."

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