There was a time in the 1990’s when author-director-screenwriter Michael Chricton ruled pop culture. I believe there was a moment when he had the number one book, most watched television series, and penned the weekend number one film all within the a seven-day period. That statistic is more impressive than any other aspect of the badly dated 1996 ecological disaster film Twister.
Jo (Helen Hunt) and Bill (Bill Paxton) are scientists pursing the most destructive weather to sweep through the mid-west in half a century. They repeatedly attempt to launch electronic sensors into the funnel of the twisters. This will given them enough data to create an improved warning system for future tornados. In their path is a corporate sponsored competing storm chaser (Cary Elwes). Jamie Gertz is Paxton’s fiance who gets dragged along the adventure and realizes that Bill and Jo are still in love. Supporting cast includes familiar faces such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Jeremy Davies and Todd Field.
Fresh from the surprise success of Speed, director Jan de Bont infuses the flatline story with a pulse and undeniable excitement during a few sequences. Twister proved to be an even bigger smash for the cinematographer turned director, leading to his undoing with the runaway disaster Speed 2. I disliked Twister when I saw it in theaters 21 years ago. Today, I felt outright disdain for this overly simplistic special effects driven event film.
Director: Jan de Bont
Stars: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz