Josh and Violet bring you their spoiler-free male vs. female perspective reviews of the disaster flick Into the Storm, directed by Steven Quale, and starring Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies!
His Movie Review of Into the Storm:
Twister Two, I mean Into the Storm, has a title that is about as literal as you can get. This film, coming out the same day as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is a movie taking place in Oklahoma, with a group of storm chasers attempting to chase down a tornado for a big pay day. Into the Storm features the “documentary” style filming (such as Blair Witch or Cloverfield) mixed with traditional filming. The story also follows a family–two sons and a father who have their own story arc throughout the film which eventually converges with the storm chasers. The film was directed by Steven Quale, a lesser known director, whose probably only notable directing prior to this was Final Destination 5. Into the Storm stars Richard Armitage (known for his role as Thorin from The Hobbit) and Sarah Wayne Callies (known for her roles as Lori Grimes from The Walking Dead and Dr. Sarah Tancredi from Prison Break).
Before I get into the film review itself, I will preface that I am not a big natural disaster movies. I didn’t really enjoy Twister or The Perfect Storm. So going into this movie, I had pretty low expectations. To make matters worse, Into the Storm has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 20%. That is right about where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is sitting. Who would have thought the two biggest releases in a weekend would critically tank just about equally? The bad news for Into the Storm is that people went and actually saw Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles, with Into the Storm only earning about $18 million and Turtles earning about $65 million.
Up until the actual tornadoes begin to hit (which isn’t until nearly half way through), the film drags us though character development, which for the most part is a bunch of people bickering at each other for various reasons. Of course, the tension was an attempt to add a layer of depth to the movie — so that it isn’t solely about tornado-carnage — but it was almost to the point of annoying. Alright, alright! I get that sons have issues with their hardheaded, widowed father that lost his wife and has put the pieces back together. Oh, and listening to Pete, leader of the storm chasers, constantly complain they aren’t seeing any tornadoes the whole first half of the movie was less than entertaining. All of the characters are either annoying or forgettable.
Unfortunately, in a year if you were to ask me what this film is about, I will probably only be able to tell you it is about a gigantic tornado running amok. The only character somewhat worthwhile is Richard Armitage. He is someone I look forward to seeing in more films, hopefully ones with a much better story.
I guess the good parts of the film are primarily the special effects. The tornadoes and the carnage left in their wake was done pretty well. Of course, movies like this have been being made since Twister, so that isn’t much of a feat anymore unfortunately.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot to say about this film. It is certainly forgettable, and the spectacle of the tornado was the only lukewarm entertainment the movie provided. The emotional storylines the movie attempted to make fell flat. The “comedic relief” in the film was just weird, and felt out of place in the film. At one point in the film, a fairly important character dies in the movie, and neither the audience nor the characters in the movie seem to really be too affected by the death.
Getting down to brass tacks, the rating I would give the film is a 5. Boring and annoying storylines really took me out of the movie, while the build up the tornado took what felt like an eternity. One dimensional, non-relatable characters nearly put me to sleep until the carnage begins. If you are a fan of natural disaster films, some moderate enjoyment might be achieved watching Into the Storm, but you are probably better off re-watching Twister as a more enjoyable option.
Her Movie Review of Into the Storm:
I first heard of Into the Storm at WonderCon back in April. The director and most of the cast was there, we got to see some footage, and it looked like it could be interesting. The film is directed by Steven Quale (Final Destination 5 being his only notable credit as Director), and stars Richard Armitage (better known as Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit films), Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead, Prison Break), Matt Walsh (Ted, The Hangover), and Jeremy Sumpter (Friday Night Lights [TV Series], Peter Pan ).
Into the Storm is about a small town in Oklahoma called Silverton that is just going about their daily lives, mainly focusing on Richard Armitage’s character, Gary, who is the vice principal at the local high school, and his two teenage sons, Donnie and Trey. Meanwhile, there’s a group of storm chasers who are driving around the area, trying to find the next big tornado. Most of the town residents are at an outdoor graduation ceremony when disaster strikes, and they all run into the high school for shelter from the tornado. Little do they know that that’s just the beginning of a super storm system that will attack Silverton with multiple tornadoes. Gary’s son Donnie is not at the graduation, however, and Gary spends much of the movie trying to track him down and get him to safety. In order to do that, he has to join up with the storm chasers, whose main concern is getting right into the middle of the tornadoes so they can get the best footage. However, the situation gets worse than any of them could have ever imagined, and they all find themselves fighting for their own lives.
Having grown up in Southeast Texas, I know what it’s like to have to worry about tornado watches and tornado warnings, and we even did tornado drills in school. For most of my life, I had nightmares about being in or near a tornado, or being surrounded by several tornadoes that popped up, and not being able to get away from them. (Okay, so watching Twister multiple times probably may have contributed to that.) Fortunately, in real life I never actually saw a tornado, nor do I know of a tornado actually touching down and destroying anything in or around the town where I grew up. Now that I’ve lived in Southern California for 12 years, I don’t recall having had a tornado nightmare for several years. Maybe it’s because earthquakes rather than tornadoes are the big concern out here (though I can’t remember having any earthquake nightmares).
In any case, I must say that Into the Storm basically brought to life those tornado nightmares that I had long since forgotten. This movie put you right into the middle of the tornadoes, and made you feel what it would really be like to be in the direct path of the storm. Obviously, I’ve thankfully never been in a tornado, so I can’t say for sure what it’s like to be in that situation, but the movie definitely portrays what one would imagine it would be like. The effects were actually quite good, and the CGI looked realistic for the most part. There were some really cool parts when the big tornado hit, and when we got to go into the eye of the storm. It was kind of weird though that much of the footage was supposed to be from characters’ phones or GoPro type cameras, but the film didn’t actually noticeably reflect the source of that footage. It all just looked like it was from the main camera. However, I must admit, that I’m actually grateful for that, because otherwise I may have found myself getting motion sickness, like I did in films such as Earth to Echo and Cloverfield!
I guess my biggest complaints about the movie would be some of the storyline, character development, and some of the acting. Sometimes people would do some really dumb things that didn’t make any sense as to why they were doing them, and more than once it seemed like certain characters had a sudden change of opinion or personality that didn’t seem to fit what had been established as part of their character. I also didn’t feel all that attached to any characters. Although the acting by the older, more established actors was fine, most of the acting by the younger actors was not very good. Oh, and there were these two drunk redneck guys that were also chasing the tornadoes around, who always seemed to know right where the tornadoes would hit, while the storm chasers who had a meteorologist with a Ph.D. were struggling to figure out where to go, so that was annoying. Also, at the end of the movie, I felt like there were some storylines that were left incomplete.
Overall though, I enjoyed this movie for what it was: a disaster flick with the goal of putting you right into the middle of the storm. I would say that it achieved this goal, and highly recommend that you see this in the movie theater so that you can get the booming surround sound, and so it will look and feel more lifelike. Watching this movie on a small TV screen won’t provide the same effect.
My rating: 6.5/10