I’m pretty familiar with tornadoes. I grew up in West Texas. I went to college in the panhandle of Texas. The majority of my relatives live in Oklahoma, and I currently live just north of Dallas. As you can see, I’ve been in tornado alley just about my whole life. In fact, I was on the road when the Jarrell tornado hit with all its F-5 fury in 1997. My family and I were spared from a brush with that particular monster, but we did take cover in a BBQ Shack when another tornado formed on the road directly in front of us and then worked its way towards our location. For some reason, known only to God, this twister bounced over the shack we were hiding in and hit the mobile home park behind the restaurant.
As you might imagine, I have always had a healthy respect for these storms. In fact I’m on the waiting list to get a state of the art storm shelter built in my home.
I was intrigued with the previews of Into The Storm that I had seen. I entered the theatre today with a heart full of hope and my head held high! Unfortunately, I did not leave the theatre in the same way.
Into the Storm is a story about a group of storm trackers, thrill seekers and the people of a fictional town in Oklahoma as they are besieged by several tornadoes in one day.
The film does a credible job of showing the randomness of the life of one of these killer storms. The paths of destruction and the way that something may be obliterated while something right next to it remains untouched rings true to documents cases.
It also does a good job of showing the types of equipment used by professional storm chasers. The Titus vehicle is inspired by types of vehicles designed for this activity.
The film falls short in inexplicable actions by various characters. The initial storm approaches during a high school graduation (being held outdoors, natch). Instead of heeding the warnings that are alluded to at the beginning of the story, they go on. Now, I could go along with that (because I’ve lived through a situation just like that!) However, It’s writing for the sake of sensationalism to think that the administrators of this school would not have their own lightening detectors, storm warning systems and communication with police and EMS services to make sure that their students are safe. School personnel will constantly monitor weather conditions in this type of situation so that they can make the best decisions possible regarding their students.
In fact, it seems like that there are no police, fire or EMS at all in this town. This town doesn’t even have school bus drivers. Luckily, the crime rate it so low that all the school buses are left unlocked with the keys in the ignition!
Of course there are some scenes where spines would be shattered, limbs would be broken, but our resilient heroes just bounce right up and keep on going. They aren’t really sure WHERE they are going. The geography of Silverton is as mysterious as the geography of Springfield in the Simpsons (and believe me, the geography of Oklahoma ain’t that hard to figure out!)
One of the running gags that most people might think of as the most ludicrous in the movie is actually one of the things that I thought was the most believable. There are two redneck drunk characters (named Donk and Reeviss), that spend their time drinking beer and filming Jackass types stunts to post on Youtube. Donk and Reevis see the storm chasers go by and are inspired to make their own videos showing them in the path of the storms. You would think they would be killed (or maybe you’re hoping), but as luck would have it, its a case of the drunks getting to survive because they were too drunk to be severely hurt.
The actors do what they can with the story they have to tell. Its just too bad that its not a more credible story.
Grade: C for weak writing