I must confess that before I went to see 'Dante's Peak' I was expecting
it to be a repetitive disaster movie fashioned after the succes of last
year's 'Twister'. A quick studio cash grab to capitalize on the tremendous
box office rewards reaped by that film. 'Twister' has made well over two
hundred million dollars and there are usually copycats abound after a hit
'Dante's Peak' is nothing like 'Twister'. It's a film that builds
momentum slowly before unleashing its fury of special effects. 'Twister'
took a dive right at the beginning and was nothing more than a lamentable
chase picture and gave us characters we never really cared about where as
'Dante's Peak' is a thoughtful rendition of characters and technical
academics blended nicely for pure entertainment courtesy of director Roger
Donaldson ('The Bounty', 'No Way Out'.)
The town of 'Dante's Peak' is on the verge of a major volcanic eruption
after lying dormant for quite a while. A geologist (Pierce Brosnan) who lost
his wife in a volcanic disaster in Columbia four years earlier is sent by his
superior along with a research team to investigate disturbing activity around
that area. Brosnan is convinced that the town is in for a major eruption but
his superior and the town's politicians urge him not to jump to any
conclusions which could upset major economic plans to be set in motion by a
businessman who will pump eighteen million dollars into the local economy and
create about eight hundred jobs. Should word of a natural disaster get out,
then they can kiss the cash goodbye. The town's mayor (Linda Hamilton) leans
towards Brosnan's theory of a disaster brewing but goes along with the
majority and puts off alerting the town.
This movie has state of the art special effects which are truly
convincing and eye popping. If you think the movie will only display visual
effects of volcanic activity, you are very wrong. Bridges collapsing, hydro
lines falling, buildings breaking apart and mine shafts in chaos are only a
few goodies to enhance the audience's viewing enjoyment.
In film, the rule of suspension of disbelief should be applied to truly
enjoy 'Dante's Peak' but it is a slam bang adventure film which takes its
time to get where its going and never looks back once its there.
Copyright © 1997 Walter Frith