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Dante's Peak

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Dante's Peak

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton
Director: Roger Donaldson
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: February 1997
Genres: Action, Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Jamie Renee Smith, Elizabeth Hoffman, Charles Hallahan, Tzi Ma, Grant Heslov

Review by Walter Frith
2½ stars out of 4

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 like that.

'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

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