movie review – INTO THE STORM: APOCALYPSE SOON

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I was looking forward to this one. And then it started. That may sound harsh, but I didn’t expect this to be FOUND FOOTAGE. Normally, I don’t mind the genre, but it needs to be well executed. When it comes to the large action sequences,  INTO THE STORM delivers. When it comes to FOUND footage, I wish it would get LOST.

CLICK on the tornado to watch the TRAILER

The opening was an effective tension builder. It didn’t show too much. Definitely low budget. The hook could have been better. It’s a painful hook too. The setup extends for about 30 minutes. We meet our groups of characters, each with their own obtuse hokey excuse as to why they’re filming.

Sarah Wayne Callies stars in INTO THE STORM. She’s got it rough lately… tornadoes & zombies (when she was on THE WALKING DEAD)…

For me, BLAIR WITCH and HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER are kings of the found footage genre. Both felt real. Because of this, they were truly frightening. CLOVERFIELD started a resurgence recently. It was well photographed &;brilliantly staged. The PARANORMALS are also very creative with this POV approach.

BLAIR WITCH did FOUND FOOTAGE right

STORM poorly handles several found footage elements such as very steady cams & super effective mics for picking up dialogue amongst the storm of the century. I noticed multiple occurences throughout. It was really distracting. Now, if I cared about the characters I probably wouldn’t notice these perceived (super nerdy) errors.

Richard Armitage… and he has it rough with Smaug in the next HOBBIT… Nerd Alert 2000: Could this be the face of the new JOKER? Just sayin’.

Thankfully, once the storm hits so does the excitement & the spectacle. The destruction is great. The lower budget looks higher. I appreciated the mix of praftical FX. I liked the aftermath of destruction just as much as the tornadoes. A stand out detail were all the scattered wet leaves in the school hallway.

the good stuff

A CGI standout was the fire tornado. A standout set piece was the swirling tornado made of giant airplanes. The giant funnel, excused as helicopter footage, was the most impressive piece of imagery.

“Light em up. Mup. Mup. I’m on fire…” No, really, um, Help meee—

If INTO THE STORM was at least partially shot in the traditional way, I would have enjoyed myself a lot more. Maybe it would be better to have that documentary crew,  but only occasionally see through their lenses? It might feel more natural.

“Let me go!” “NO! Leave it.” “I have to fix it!” “LEAVE the script… It’s too late for rewrites.”

No knock on the actors, but the characters were a real sore spot. Richard Armitage (THE HOBBIT) and Sarah Wayne Callies (PRISON BREAK, WALKING DEAD) don’t have that much to work with. It’s too bad since both are talented & charismatic.

“Where are the mics?” “I forgot em. Don’t worry. No one will notice.”

WHAT IF 2000: Imagine instead that the son was part of the tornado crew, like he’s working on portfolio for college or something? It would feel a little more natural. That’s just an example. Each character could have better motives. Altering the story even further… After not finding his kid at school, Armitage could find him with the crew instead. Just my thoughts.

I could also use a little more exploration into the science angle of Callie’s character & the warnings of CLIMATE CHANGE. I liked the bits they did include. It’s like instead of APOCALYPSE NOW, the fimmakers are cautioning us with APOCALYPSE SOON.

“Was that a cow?”

It’s not like I’m watching INTO THE STORM for story. I want tornadoes. It took a while but it delivered. I’m not comparing this to SCHINDLER’S LIST – more like something else in the disaster movie sub-gere. A movie like TWISTER did this right. I cared about the crew. There were laughs & emotion. AND tornadoes. I feel like the FX were better back then too. If not… the staging definitely was.

CLICK on the poster to watch the TRAILER

STORM is worth watching. Don’t get me wrong. It would help to lower your expectations and remember it takes a little bit for the action to kick in. The multiple impressive sequences of destruction are worth the wasted 30 minutes early on. It would benefit from another rewrite. Maybe add something to the title to add some box office bucks. Like, TWISTER 2: INTO THE STORM. Wait. Sequels don’t have numbers anymore. It would be a sub-title or something, right.

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What do you think?  Is this on par with TWISTER or disaster movies like 2012?

A memorable sequence from the superior TWISTER(1996) produced by Steven SPIELBERG

Or did this tornado totally suck?

So... What'd you think?

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