Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review of INTO THE STORM in 4DX: A Vicarious Thrill

August 12, 2014




I saw the trailer of Into the Storm and was curious as to how different could this movie be from Twister (1996) which is also about chasing tornados in the American Midwest.  Also, I figured this film would probably be the perfect one to go see to try out the new 4DX theater in town, with all the storm effects going on around me.  

In the small Midwestern town of Silverton, a high school was holding their outdoor graduation ceremony, oblivious that a tornado was going to run right through them.  Meanwhile, a desperate storm filming crew keeps right on chasing these tornadoes seemingly unmindful of the risks. To add some complicating circumstance, two students just had to do an off-campus location video shoot right on on that same day the tornadoes hit. So there was not really any substantial story. That's ok, that did not really matter.

The central family composed of the school vice principal Gary and his two sons Donnie and Trey were played by Richard Armitage with Max Deacon and Nathan Kress. The ruthless main storm-chaser Pete was played by Matt Walsh.  The lead meteorologist Allison was played by Sarah Wayne Callies. They even got Scott Lawrence, an actor who looked and spoke like President Barack Obama, to play the clueless school principal. I did not know any of these actors. You might enjoy watching a couple of daredevil country bumpkins played by Kyle Davis and Jon Reep chase tornadoes on their beat-up pickup or tractor. So there were not really any big name stars in the cast. That's ok, they did not really matter as well.

However, as expected what the production saved on story and cast, they poured the majority of the budget on the massive computer-generated special effects. Of course, with the considerable advance of visual effects technology since 1996 when "Twister" wowed us all with flying cow and the like, the degree of devastation seen onscreen in "Into the Storm" was so much greater. Director Steven Quale just wants to bring us right into the thick of a monster tornado with multiple vortices. THAT is the main point of this film. (Unfortunately, the trailer already showed how the super strong winds were able to pick up jumbo jets and trailer trucks, so those big scenes were not a surprise anymore, which was a pity.) 

So, was the 4DX worth it?  For me, yes.  It added a sense of fun. It feels a bit guilty to say the word "fun" knowing you are watching a grand-scale disaster unfold with an untold toll of lives and property.  So in that perverse sense of entertainment, yes, those shaking seats, strong winds and lightning flashes did add so much to the realism of the special effects you see onscreen. I really felt like I was in a dangerous storm. But I also felt like I was riding a 90-minute long amusement park ride. Too bad that I did not feel any water spraying on me though, despite the fact that there was splashing water on the screen. I also mistakenly thought that the whole film would be in 3D when you watch in 4DX. It was not.

So, just ask yourself, do you want to experience how it is going to feel like to be right in the middle of a tornado? If you say yes, then you go watch this film and have a blast with all the realistic effects. However, since we live right on the path of several tropical cyclones, I guess that won't be much of a come-on in these parts of the world. But I think that vicarious thrill may still draw a lot of people in. 6/10.


28 comments:

  1. Into The Storm in 4D? Wow. Now that takes movie watching to a whole new level. I'm intrigued. Is this showing in Mall Of Asia? :)

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    1. Hi Sol. There is only one 4DX theater in Metro Manila now, and this is in that new mall on Bonifacio High Street. There is news that there might be one in Trinoma also, but so far none yet.

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  2. Considering the special effects, I think it would be nice to watch this in 4DX. The tornado feel would really feel scary.

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  3. We live near the river. I work just by the bay. Given these setups, I am very scared to have tornado in Metro Manila. I wish that won't happen. This movie will give the chills.

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  4. 4DX - that would give you some amazing special effects ! The tornado would feel almost real !

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  5. What was then the feeling / experience when watching it in 4DX? Would not it be like real?

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    1. It felt real the way the winds were blowing around me and the seats moving. Too bad they did not include water mist effects for total realism.

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  6. If you like special effects I can image seeing this in 4D would be really fantastic.

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  7. I was able to watch the Twister. I would also want to see this and see how it compares to Twister before.

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  8. Great Review ... it was ok .. I think twister was better because it had less high tech effects which made it authentic ... 10th follower :-)

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  9. Nice to know these 4DX, really new to me and want to explore it. The movie I think's quite scary but interesting.

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  10. I have heard of 4DX. Sounds absolutely thrilling!

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  11. I have watched this. One of the most breathtaking movies on natural calamities. I watched Day after tomorrow long back, that was awesome. And then this one - nothing less.

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  12. This sounds like such an exciting movie! I have plans to see it soon and know it will be fun!

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  13. I haven't seen this movie and to think I like Richard Armitage! I did enjoy Twister years ago but I try to avoid watching natural disaster movies, they freak me out for some reason. But there are those who are curious or into these things so I'm sure this will still be a huge hit in its rerun.

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  14. Natural disaster is just unpredictable and strong as we all can imagine.. It's a great movie documented this!~ I bet you love the movie very much!

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  15. I was able to see the "Twister" and I did enjoyed the film. With a good review shared here, I think I have to watch this film. In 4DX, wow so interesting.

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  16. I had to look up what 4DX meant as it's new to me (it has yet to reach Malaysian shores but I read it's coming our way real soon!) and you will be able to experience special effects such as wind, fog, lightning, and scents that enhance what you see on the screen. They will even sprinkle water on you! But back to your review, disaster movies are always a crowd puller because of the special effects. I liked Twister so this seems like a good movie to watch

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    1. I can't believe 4DX reached Manila before Malaysia! :-) But since its expensive, we have to choose well which films will be worth the extra ticket price.

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  17. Really? You think it's worth watching on 4DX? 4DX isn't exactly cheap and I was thinking of watching TMNT on 4DX instead.

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    1. Hi Phylicia. Elsewhere in this blog, I also reviewed the new TMNT film. I don't think that's worth the price of 4DX. But if you do get to watch it, let me know! :-)

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  18. Aww man~ I wish there is a 4DX cinema here in Malaysia as well... Definitely will try it if its here

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  19. Honestly, I've never tried watching a 4Dx yet.. Maybe I have to watch it in a different movie because Im quite busy these days. hehehe.

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  20. disaster movies scare me haha >XD i've tried watching in 4DX and the experience definitely livened up my impression of the movie i was watching. with that 6/10 are you only referring to the movie alone, w/o the 4DX? >XD

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    1. Hi Yan. What did you watch in 4DX? About the 6/10, that is the film alone. With the 4DX, it goes up to maybe 7/10. I really go for the story and storytelling, than special effects alone. :-)

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  21. I wanted to watch it initially but was held back by the poor online ratings. Well, nothing good about the plots besides the CGI?

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  22. The idea of being caught in a Tornado doesn't' appeal to me so I won't want to see it happen to others... Seeing it in 4DX sounds pretty intense!

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