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Twister video sleeve graphic Twister

Starring Helen Hunt and William Hurt

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

Twister was one of the big movies of 1996. It's the story of a woman scientist who is driven to learn the secrets of tornado prediction because her father was killed in a tornado when she was a small child. Her obsession drove a wedge between her and her husband, another meteorologist. They are ready to finalize the divorce and he has a girlfriend, who is some kind of psychologist. However she still has to sign some documents to finalize the divorce, and he comes out to her field site to get the signatures. She has just completed her life's work, a device that will send thousands of tiny telemetry probes up into a tornado's vortex, where they will collect data which will enable far better tornado prediction. Even as he arrives, they get an alert and he finds himself going with her on the chase. They wind up hiding under a bridge in a field and the tornado destroys her jeep.

When the team regroups at a nearby small town, they run into the villain, their old rival. He wants the same laudable goal as them, but his manner of going about it is intolerable. He is a loudmouth media hog and he gloats over the failures of his colleagues. He has apparently stolen the protagonist's plans and gotten corporate sponsorship, so that he has much fancier equipment.

There are a lot of thrilling tornado chases and some very frightening scenes of tornadoes hitting buildings. One of the most frightening is when the drive-in theater gets demolished, although the aftermath of the tornado strike to the aunt's home is emotionally touching. At the end they are chasing the biggest tornado of them all, and they finally have learned what they need to know to get the telemetry system to operate properly. However the villain's truck is closer, but because the good guys are able to put science before personal fame, they tell the bad guys the vital bit of information. But the bad guys never get to use it, for the tornado sucks them up and throws them all over the countryside. So the good guys are the ones who finally triumph, capturing the vital data. And as they pass through the heart of the storm, they learn some vital lessons about themselves and are reconciled to one another.

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Review posted December 1, 1998

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