Peak. Dante's Peak.
Agent James Bond is back with a license to drill in this explosive new chapter of the Bond saga. 007 must rescue a peaceful Northwestern Town from the diabolical Mother Nature and her fiendish plot to destroy an entire mountain in her quest for world domination.
OK, maybe not.
Actually, this time Pierce Brosnan isn't a British Intelligence Officer, he's an American Geologist with a wondrous British accent. And instead of numerous scantily clad Bond Babes, he's got Linda Hamilton from the Terminator movies, a little girl, and a grand-ma. Guess which one's the love interest.
The story is pretty simple. Dormant volcano is gonna burst. Pierce comes into town to stop it. Once he realizes you can't stop a volcano, he decides to warn everybody instead. And no one listens until it's too late. Of course.
I mean it'd be great if they all listened to him right away and split instead of treating him like a limey Cassandra (classical lit. reference, look it up). But then that would have made a boring movie.
"The volcano is going to blow!"
"Really? Then we should go. We can be in Cancun by the time it goes off."
But no, they ignore him and of course, he's right. Again, he had to be right, or it'd be another boring movie.
"Hey Pierce, your mountain never blew."
"Didn't it? Oh well, I was wrong. More tea anyone?"
And while that story line would have cut the Special Effects budget in half, it wouldn't be quite the draw. So you got your volcano that's going to spew. And it spews. And it looks really, really cool. I tell you, these guys had some fun destroying a small town to make this movie. Now that's a shoot I'd like to be on.
"Cut! I want more destruction here! More destruction! Tell the guy on the wrecking ball to take down a couple of those churches over there, alright? Action!"
In the end, the film is actually quite good. It is not a disaster story, it's a haunted house story. Daylight was a disaster film, and I don't just mean at the box-office. Dante's Peak is the story of a group of people in a 'haunted house', in this case the town of Dante's Peak, and we watch the 'house' kill them off. It's very similar in structure to another great 'haunted house' story, Jaws. You got your experts, your people with the fatal flaws, and everybody gets what they deserve in the end. See, in a disaster flick, good people die for no reason and the entire story is a journey out of ever-worsening conditions. Try to remember all this, there'll be a test.
This movie so desperately wants to be a summer blockbuster, but it's few months early. But in true summer blockbuster fashion, there's a damn dog.
You know, someday, when I make my summer blockbuster, I'm going to kill the dog. You wait.
Still, while the film is thematically predictable, it's really quite fun, with a wonderful ending that caught me by surprise.
No, I'm kidding.
The acting is better than most action-paced heart-racers. I love that Linda is the town mayor as well as the town cappuccino matron. I think all mayors should have a second job. Here in Los Angeles, it would be fun to see Mayor Riordon double as a Custodial Engineer or Night Watchman.
"Everything OK, Mayor Riordon?"
"Yes sir, all clear."
"Good, I'm gonna lock up now, help yourself to the morning's bagels. Have a good watch."
It's a good thing I liked this movie. Its release date had been pushed up in the race to be the first volcano movie of the year (Fox's Volcano is now due out in late summer) that I was afraid we'd get flashed a screen which read "Effects Shot To Be Added For Video Here."
But they did themselves a good job, and I give Dante's Peak 3 4/5 Babylons. This is quite a thrill ride, even if it is a bit by the book. And I for one just love Pierce Brosnan.
All we really needed were some of Q's gadgets and it would have been perfect.
They have recently announced that the next Bond film, the 18th, will feature Jonathan Pryce from Evita and those damn Infinity commercials as the bad guy and the chick from Supercop as.. well, some chick. This is cool. We love the chick from Supercop, and heartily encourage all movie studios to put her in their movie. She kicks ass.