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Last updated
December 04, 2002
12:35:23 AM
The Saint
Double Team
Dante's Peak


Dante's Peak

Classification: Rated PG-13 (for disaster-related peril and gore.)
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Written by: Leslie Bohem
Sound Mix: DTS
Running Time: 112 minutes
Pierce Brosnan - Harry Dalton
Linda Hamilton - Rachel Wando
Jamie Renee Smith - Lauren Wando
Jeremy Foley - Graham Wando
Elizabeth Hoffman - Ruth
Charles Hallahan - Paul Dreyfus
Double Action Rating Conventional Rating Laughter Utilization (%) BIM Rating (1-10) Antic Level Buffer Zone (1-10)
90 7 ADPCS* 10*

The third installment from the growing proliferation of disaster films has arrived. Following the release of Twister and Daylight, Dante's Peak continues the trend in which there are no clear-cut villains except for Mother Nature or unfortunate circumstance.

The movie opens with standard scene in which we are shown Brosnan's character in the midst of a volcanic eruption somewhere in the distant corner of the world. This scene surveys two purposes. First, we are to discover that he misjudged the speed of a volcanic eruption that means that he will be more aggressive in the future. Second, we are introduced to his loved one who he was going to marry but is quickly disposed of by a falling lava rock through the roof of his car. This adds to his bitterness towards volcanoes and his mission to correctly seek out and warn others.

This scene is reminiscent of the introduction scene in Twister during which the little girl Joe watches her father (a loved one, presumably) get swept away by a tornado which instills in her a determination to accurately warn others of impending doom. I laughed extremely loudly during this scene due to the BIM content present. Unfortunately, Brosnan's girlfriend doesn't experience BIM, but Brosnan experiences SRH.

Flash forward a few years later and we see that Brosnan is now alerted to the possibility of an eruption in a small town of Dante, recently voted one of the best places to live in the US. After performing a routine investigation of the town, he turns up several indications that an eruption is imminent. Of course due to his overly cautious nature, he has jumped the gun and incorrectly predicted eruptions in the past, which had severe consequences for the towns (dropping real estate values.)

In order to get the town on evacuation alert, he has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the volcano is active. Thus the team of scientists (from all ethnic backgrounds) arrive with all of their gear. This bunch of fools look exactly like those from Twister, have the same Silicon Graphics laptops, and even have their own stupid robot which is used to determine whether a volcano shows signs of eruption. For those who've seen Twister, does "Dorothy" ring any bells?

Naturally, the only person who believes him is Linda Hamilton, a gorgeous mayor with two kids from a failed marriage. The kids serve two purposes in the film. First, the kids stupidly try to save their stubborn grandmother from dying at the top of the volcano (she dies elsewhere to much laughter). Without these foolish imps, Brosnan and Hamilton would have had no reason to be on the top of the volcano to escape it and the movie would be over. Second, they serve as a means to prove how gentle and kind Brosnan is to kids, as evidenced by the tear jerking scene later in the film in which he tells them that they will go fishing when the disaster is over. This is to add validity to Brosnan's growing interest in Hamilton, since he has eruption plans of his own for her...

Just as Brosnan predicts, the town experiences some minor quakes which sends the town into a total state of panic. Chaos ensues as the town attempts to evacuate before the volcano blows and spews lava. The action scenes are hysterical in the film and the key factors of BIM, SRH, and Why Me??? are taken to their limits.

There is another interesting point made in the story that deserves mention. What is the deal with the pets in the disaster movies these days? Linda Hamilton's kids in the film have a dog that they are separated from and then reunited with after a situation in which the dog would have surely died. There was no way that a dog stranded on the top of an erupting volcano would be able to get down the mountain at the same speed as a truck, only to find itself stranded on some rocks in the middle of a lava stream. What was the point of the dog at all?  Twister, Daylight, and Independence Day also had dogs which survived impossible situations. The dogs should have been - you guessed it - meat.


  Bookmarked Scenes:

'Til Death Do Us Part
Harry desperately tries to outrun the falling ash from the volcano eruption when a boulder crashes through the roof of his car and kills his girlfriend. Didn't something similar happen to James Bond? Wait a minute - Brosnan is James Bond!!!
Bobbing for Bodies
A token couple unsuspectingly take a bath in a hot spring turned crockpot and find themselves the main course - of laughter, that is.
London Bridges, Falling Down
The freeway overpasses in the helpless town are torn asunder by the initial shock waves from the volcano. Honey, watch out for that pothole!!!
SchoolHouse Rock
A church steeple falls onto a schoolbus, crushing the center of it like a Twinkie. Too bad school was in session...
Side Impact Airbags Required
Harry and Rachel are trapped in a car in the middle of a river as it fills up with water. The doors are jammed and another car floats down the river to collide 90 degrees with their car. Airbags would have been nice.
Helicopter Ride of Doom
A helicopter pilot attempts to fly through a cloud of volcano ash and crashes into the street, bounces off the road into a garage, exploding in a ball of flames. The helicopter pilot and passengers all experience SRH.
Fireside Chat
The main cast of characters are pausing to catch their breath from packing when (predictably) the fireplace explodes into a wall of lava and sends them running. They may have escaped the lava, but not my laughter.
Grandma's Skin Peel
After jeopardizing the lives of 4 people, the grandmother realizes that she should try and help save the sinking raft by jumping into the acidic lake to pull it to safety. Her cries of pain are hysterical to hear.
Let's Burn Rubber
Harry attempts to drive his truck through a semi cooled stream of lava, while a larger amount careens toward the vehicle. XBC can almost be added to the lava as it approaches their car...
Paul's Demise
The stubborn vulcanologist who tries to leave the town in a van finds himself caught on a bridge as it is being swept away from the raging river. His attempts to escape are futile. He then exclaims with his facial gestures "Why Me???" The most hilarious part is how quickly the bridge turns into a catapult and vertically throws his body down the river like a rag doll.

*Special Notes:

Dante's Peak marked a new standard in Double Action viewing antics. Along with several friends, I checked out the film at the brand new THX, DTS certified local theater. The party consisted of 1 other certified DA viewer, 1 DA viewer in training, and 2 Buffer Zone bodies. Since the film was seen at 10:15pm on a Tuesday night, we had the entire theater to ourselves. This was a DA viewers dream come true.

During all of the bookmarked scenes, I was achieving full ADPCS, unheard of in any other theater viewing. But in particular during Paul's Demise, I was running up and down the aisles pointing and screaming in laughter at the screen. It was a very exciting experience.

Little did we know, the projectionist was keeping an eye on us during the whole movie and actually brought in some of her co-workers to watch us standing, pointing and laughing at the movie. It is important to note that even in such a theater as this, she was still able to hear our laughter...

At the end of the film, she came down to the exit and spoke with us briefly. These are some of the comments she had:

"Looks like we need to add seatbelts in here."

"You guys were having so much fun, and laughing so hard, I turned the volume UP..."

"You must have a thing for bridges..." (see Paul's Demise)


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