Into the Storm - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 5 Old 11-16-14, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
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Into the Storm - Blu-ray Review

Title: Into the Storm


HTS Overall Score:83

For some reason we are fascinated with what can kill us. We love movies about people doing impossible stunts, wild animals, forces of nature. We’re both scared by them, and attracted at the same time. Disaster movies like this are always a weird pull as the awe inspiring ability that mother nature can elicit from us is tempered by the humbling fact that she can squash us like a bug at any times. The same goes for the destruction. In real life we’re horrified by what a tornado can do, but in the fantasy land of movies we sit with a gleeful smile on our face and stare in awe at the sheer might and destruction that tornado can impart upon its victims. It’s been done a million times really. “Volcano”, “2012”, “The Day After Tomorrow”, the list goes on for miles, and “Into the Storm” is another notch in Mother Nature’s belt. It honestly brings nothing new to the table, but if you enjoy a good natural disaster flick than it still delivers all the goods that you want to see.

Our tale follows the intersecting lives of three groups of people. The first belongs to Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress), with their father, Gary (Thorin Oakenshield…errrrrr…. Richard Armitage). Living in hurricane alley all they can think about is getting out from under their father’s thumb. Gary lost his wife a few years ago and is struggling to raise two teenage boys on his own, and also deal with them at school since he’s their vice-principal. The second group is a group of storm chasers, helmed by Pete (Matt Walsh), a no nonsense guy who’s filming a documentary on storms, his assistant Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) and a pair interns to run the film equipment. Locked and loaded with a tank like truck to weather the storms and a lot of equipment, they’re loaded for bear..or at least storms. The last group is your typical hillbilly rednecks who are looking to replicate the success and stupidity of the “Jackass” crew, and are hot on the heels of the approaching storm in order to get famous.

Donnie is off filming his high school graduation only to be sidetracked by his lifelong crush and roped into filming a small project for her in the outskirts of town, while Trey and Gary hold down the fort at school. This small detour in his day creates a chain of events that will soon either save or destroy his life. All the characters above soon converge as the storm chasers chase a simple tornado into their peaceful life. This small tornado turns out to be MUCH more than they anticipated as it breaks off in to different funnels and starts wreaking havoc across the small town. After the first wave passes it becomes obvious that this will not let up, and more tornados start touching down all over the place. Gary, realizing that Donnie is gone, sets out to find his son before it’s too late, roping in Allison and Pete as well once they realize the storm is heading straight for Donnie’s location.

“Into the Storm” is not exactly going to rivet you to your seat with the amazing script, or the fantastic acting, but we all know why we’re watching this. We want to see the tornados tear up the entire place, lifting up Boeing 747’s like they were only a few lbs. and to see entre buildings leveled in an instant. In that case the movie delivers pretty impressively. It’s not as ambitious as some other movies that tend to focus on the end of the whole WORLD, but rather the lives affected by a small Midwestern town. Still, we’re privy to a great set of touchdowns and some amazing shots, one that comes to mind in particular is watching a funnel suck up a fire and turn itself into a flaming twister. The first section of the movie tends to drag just a hair, but once the first touchdown happens, the action really picks up and doesn’t let go. The finale with the giant twister was actually really impressive, and while it doesn’t have the scope some of its brethren have, I felt it gave more than enough bang for your buck in the action department.

The actors were all rather decent, but they are also limited by the script, which is mainly there to form a framework for the tornados to come in and wreak havoc on. Thorin Oakenshi….sorry, Richard Armitage, is easily the best actor out of the bunch, but he’s mainly relegated to looking tall and stately, growling out commands for the majority of the film. The kids did a solid job, as really all we’re expecting from them is to run in terror from Mother Nature. As stupid as they were, the inclusion of the two rednecks gave just enough levity to the movie to keep it from getting too serious and too full of itself. Jon Reep (the “It’s a Hemi!” guy) was perfect as the storm chasing moron and the final scene with them gave me a chuckle.


Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense destruction and peril, and language including some sexual references

“Into the Storm” comes to Blu-ray with an absolutely sumptuous image. The film is shot entirely on digital cameras and looks incredibly clean and detailed, even amidst the chaos and helter skelter of a tornado. There are a couple instances where the point of view is shot through a secondary camera of lower quality, like the school surveillance system, but other than those short bits the film is absolutely resplendent. Shot with a nice blue overtone that leans toward the darker side of the light spectrum, we have plenty of dark greys, blues, greens etc to give the image plenty of pop. When the image is set outside the storm, it’s bright and cheery, full of life and primary colors. When the storm hits the image gets dark and hazy real quick, and even with the low level of light there is always plenty of fine detail to go around. The camera work is pretty much all hand held and a little jerky as a result, but they focus on long takes which makes up for the slight irritant of a constantly shifting camera. Black levels never fail to impress, and really there’s very little in the picture quality department that I can truly gripe about. Excellent image all the way around.

The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track isn’t going to disappoint in any way shape of form either. I usually love the audio for a disaster movie, for they tend to be wildly aggressive and incredibly immersive. Thankfully I wasn’t let down, as this track is absolutely phenomenal! Dialogue is always crisp and clear, even amidst the rush and roar of the storm, and only drowned out when it was appropriate in the situation. The whole movie was like being in the eye of the tornado, as the surrounds, the fronts, the center and the subs just never stopped, giving you that 360 degree field of immersion that makes a disaster movie so much fun. The LFE was jaw droppingly powerful, combined with some amazing dynamic range. One moment the characters would be chatting about getting out and the next moment your whole house feels like it’s lifting off the foundation. The Bass is always there, but I noticed it didn’t dig as deep as it could have, but stayed in that pulse pounding stage, which has its own set of pros and cons.


• Into the Storm: Tornado Files
• Titus - The Ultimate Storm Chasing Vehicle
• Fake Storms, Real Conditions


‘Into the Storm” doesn’t try too hard to be something that it’s not. It’s simplistic, it has a short tale to tell and really we’re all here to just watch the tornado tear things up. It got trashed in the theatrical reviews, but I find that if you go in with the expectation of watching a disaster movie, just to watch the disaster, then you should be well pleased. Audio and video are simply stunning, and while there’s not a whole heap of extras I was pleased with the release. Definitely a decent rental when you want to watch the world burn.

Additional Information:

Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wynn Callies, Matt Walsh
Directed By: Steven Quale
Written By: John Swetman
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 89 Minutes
Own “Into the Storm” on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital HD on November 18th

Buy Into the Storm Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Check It Out

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post #2 of 5 Old 11-16-14, 06:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Into the Storm - Blu-ray Review

Warner Brothers has also given us a Q and A session with the director and is posted below for your enjoyment

Q: What is it like directing actors with the added distraction of extreme weather elements?

A: It was a real challenge to get a performance with all the distracting noises of the wind machines and rain towers. The loud noise of the equipment made communication very difficult and I had to rely on hand signals. One advantage to all the wind and rain is that it gave the actors something real to play against when shooting with green screens.

Q: What is the most exciting part about directing high-energy, intense films?

A: The most exciting thing about directing high-energy, intense films is taking the audience into a world that feels real.

Q: What can you tell us about Titus and how similar is it to a real storm chasing vehicle?

A: The Titus was designed by David Sanderford and has the same functions that a real storm chasing vehicle would have. The most important features are two hydraulic outriggers that can fire spikes into the ground to hold the vehicle in place during the 100 mile per hour winds of a Tornado. The Titus also has a motorized turret that allows a camera to photography a 360 degree view of any severe weather systems.

Q: What special features can we expect to see on the Blu-ray / DVD?

A: The Blu-ray/DVD for "Into the Storm" will have several behind the scenes features showing how we were able to realistically recreate the weather conditions of a tornado. It also has a segment where world famous storm chaser Reed Timmer explains all of the types of tornados in or film and how they compare to the real ones that he has chased.

Q: What interested you in this story and joining as Director?

A: What attracted me to "Into the Storm" is being able to take the audience right into the center of a tornado. To experience what it is like to see and hear the unimaginable power that a tornado can unleash. I also wanted to explore how different people react to such an extreme event.

Q: How is Into the Storm different from previous tornado movies?

A: “Into the Storm” benefits from the advances in visual effects over the years so the tornados look much more realistic. It also differs from other tornado movies in that we are not just following storm-chasers – we have a diverse group of unrelated people who are thrust together during the adversity of the storm and we get to experience how each of the different people react under the pressure of the storm.

Q: How does the film mix big visual effects with a grounded human element?

A: You experience the tornados through the eyes of the main characters and thus you have a vested interest in what everyone does.

Q: You have an extensive background in visual effects. Tell us about what went into making this film look and feel real.

A: The most important thing to make this film look real was weeks and weeks of extensive research. I studied every single video of any severe weather and tornado footage I could find. Every major type of tornado was based on actual footage of real tornados. In addition to the visuals I insisted on having the sound feel as real as possible and that is where academy award winning sound supervisor Par Hallberg shined with his amazing soundscape. You really feel like you are in a tornado with the rumbling sound.

Q: Did the film require practical effects in addition to visual effects?

A: The films visual effects work so effective because they are a mix of practical physical effects such as wind machines and rain towers combined with the digital tornados and debris. For the last half of the film, almost every shot required rain and wind machines. We dropped a real truck in close proximity with Richard Armitage.

Q: How did the tornadoes act like characters in the film?

A: “Into the Storm” has several different types of tornados ranging from thing rope tornados, fire tornado to a large two mile wide wedge shaped tornado. Each of these tornados act like characters in that they have unique qualities that make them different.

Q: Why do you think audiences are so interested in disaster films?

A: People are always drawn to what scares them and they love to experience something that takes them on a thrill ride in the safety of movie going experience at home or in the theater.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-30-15, 06:00 AM
Keith Mitchell
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Re: Into the Storm - Blu-ray Review

Wife and I watched this movie on Blu-ray last night. Quite enjoyable, sound was good which made the movie, nice amount of couch vibrating LFE when the tornadoes got close. Effects generally pretty good and believable. Recommended if you find it cheap.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-30-15, 09:35 AM
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Re: Into the Storm - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the review. I checked the trailer and it looks impressive. Lots of special effects. Will get this as a rental. I did like that 1996 movie "twister".

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post #5 of 5 Old 11-30-15, 04:41 PM
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tripplej wrote: View Post
Thanks for the review. I checked the trailer and it looks impressive. Lots of special effects. Will get this as a rental. I did like that 1996 movie "twister".
I enjoyed Twister better but still Into the Storm is a good rental.
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