HTS Moderator , Reviewer
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
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=33089[/img]“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.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=33097[/img]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.
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
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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