In Short: One of the first DVDs released and in terms of sound, one of the very best dvds ever.
Jan De Bont's "Twister" may not be heavy on plot or contain the most wonderful dialogue ever heard, but I think that it certainly does the job providing some serious thrills. Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton play a former couple, both storm chasers, that find themselves reunited when a serious line of storms make themselves known. Soon, the two as well as their crew are chasing a line of deadly tornados. The two have come up with "Dorothy", a weather machine that, if sucked up by a tornado, will take accurate measurements and allow them to study the twister. Unfortunately, a competitor(Cary Elwes) is also racing to try an experimental machine of his own.
The film may lack much in the way of plot, but there are plot points that certainly could be thrown out of the film completely. Paxton's character is about to be married when the film opens to a rather annoying character played by Jamie Gertz. The character is total excess in a film like this. We want to see more in the way of twisters, not totally unnecessary romatic subplots that don't work.
For every full-force scene where the twisters are coming after the duo, there are a few scenes that make for wonderfully effective chills: cinematographer Jack M. Green ("Speed 2") capturing Hunt and Paxton frozen in place as a twister comes out of the darkness to attack a drive-in movie theater as well as a few other scenes that are quite good.
Performances by Paxton and especially Hunt are quite enjoyable in a movie that certainly may not provide much in the way of plot, but certainly succeeds in thrills.
The DVD VIDEO: A lot of people complained about the quality of the image on this release back when it first came out. It certainly may not consistently look perfect, but I think that it certainly consistently looks good, if not very good. The biggest complaint that I read was that the twisters themselves look a little too "muddy". The only instance where I would very slightly agree with that is during a couple of shots of the last tornado. Otherwise, I think all of the tornado/FX scenes look great. Colors are excellent throughout, appearing consistently vivid and natural. Detail is fine as well. There are no instances that I saw of any pixelization or shimmering.
SOUND: Along with the remix of "Das Boot", this is easily one of the most impressive sound mixes I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. Although I can appreciate the great sound of a lot of the sci-fi films out there today("Armageddon", etc), I always appreciate more a sound mix that can replicate something out of reality, whether it be the sounds of being on a submarine(Das Boot, Crimson Tide) or even better, the sounds of weather, like "Twister".
The amount of force that this sound mix contains is nothing short of that of a freight train plowing through the room. The sounds of full-force winds whip throughout the entire room with a deep, thunderous rumble and amazing clarity. Some great uses of thunder as well. The first tornado scene is really a fine example, with serious bass and great detail as the barn in the background is torn to pieces and thrown about. Dialogue sounds pretty darn good concidering all that's going on around the characters throughout. Mark Mancina's score also comes across loud and clear. In terms of sound, this is a classic.
MENUS: Fairly basic main menus.
EXTRAS: The trailer(1.85:1).(The laserdisc had both trailers, letterboxed at 2.35:1).
Final Thoughts: Certainly one of, if not the most incredible sound mixes I've ever heard. Absolutely amazing.
The Film: 85/B = (425/500 possible points)
Video: 85/B = (340/400 possible points)
Audio: 100/A+ = (400/400 possible points)
Extras: 75/C = (225/300 possible points)
Menus: 70/C- = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 85/B = (255/300 possible points)
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