"Twister: Two-Disc Special Edition" DVD Review
May 22, 2008 by James Harvey
Every few years, we get a new entry in the "disaster" movie genre. Most are unexceptional movies that tend to speed along, leaving no real impact on both the audience and the box-office. Surprisingly, Twister isn't one of those movies. While it isn't original by any means, it also left a major impact on the viewing audience, becoming both a sensation on the big screen and the small screen. And now, Warner Home Video has opted to dip into the pool again to bring you this remastered edition of Twister. Given that this is the third time, at least, this movie has popped onto DVD, is it worth picking up, yet again? We'll find out after the synopsis!
A mile-wide, 300 miles-per-hour force of total devastation is coming at you! In this adventure swirling with cliffhanging excitement and awesome special effects, Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton play scientists pursuing the most destructive weatherfront to sweep through mid-America’s Tornado Alley in 50 years. By launching electronic sensors into the funnel, the storm chasers hope to obtain data to create an improved warning system. But to do so, they must intercept the twisters’ deadly path. As they get closer and closer to their goal, the danger gets bigger and bigger! The chase is on!
I can remember enjoying this movie in my youth. It was fun, brainless, but, overall, a fun popcorn movie. Sure, you really, really need to shut off your brain for most of the movie and make peace with how blasé and pretty "by the way" the destruction is handled. The destruction of a town is only given a mere afterthought and barely moves the plot forward. But none of the real-life dynamics matter for this movie. We're in it to see adventure, to see action, to see what we can't see in our own lives, which is, basically, tornadoes up close, and this movie, apparently, will have to do.
At the forefront of this disaster movie are actors Bill Pullman and Helen Hunt, playing a soon-to-be divorced couple, thrown together by coincidences that would only work in a movie. Of course, as we all know, these two characters still love each other and once they start falling into their old ways of chasing tornadoes together, come to find their passion rekindled, even if Pullman's new fiancée also happens to be joining them for the ride. Not the world's most original story, but it does move the story along as it needs to. Most importantly, it makes the quiet times between each tornado tolerable.
Surprisingly, this movie does hold up over ten years later, even the special effects. Yes, there are some unconvincing special effects, but, for the most part, they still look really spot-on and could even hold up to today's modestly-budgeted action features. Even the famed CGI-cow could hold up nicely to today's standards. However, for the time, these were the best special effects money could by, which is probably why they hold up (with reservations) today.
And, frankly, that's why we come to see a movie like Twister. We don't come to enjoy it's subtly and deep character performances, but we come to see the big special effects. We come to see the flying cow, the barns ripped apart, the tornadoes ripping through streets and fields. We know that, save for the main characters of the feature, everyone else will be two-dimensional stereotypes that are there only to move the movie along as needed. But, again, we knew what to expect with a movie such as this, and we get it. It's a fast-paced special effects feast, plain and simple. The plot doesn’t really matter at all during the movie because, as viewers, all we want is to get to the next tornado strike. Thankfully, the movie knows what to deliver and does admirably. If you're looking for a fun, brainless disaster movie, or want to revisit one of the big hits of the 1990s, then Twister comes Recommended. This movie is by no means original, but it's still loads of fun.
Warner Home Video has released Twister: Two-Disc Special Edition in a standard Amaray case with no insert or cardboard slipcase. Since this is a two-disc release, the case has a hinged flap able to hold both discs, naturally. The audio and video for this digitally re-mastered release are pretty excellent, especially for a movie that's over ten years old. The picture is nearly crystal clear, though the colors are muted somewhat and there is grain evident. As can be expected, the audio is just as solid and crisp. The multi-channel really brings out the big moments of the film, bring a clear audio experience equal in both the big action sequences and quiet character moments. T
The extras in this release includes commentary by Director Jan De Bont and Visual Effects Supervisor Stefen Fangmeier, theatrical trailers, a "Chasing the Storm: Twister Revisited" featurette, a "The Making of Twister featurette, a "History Channel Documentary: Nature Tech: Tornadoes" documentary, "Anatomy of a Twister" featurette, "HBO First Look," and, finally, a Van Halen Music Video." For those familiar with the special features available on previous Twister DVD "special edition" release will notice that the "Chasing the Storm: Twister Revisited" featurette is the only new special feature added for this release. So, if you own one the previous "special feature," you may want to ask yourself if one new bonus feature and a digitally re-mastered edition of the film is worth picking up.
Thankfully, if you opt to pick up this new release of Twister, you will be able to find it for a reasonable price, guaranteed. Plus, all previous releases of Twister on DVD feature the dreaded "Snapcase" Warner Home Video used up until a few years ago, so getting this movie in the standard Amaray case is an unexpected plus for Twister and DVD fans. So, add together the Amaray packaging, the re-mastered transfer, and a nice chucnk of special features, and this new Twister release makes for a good addition to anyone's DVD collection.
Overall, when it boils down to it, Twister is a fun movie, but kind of . . . stupid. Now, that's pretty obvious from the get-go, and I mean no disrespect to the filmmakers, but once the climax, it's quite obvious what this movie is about - eye candy and special effects. And there's nothing wrong with that. While arrogant film auteurs and the like will say otherwise, there is nothing wrong with giving your brain a rest while letting your eyes indulge on a visual feast, and Twister provides just that. Toss on some likeable leads played by Bill Pullman and Helen Hunt, amazing special effects that can easily hold up to today's standard, and you have an enjoyable two-hour romp. Thankfully, Warner Home Video has included a nice batch of extras for fans of flick, making this a Recommended title.
Twister: Two-Disc Special Edition is now available to own on DVD and Blu-Ray.