Dante’s Peak - * *

Dante’s Peak is a rather typical distaster film, with above average special effects, and below average characters. Pierce Brosnan is a volcano expert who is given a token tragedy at the beginning of the film in lieu of actual character development. Anyhow, let it be known that he is a troubled scientist. The town of Dante’s Peak is nestled snuggly at the base of a dormant volcano, and is a picture perfect community that was selected as the 2nd best small town in the country. Linda Hamilton is the town’s mayor, a single mother of two who also happens to be the owner of a small Dante’s Peak coffee shop. When signs point to the volcano’s awakening, Brosnan and his gang of volcano-watching scientists are called in to observe. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a disaster movie if the volcano proved to truly be dormant, or if the town’s community was evacuated in time. Lets suffice it to say that the film’s creative staff seem to take a peculiar glee in discovering all the different ways in which people can get killed or injured by a volcano…never the same way twice. It’s too bad that they didn’t apply this creativity onto the characters. Twister showed that a distaster flick with great effects can suffer flat characters and still be enjoyable. Unfortunately, Dante’s Peak takes that a step too far. The characters in Dante’s Peak are not only flat…they’re plain stupid. In fact, the screenplay has to go to some strange lengths to explain their survival. It goes so far that you find yourself wishing the volcano would finally just up and get them, in order to clean out the gene pool. But at least when the volcano is spewing away, your interest is taken elsewhere. The special effects in Dante’s Peak are spectacular…if the characters weren’t so distracting, you might actually enjoy them.

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