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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