Other Media Review

Movie Review: Into the Storm


Title: Into the Storm
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

I wasn’t really planning on reviewing this, but look at this suave dude.

And I will admit that when I first saw the previews for Into the Storm I said, “We have this movie already, it’s called Twister!  It had a flying cow, and the whole airplanes being smashed thing is just trying to top the flying cow.”

However, this did manage to differentiate itself from Twister, and made some clever use of in-universe cameras, and also Richard Armitage spends most of it soaking wet, so…  I’ll allow it.  For science.


Richard Armitage, soaking wet in a rainstorm

So the basic plot is that there’s a series of once in a lifetime storms converging on the Plains, and Pete (Matt Walsh) is a documentary film maker trying to make the Next Big Tornado documentary.  He’s got a small crew with him, including a metorologist, Allison (Sarah Wayne Callis), and he’s built this ridiculous stormchasing car that’s full of Chekov’s toys – a winch, ground anchors that’ll hold up to 170 MPH winds (but we know from the trailers that winds hit 300 mph, so…) and all the cameras ever.  The storm hits a high school containing Vice Principle Jerry, a widower with two sons who are also students at the school.  Both kids are film-making buffs, so they have cameras everywhere.

So circumstance warrant that everyone is chasing around town trying to find Son #1 who skipped school to help his crush film an application video, while Son #2  stays with his dad, and they meet up with the storm chasers, and then there’s a couple of YouTube idiots trying to make it big.  It’s as ridiculous as you expect, and there’s a fire tornado. 

So if you’ve, you know, EVER seen a movie before, like, EVER, you’ll see most of the plot coming from about 7 miles away.  Chekov’s knife!  Chekov’s hole in the floor!  Chekov’s lines about Things That Will Be Important Later! 

One thing that the movie did well (trust me, you don’t go see this movie about the plot, you go see it for the pretty people and the destruction porn) is that a lot of the shots are from in-universe cameras.  Everyone is walking around with a movie camera in their pocket (you are too, probably) and Son #1 is in this abandoned factory with his camera equipment, Son #2 has his handheld, and there’s a one of the documentary crew that you never see (I kept counting noses because I was sure we were missing somebody) that’s integral to the story because he’s the one filming a lot of it.  (Luckily they don’t Blair Witch it up with the shaky cam unless the camera has been sucked up by one of the tornados – it’s a conceit, not the reality, thank god). 

I grew up in Minnesota, and we had regular bouts of bad weather- there was a stump in our backyard that was from a tree that was knocked down by a tornado before we moved in, and we had the tornado siren test every first Wednesday of the month at 1 pm during the season, and there were at least two times I remember going to the shelter area at school and assuming the position.  (We were on the very north end of tornado alley.) 

(This is why you will often see me on Twitter being a little blaise about severe weather in Boston, because this is not Midwestern severe weather and it doesn’t really concern me.  I’ve been here for 11 years.  Though we have had two tornados near Boston in three years.  That’s concerning.) 

Anyway, I discussed this with my BFF who lived in Kansas and Missouri for most of her life, and we both agreed that the light was wrong, and the dirt was wrong (this took place in Oklahoma, but was filmed in Michigan), and I do not believe that kids who had grown up in Oklahoma wouldn’t know a) what position to assume in the hallway during a tornado and 2) what the freight train sound during a severe thunderstorm meant.  Come on.  They know what that means.  They wouldn’t look around going “oh fuck, what’s that?” They’d duck and cover.  We all know that sound.  COME ON. 

My BFF said that because the light was wrong for that part of the country, it meant she could sit back and enjoy the ride, rather than freak out.  I was kind of amused by my Pavlovian response to the tornado siren sound – I felt my adrenline spike, and I knew that it was just the movie. During the drills at school, the siren would go off, and as one, we’d all look out the window, then look at the clock, and if it was 1 pm, we’d all shrug and go back to whatever we were doing.  Even the teacher. 

More Richard Armitage soaking wet in a shirt in the rain

Things were a little bit on the nose, like a discussion about how “once in a lifetime” storms now happen about once a year (name drops included Katrina, Sandy, and Joplin).  And by studying them, maybe we can know before they hit places like LA or Chicago.  The disaster porn was a very “look at all these empty buildings being destroyed” They never mention the number of people who were killed by this super storm, and I think they were hoping we wouldn’t notice that there’s no way a bunch of people didn’t die.  Hand waving “Well, we told everyone to take shelter!” is not going to work.  (Like, Guardians of the Galaxy did say before the giant starship crashed into a city that they had successfully evacuated the city.  That handwave I’ll accept, but this was a noticeable omission.)  The giant tornado went over an airport, for fuck’s sake. 

So it’s not a GOOD movie.  But it was an enjoyable hour and a half (the low point was the preview for Interstellar which I am utterly tired of already), and hey. 

Armitage and wet clothes. 

I think that’s the important thing here.

Richard Armitage saying If Thorin was in the middle of the tornado he'd get all tangled up in his hair.

Into the Storm is in theaters now and you can find tickets and showtimes at Moviefone and Fandango (US). 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Vicki says:

    Having just Sharknadoed, this looks like what I should be seeing next.

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    The fact that you have used Sharknado as a verb makes me immeasurably happy.

  3. 3
    Alice in Nova Scotia says:

    Always loved disaster movies, (Earthquake, Twister, Day After Tomorrow), I guess I’ll have to go see this, now.  BTW, I have two sons, their names are Matt & Pete.  Guess what my last name is, yup, Walsh :))!

  4. 4
    CK says:

    Wet Armitage? Sold! Didn’t even know he was in it. I wanted to watch it for the destruction porn (loved Volcano/Twister), but now I have an even better reason ;)

  5. 5
    denise says:

    I grew up on the East Coast, and we knew which position to take in the hall during a disaster—but that was during the cold war.

    If I went, it would be for Richard.

  6. 6
    CarrieS says:

    are you supped to hide under your desk?  Because here in California, that’s what kids are supped to do if under attack from shooters, earthquakes, or nuclear bombs.  Makes me wonder what those desks are made of, precisely.

  7. 7
    Converseleigh says:

    As someone who has lived in Joplin, and had relatives who lost their homes to that tornado there;  I really loved the concept that we have to learn about tornados before they hit somewhere important like LA or Chicago.

  8. 8
    Redheadedgirl says:

    No, you go into an interior hallway, and crouch in the fetal position with your hands protecting your neck and the back of your head.  (and kiss your ass goodbye!)

    @Converseleigh, I think the idea was supposed to be “a storm hits a massively populated place where no one knows how to react!” (Lord knows Bostonians have no idea what to do during tornado weather) but yeah, it did come off pretty bad.

  9. 9
    Maura says:

    A dear friend who thinks more of Richard Armitage than I do convinced me to go with her because I am a good friend. It felt more like a Sunday afternoon on TNT than a wide-released movie. One thing my friend did tell me afterwards was that two of the “ZOMG NEVAR BEFORE!” weather patterns (handful of simultaneous funnels, two tornadoes converging into a meganado) actually did happen between the movie’s filming and its release. nSo that was interesting.

  10. 10
    Silver James says:

    I live in the middle of Tornado Central, ie. central Oklahoma, where this movie allegedly took place. I won’t be going to see it as I’ve lived through the May 3, 1999 storm that changed the Fujita Scale measuring tornadoes. It DID have 300 mph winds. Last year, on May 20, 2013, another massive EF5 storm hit the Oklahoma City metroplex (population of around 1 million—I’d say we qualify as a BIG city) and children died in a school that was hit. The widest tornado ever measured, that killed well-know tornado chaser and researcher, Tim Samaras, hit on May 31 of that year, in El Reno, on the west side of the metro area. I don’t need to go to the movies, I can step out my door, or watch them live on the local weather.

    Trust me, the people here know what to do. We wouldn’t be standing around with our thumbs up our butts waiting for some outsider to tell us what to do.

    /end rant

  11. 11
    Mina Lobo says:

    I went for Armitage and was on the edge of my seat for nearly the whole movie. I don’t typically go for disaster movies, especially when kids are involved (ever since I had my son, 19 years ago, I haven’t been able to watch movies/TV shows or read books in which kids are imperiled in any serious, real-life way). There was a lot of parental angst with Armitage’s character not relating very well to his kids and his kids being tools and all that nonsense. There was a stretch in the film (SLIGHT SPOILAGE COMING) where dad’s trying to reach older kid while all hell’s breaking loose, and older kid’s actually in some serious trouble that totally kicked me right in the solar plexus. Seeing Armitage futilely dialing kid’s number and going straight to voicemail reminded me of several similar occurrences with my own asshat kid and just…ugh. Friggin’ kids.

    ANYWAY – wet Armitage, repeatedly saving the day = hell to the yeah, parental agita notwithstanding.

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