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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was looking forward to seeing Tornado Alley for quite some time.
During the course of the Discovery Channel Series, it was made clear
that Casey was filming for another movie that was going to take the
footage we typically see on Discover to the next level by throwing it
up on IMAX. Chasers was essentially a "Behind the Scenes" of Casey's
film. Using a revolutionary Tornado-Proof Car, Casey promises
unprecedented Tornado footage.
But the so called Tornado documentary wasn't really a documentary about Tornadoes at all. Instead, the documentary is really about Casey and spends a majority of the film showing his vehicle, its construction and his efforts to get the golden shot of the interior of a tornado. Given that the resources of the car and his camera equipment were put into capturing tornadoes, I was surprised how little tornado footage is actually in the film. And for a vehicle that is supposed to be able to go where no car can go, I wondered how there were so many exterior shots of the car chasing down funnel clouds. Are they being followed by a second tank? In the end, Casey gets his shot. It is the interior of a relatively small tornado by comparison of some other funnels we've seen on Chasers and lasts a brief few seconds...it is hard to even tell that the vehicle has passed into the threshold of the funnel cloud itself. The audience member beside me echoed my sentiment when she whispered "that's it?" when the climax of the film had passed. I would have been more satisfied with a typical Storm Chasers episode just put up on IMAX.
I think my frustration stems from feeling misled. If I knew the film was about Casey chasing the perfect shot, I wouldn't have felt that I spent way too much money for this 45 minute film that I thought was going to depict tornadoes in the glory of IMAX, not scenes of the back end of a (albeit cool looking) chase vehicle for 30 minutes.
For a 45 minute long movie, I was starting to get worried as the time
ticked by and ticked by and all we saw were trucks driving and people
chatting and I wanted to see Tornadoes on the big screen.
When you finally "do" see the tornado, it only lasts about 10 seconds then it's done and we are back to Bill Paxton's grizzled monotone voice going on about the disappointment of the poor storm chasers (or the viewers?).
I realize that these IMAX movies try to be educational and such (God forbid they make an IMAX movie that's for entertainment-purposes only) so they try to integrate some sort of "research" aspect into a show, but let's face it; "nobody cares about the storm chasers". If we had 2 hours to waste on that kind of filler, it would be more palatable. But for a 45 minute movie?
If you want to see tornadoes, you will have much more luck Googling "Tornadoes" and watching them on YouTube.
This movie was a huge disappointment.
On an unusually rainy May day here in San Diego, we recently took some
friends visiting from Pennsylvania to the impressive Reuben H. Fleet
Space Center's domed IMAX theater to see Tornado Alley. The admission
was a steep $14.95 per person, but included all of the exhibits in the
museum -- which, frankly, I could have done without. The museum is
definitely of interest to school kids, or parents with kids -- all
fine, of course, but it would have been nice if there were a "film
only" price for those of us only interested in seeing the movie.
Once we waited for what seemed an incredibly long time for them to empty the theater from the previous showing (although the place was not crowded), we finally got seated. While I found the film interesting, and appreciated the "behind the scenes" look at what the tornado chasers do, I have to say that the overall impression was that the end credits started rolling just when the action seemed to get going. I realize this is a documentary and not Hollywood's version of tornado chasing, but for all the build-up, there were just a few seconds of actually being surrounded and inside a tornado, and then boom -- film over.
Don't get me wrong -- if you are a science lover, or have kids and love those kind of exhibits and museums, this is a great thing to do. But for four adults, I'd have to say we felt a little short-changed.
Just saw this movie at the San Diego Science center IMAX dome and boy
was I disappointed. Instead of seeing massive twisters and fully
utilizing the giant dome of the theater, it was like watching an
episode of storm chasers on a large screen. Mind-grindingly boring. 99%
of the film is watching cars being driven from A to B and hearing
stupid radio transmissions using storm-chaser lingo. Paxton should
patent his voice as a sleeping aid. I was so disappointed that I asked
for my money back.
This movie should not be put on the large screen and tickets should not be $16. It is as dry as sawdust.
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