Twister

Twister wisely jumps the gun on the summer blockbuster season.

Doubtless you've heard all about Twister's incredible sound and visual effects, but there are some other good points. For one thing, Anne-Marie Martin is probably the reason that the development of Jo Harding's character, such as there is, surpasses Laura Dern's science gal in Jurassic Park; for her part, Helen Hunt is better than both Dern and Sandra Bullock in Speed (the splashy debut of Twister director Jan De Bont). She's both obsessed and fearless, which doesn't always make for attractive, decorous behavior, and unlike nearly all females in action flicks, she drives this movie equally with (perhaps more than) Bill Paxton. Moreover, Twister champions scrappiness and ingenuity, eccentricity and obsession in its characters--albeit, paradoxically, in a totally mainstreamed form. Jonas is made to look like he doesn't know shit about tornados because he's so reliant on computers and corporate dollars, while Bill's out there smelling the air, scrutinizing the sky, sifting dirt from his fingers. He's developed a sixth sense about these things.

So Twister is hardly abominable; but considering the ever-shorter lifespan of blockbusters (not to mention the slew of other gargantuan films about to be unleashed), I wouldn't be surprised if, like a real tornado, its force at the box office dissipates rather abruptly. Unless, of course, a rash of super-destructive funnel clouds provides a killer real-life tie-in. CP

Twister is playing at area theaters.

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