To start off with, Volcano is worth more than a dollar if you saw Dante’s Peak. If you live in LA, I bet it’s worth a little more to see your city up in flames…again. The dialogue is predictable in a general action/disaster movie style, characterization is at a minimum, yadda yadda yadda. The lava looks very cool. The sound sounds very cool. The models of the various city landmark look great. Unlike Dante’s Peak, this lava actually melts stuff like plastic, rubber, and metal. Cars melt, and that is cool. However, there are plenty of silly little gaffes and “Um, why would….” type moments, but overall Volcano is what you make of it.
I had a small group together and we insisted on eating together afterward so we could tear apart the movie. Inevitable comparisons to Dante’s Peak occurred, and I will share some with you here. Dante’s Peak had a more believable couple with Pierce ‘I’m So Yummy” Brosnan and Linda “I Can be Soft and Feminine Too!” Hamilton. Volcano had an actual volcano that actually destroyed stuff, rather than just causing earthquakes, acidic water, and ash.
DP had agonizingly bad dialogue and blazingly obvious gaffes like a town meeting where they say DON’T DRINK THE WATER while imbibing sparkling ice water. Volcano had an abrupt lava eruption in the middle of downtown with only 100 casualties. DP had an actual dormant volcano coming back to life. Volcano had the La Brea tar pits with heartburn. I’m no vulcanologist….but neither were any of these people. Between these two movies I know less about Volcanos than I did before.
Classic Volcano banter: “What will come up (from the volcano)?” “Magma.” “What’s that?” “Lava.” If they need to explain to audiences who were drawn to the movie by the possibility of seeing Angelyn burned up by a Volcano, don’t you think they have an idea that Magma is that groovy hot orange stuff that melts rock? The Lava was actually quite cool, did I mention that?
I even took notes during the movie but some of them will give away too many great laughs that we had. It’s not as bad as Anaconda, though. Think of it as a ratio: Anaconda : The Relic : : Dante’s Peak : Volcano.
None of these are Oscar Winners, and so few are good popcorn movies.
Rent The Ghost and the Darkness instead – it was woefully underrated. For Volcano, go to a dollar show (or sneak in – it’s really a big screen type deal).
*Note: the original rating for both these movies was Dollar Movie; this rating has been discontinued. The closest approximation is something between Catch the Network Premiere and Catch it on HBO. Sorry kids.
MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 4/25/97
Time in minutes 105
Director Mick Jackson
Studio 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 1997
Time in minutes 109
Director Roger Donaldson