Bad Movie Review: Dante’s Peak

Today I will be reviewing the 1997 Pierce Brosnan volcano epic Dante’s Peak.  The film follows Volcanologist Harry Dalton as he investigates the volcano that lies “dormant” or “sleeping” or “cinematic tension buildingly inactive” near the town of Dante’s Peak.  In a great foreshadowing move, the town has just been voted the “Second Most Desirable Place To Live in the United States”. How appropriate. Why second best? Because either it being number one would be WAY too cliché or the First Place Loser Award was too harsh.  The point is, this town is a little slice of heaven and its about to get blow’d up. The mayor of the town is Rachel Wando, played by John Conner’s mom from the Terminator movies.  Lets get the obvious out of the way: Pierce is way out of her league in the attractive department.

Sexy sexy science right here ladies
Ok, that’s been said, lets move on.  As far as the volcano buildup goes its basically the tried and true formula of “Man sees things and has the gut feeling that something is wrong and no one believes him and he turns out to be right about freaking EVERYTHING”. The guy is not wrong about one single thing in the movie. Brosnan is to volcanoes as House is to medicine and being a jerk.

Pierce is not amused with your unbelief.

Things progress predictably between Pierce and Ehhh Mayor Wando as they eventually end up standing nose to nose in the kitchen on the same night the volcano blows up (surprise Hollywood timing). Then things become a little more spicy as Brosnan compares adult fun time to riding a bicycle with “You know what they say, its just like riding a bicycle. Once you learn how, you never forget.” It’s pretty much straight out of the James Bond Corny One-Liner Handbook, but sweet mercy you want to believe him.
Not pictured: Bicycle
The real meat of the film is when the mountain blows up, and there are some pretty decent action/disaster scenes.  But the beating heart that drives the disaster portions of the movie is the absolutely HORRIBLE decisions that characters make. First of all, Rachel’s kids decide to drive the car up the erupting mountain to go get their grandma (who had already refused to leave beforehand when they called her) and of course Pierce and Wando have to go after them. This dumb decision basically is what causes everything else in the movie to happen because wouldn’t you know, they all get stuck on the mountain. Who would have thunk?
“Hello, screenwriters? Do we really have to be THAT dumb for the plot to advance?”
This turn of events leads them to escape in a boat across a lake to avoid the lava, but the lava starts turning the lake to acid. Naturally the boat starts disentigrating and panic and cinematic tension ensue.  Then in one of the most MINDBOGGLING moments I’ve ever seen in a movie, the grandma does this to help the boat reach the dock.

“I immediately regret this decision”
Are you serious? They were 5 feet away. That’s like 3.1 seconds of paddle time. They could have made it in two if they didn’t have to stop paddling and yell at the mad woman in waste deep acid water for no reason whatsoever. The sight of her post-acid lower half is something out of a Saw movie… and there was no reason for it. Unreal. What follows are moments of utter ridiculousness such as driving a truck over lava, outrunning a demon volcano smoke monster into a mine shaft and then watching Pierce’s arm pull a Joe Theisman (hint: it breaks). They eventually get rescued, everyone lives and Pierce and Ehhh Mayor Wando ride the rescue helicopter off into the sunset. The end.

Hopefully there won’t be any talk of bicycles.
Overall its not a bad movie. It’s certainly entertaining, though very far fetched. Certain things to realize about this movie:
  • The only thing that separates this movie from a Bond movie is denim.
  • A member of the volcano crew is named Terry.  There’s a scene where him and Harry are yelling for each other. Its kinda confusing
  • Another member of the team kinda looks like Grant from Mythbusters
  • In one scene every bad shirt demographic is represented: Flannel, Tropical and Denim.

 I say check the movie out. Have some funny people around and have some fun with it. Another movie review coming soon!
Random Thought of the Day
You know seagulls that just sit and look at you? I don’t like them. Unless they said MI!! like in Finding Nemo. Then it would be hilarious.

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