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   DANTE'S PEAK (1997) 

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CAST
Pierce Brosnan
Linda Hamilton
Jeremy Foley
Jamie Renee Smith
Elizabeth Hoffman
Charles Hallahan
Grant Heslov

DIRECTED BY
Roger Donaldson

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 95 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action/Disaster/Drama


Despite its high-class cast, and my secret love of disaster movies, DANTE'S PEAK is not a film I chose to see. It was the only entertainment on a transAtlantic flight and I figured what the hell. I only had 12 hours to kill. My time would have been better spent staring out the window watching the sun set for 8 hours. God knows I gave it a real chance. I had NOTHING else to do. My confidence was further shaken by the fact that there was another death-by-lava film out there (the aptly name VOLCANO), which never bodes well. I doubted, and I was right, that two good scripts could come out of the same type of disaster. This concept was proved correct yet again in the other recent race to the script finish line of ARMAGEDDON and DEEP IMPACT. My horror at the film unfurling before my eyes was not from the terror of the sudden volcanic explosion, but from the terrible acting and awful dialogue. This may be a special effects film, but it seems like the screenwriter just threw a bunch of cliches together and called it a day.

It was devastating to see two A-list actors spout such garbage in the name of entertainment. When Pierce Brosnan uttered to Linda Hamilton, "Well, it's just like riding a bike, once you learn you never forget," just as they're about to get horizontal, I couldn't take it anymore. I can't believe someone was paid to write that. Why Brosnan didn't demand an immediate rewrite of that line or just refuse to say it altogether, is also a mystery. If you were Linda Hamilton's character, and even if you hadn't had sex in 4 years you would laugh in the face of any man who said that to you. Of course, you'd still sleep with him if he looked like Pierce Brosnan, but really. Is this the best they could come up with? The romance was clearly tacked on to get female butts into theater seats and is not the main reason people paid to see this movie, but if you're going to bother at least make it believable. What most of the audience wants to see is things blowing up and getting trashed by molten lava. In that respect, the film delivers. Hell they destroy an entire town. The events that lead up to the eruption aren't really interesting or important. All you need to know is they should have evacuated, but didn't.


"I've always been better at feeling out volcanoes than people and politics."

It's up to Brosnan to save the day. The film goes from one ridiculous rescue to another, some people live, some people die. Though somehow the tires on Brosnan's truck withstand the lava. Who knew rubber was so heat resistant? One of many pesky and downright stupid plot points the audience is forced to swallow. Needless to say, everyone who should survive does and a new love is born. As a big fan of disaster films, I have to say my disappointment was palpable. The filmmakers didn't even try to create a compelling story or fleshed out characters to make this event flick more than a mere shell for their fancy special effects. It takes special talent to make one of the sexiest leading men on the planet completely unappealing. The one aspect of the film that did thrill me was that it didn't take place in Los Angeles, which has enough of a PR problem without having every filmmaker making it the disaster capitol of the world. DANTE'S PEAK is a clear example that special effects aren't enough to make a movie worth seeing, unless you're spending millions of dollars to blow up every famous monument on earth. Even then it's a crap shoot. Rushing to reach theaters got them there first, but it certainly didn't make the trip worthwhile.



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