Twister (Two-Disc Special Edition)


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Rating: PG-13

Helen Hunt as Dr. Jo Harding
Bill Paxton as Bill Harding
Cary Elwes as Dr. Jonas Miller
Jami Gertz as Dr. Melissa Reeves
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dustin Davis
Lois Smith as Meg Greene
Alan Ruck as Robert ‘Rabbit’ Nurick
Sean Whalen as Allan Sanders
Scott Thomson as Jason ‘Preacher’ Rowe
Todd Field as Tim ‘Beltzer’ Lewis
Joey Slotnick as Joey
Wendle Josepher as Haynes
Jeremy Davies as Laurence
Zach Grenier as Eddie
Gregory Sporleder as Willie

Special Features:
Disc 1: Digitally Remastered Movie
Commentary by Director Jan De Bont and Visual Effects Supervisor Stefen Fangmeier
Theatrical Trailers

Disc 2: Special Features
New Featurette Chasing the Storm: “Twister” Revisited
The History Channel Documentary Nature Tech: Tornadoes
Anatomy of a Twister
HBO First Look: The Making of “Twister”
Van Halen “Humans Being” Music Video

Other Info:
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French Subtitles
Running Time: 113 Minutes

The following is from the DVD description:

“A mile-wide 300 miles-per-hour force of total devastation is coming at you! In this adventure swirling with cliffhanging excitement and awesome special effects Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton play scientists pursuing the most destructive weatherfront to sweep through mid-America’s Tornado Alley in 50 years. By launching electronic sensors into the funnel the storm chasers hope to obtain data to create an improved warning system. But to do so they must intercept the twisters’ deadly path. The chase is on! Now enjoy this all new 2-Disc Special Edition taken from the digitally remastered film elements with awesome bonus features. Experience the fury like never before!”

“Twister” is rated PG-13 for intense depiction of very bad weather.

I hadn’t watched “Twister” since it came out in 1996. At the time it was the big summer blockbuster. It was hailed for its impressive special effects. It had a lot of interest because of Jan De Bont and his history with “Speed.” So does it hold up 12 years later? Yes and no.

The CGI was a major draw of the film at the time. But after all this time audiences have come to expect bigger and bigger effects spectacles. The tornado scenes are still cool and fun to watch, but they don’t have the ‘Wow!’ factor that they used to. Fortunately, the cast still makes up for it.

Everyone remembers that Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt were in “Twister,” but I had completely forgotten that Philip Seymour Hoffman was in it as one of the grad students. (A lot can change in someone’s career over 12 years!) I also didn’t realize that Jeremy Davies, the new scientist character from “Lost,” was in this film. It was a bit surreal to discover that these bit players had gone on to bigger and better things. They fortunately had a fun story to work with and everyone had a moment to shine. Throw in a script by Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg executive producing and you have an entertaining film.

If you haven’t seen “Twister,” this is a special effects movie you’ll want to check out. If you already own it on DVD, is this version worth picking up? Probably not. It has all the bonus features of the earlier editions plus a couple of new ones. There’s a retrospective, but the only people that take part in it are Jan De Bont, Bill Paxton, and Stefen Fangmeier. You won’t find Crichton, Hunt, or Hoffman. Also included is a documentary from the History Channel on tornadoes. It’s interesting but it had no other connection to the film. These two new featurettes probably aren’t worth the extra expense.