Twister (1996)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking visuals still hold up for the most part

Not much of a story and some so-so acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Twister

Studio:  Amblin Entertainment

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Drama

Release Date(s):  May 17, 1996

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Boy, this tornado is windy!

Dr. Jo Harding (Helen Hunt) lost her father in a F5 tornado as a youth and devoted her life into getting information on how to get earlier alerts.  When her estranged husband Bill (Bill Paxton) returns with his new fiancée Dr. Melissa Reeves (Jami Gertz), Bill finds himself sucked back in with the storm chasers in an attempt to launch a prototype tracking device called Dorothy which needs to be released into the center of a storm.  With competition from a corporate sell-out named Dr. Jonas Miller (Cary Elwes), the race is on and one of the biggest storm systems is coming!


This rustic barn…now tornado lunch!

Directed by Jan de Bont, Twister was a disaster film and an immense success.  Written by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin, the film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound.  It also received Razzie nominations for Worst Supporting Actress for Jami Gertz and Worst Screenplay Grossing Over $100 Million.

Twister is one of those typical popcorn summer blockbuster movies…little substance, big action, and acting that sometimes makes you cringe.  Despite being released almost twenty-years ago (shocking!!!), the film is still quite strong…visually that is.


Oh, Dusty…RIP

The problem with Twister is that there is virtually no core story and the side stories (the divorce and Jo’s past) are so cliché.  Even down to the painfully stereotypical rival, the movie really has no original ideas.  It is just a showcase for the special effects.

The actors also struggle with the movie.  Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton are fine in the movie and better than the lazy script.  The movie is one of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s early roles and he is a scene stealer as Dusty.  Some of the other storm chasers include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’s Alan Ruck as Rabbit, The People Under the Stairs’ “Roach”  Sean M. Whalen as Sanders, director Todd Field as Beltzer, and Lost’s Jeremy Davies as Laurence.  The challenged actors include the almost always overacting Cary Elwes as the rival Dr. Jonas Miller and Jami Gertz who seems to be reading her lines directly from the script…cold.



The visuals of the movie are superior.  The tornados look like real tornados.  With the recent rise of camera phones and cheap camcorders, there seems to be more footage of tornados than in 1996…but these tornados do look like the images seen on the news on a regular basis.  The digital cow however doesn’t quite keep the quality.

Twister is just one of those films that you have to enjoy the ride if you are going to enjoy it at all.  There are some fun tense moments, but for the most part, the film flounders.  Natural disaster films were the big thing in the ’70s and had a minor resurgence starting with this film.  It wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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