Welcome to the House of Crouse. This week we dig into the vault to chat with James Cameron. The Avatar director has just announced he will make four Avataronian sequels and shoot them all at the same time. In this conversation from 2010 Cameron discusses making the original film, “I’ll be back,” and much more.
An exercise in “found footage” handheld camera technique, “Into the Storm’s” story is almost as shaky as its visuals.
Playing like a cross between “Twister,” “Wizard of Oz” and “The Blair Witch Project,” the story is set in Silverton, a small Midwestern American town besieged by tornadoes. In just one twenty-four hour span deadly twisters rip through the town, sending sensible citizens rushing for cover while a storm chasing documentary crew led by director Pete (“Veep’s” Matt Walsh) and meteorologist Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies of “The Walking Dead”) rush headlong into the cyclone to get some up-close-and-personal footage. Meanwhile Gary (Richard Armitage) and son (Nathan Kress) are on the hunt for their son/brother Donnie (Max Deacon) who went missing when the storm started.
Director Steven Quale was the visual effects supervisor on “The Abyss,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “True Lies,” “Titanic” and “Avatar,” so the guy knows how to stage an action scene. It’s the other stuff he has trouble with. When the wind isn’t tearing the town apart it’s as if Quale doesn’t know what to do with the characters or the story.
To kill time between the wild wind storms the characters tell you what is about to happen—“Oh [crap],” says Allison, “it’s headed for the school!”—and talk about shooting anything that movies. “I can’t stop filming or I’ll be fired!” says cameraman Jacob.
Everyone seems to have a camera crazy-glued to their hands, and those who don’t seem to spend their time yelling, “Make sure you keep filming,” to the people who do. In fact, this movie should have been called “Keep Filming,” because it is the film’s mantra.
Mix that with a wooden performance from Richard Armitage that would make Woody Pecker’s mouth water, a series of tornadoes and a Firenado—an idea so silly I imagine the makers of “Sharknado” rejected it as too over the top—and you get a disaster movie that is a disaster of a film.