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Overall Rating
2.78

Awesome: 16.95%
Worth A Look: 16.95%
Average: 25.42%
Pretty Bad: 8.47%
Total Crap32.2%

2 reviews, 47 user ratings



Dante's Peak
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Great for unintended laughs."
3 stars

'Dante's Peak' is great fun, but for all the wrong reasons. Here is a movie that cries out for the 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' treatment. The best part is that Universal spent $115 million on what they marketed as a scary disaster movie. Afraid not. Once it gets going (and it takes a good hour), 'Dante's Peak' has more belly-laughs per minute than 'The Nutty Professor.'

The movie begins seriously enough. Intrepid geologist Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan) and his sweetheart are driving away from an erupting volcano. A smoldering chunk of rock slices through the cab roof -- thwack! -- and the girlfriend will never need a hat again. Cut to four years later. Harry is now a workaholic trying to forget his grief; you can tell because he spends his spare time doing really intense push-ups.

Harry is summoned to investigate a possibly cranky volcano near the thriving town Dante's Peak, which is declared "the second best place to live in America." (Why not first-best? Oh, I don't know -- maybe the dormant-volcano thing.) The mayor (Linda Hamilton), a divorcee who seems to have adopted the kids from Jurassic Park, makes goo-goo eyes at Harry while he's trying to explain that Dante's Peak may soon become the second best place to find crispy corpses in America.

Volcanology must be tedious work -- all that waiting around for the thing to blow -- and I admire the integrity of director Roger Donaldson and writer Leslie Bohem, who keep Dante's Peak defiantly boring for at least an hour. Just when we're starting to feel like geologists watching rocks erode, the thing finally blows. Boy, does it blow. The volcanic effects, particularly a highway crumbling and cars falling like loose change, do manage to be fairly frightening. But then the movie accidentally takes a sharp detour into comedy, never to return.

Up to this point, Dante's Peak has been a pale Xerox of Jaws (the town officials don't want to scare away tourists and investors) and Twister (Harry has a team of volcano-chasers). But this movie, rather bravely I thought, declines to offer a plot motor like "Kill the shark" or "Get the balls into the tornado." What we get instead is ... Grandma and Ruffy the dog.

I'll try to explain. The little kids' stubborn grandmother (Hamilton's "ex-mother-in-law") refuses to believe that the volcano is dangerous. Even when volcanic ash blackens the sky, she won't leave her mountainside cabin. So our heroes go through Dante's inferno to rescue this moron and her dog.

I won't reveal much more; I don't want to give away all the jokes. But the scene set in a boat in an acid lake is a comic masterpiece, ending in the funniest unintentional sight gag (involving poor Grandma, who apparently refuses to believe that acid is dangerous) I've seen in years. Not to mention Harry's heartfelt, hilarious promise to take the kids deep-sea fishing when all this is over.

'Dante's Peak' is truly a special movie. I can't recommend it, but it has my undying affection. One star for quality; five stars for snark value; averages out to a three, folks.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=278&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/12/07 15:55:24
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell some good effects mostly boring though 1 stars
4/02/15 Lina It's not fabulous. Just endearing. Linda Hamilton and Pierce Brosnan are likeable. 4 stars
3/19/13 dr.lao Standard disaster flick, not bad but nothing new to see 3 stars
10/12/10 PAUL SHORTT ENTERTAINING DISASTER FILM WITH CONVINCING EFFECTS 3 stars
1/18/09 bibi it was good but i didnt get tooo see the beginning 2 stars
7/31/07 weow dantes peak has 0 mates 5 stars
4/23/07 David Risser It's a Volcano wannabe 2 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Not so accurate to facts, but, hey! It's Hollywood. 3 stars
1/18/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 4 stars
2/03/06 Anthony Feor Peirce grabs us again with another performance 4 stars
10/19/05 Quigley effects are much better than volcano, but I am so tired of watching it. 4 stars
8/11/05 ES All I can say a mountain volcano=blievable, a desert volcano in downtown LA not so much 4 stars
6/21/05 tony Whats wrong with this movie! Everything! But i still enjoyed it 5 stars
3/13/05 G-Man this movie rocked 5 stars
9/09/04 Daniel Peterson Ithought it was pretty good 4 stars
2/17/04 Dr.Lecter Only good thing was the music 2 stars
12/09/03 john uninspired desaster movie - predictable and boring 2 stars
11/14/03 Edith the Maid and Meredith the Mermaid Better than VOLCANO. Linda Hamilton much better than in TERMINATOR crap. 4 stars
4/02/03 Jack Sommersby A first-rate adventure. Superbly directed and acted by the two leads. 4 stars
3/31/03 sfghghfghg Way better than valcano a must see 5 stars
2/20/03 Dave Not that good, but much much better than Volcano. 3 stars
9/02/02 movie guy A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/10/01 waterfall IT'S THE BEST THING i HAVE EVER SEEN! 5 stars
12/03/01 Jim Spectacular special effects & action hung on wafer-thin script and a bunch of stereotypes 4 stars
11/30/01 Andrew Carden At The Time It Was Good, but Now It Totally Bores Me. 1 stars
8/09/01 Mr. Hat Sometimes it's a little too freaky for me. 4 stars
6/11/01 j j 5 stars
2/19/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Watching the town fall apart was the best part of a sorry business. 3 stars
1/09/01 I love movies you're right, it's pretty stupid 3 stars
12/24/00 The Evil Penguin just changed my rating to 5. Awesome effects and huge destruction 5 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin intense, but with thin characters 3 stars
10/18/00 dan the greatest movie... incredibly tense and suspenseful... forget Volcano! 5 stars
8/02/00 Alce The only Dante I want to know is the one who wrote the Divine Comedy 1 stars
3/18/00 Lame-Oh 100 times shit than that abysmal Volcano 1 stars
10/27/99 Sailor Uranus One of the few films I WANTED to fall asleep while watching. 1 stars
7/18/99 chris some movies are made just to be fuupposed to be fun, and this movie did a great job of that 5 stars
6/09/99 lucas jackson the movie had a good plot, just the story was no good and to fake 3 stars
12/10/98 Scion of Graveheart SHITTY scenarios. Ya gotta love 'em. Oh, you mean Dante's farts? Hah! 1 stars
12/04/98 Shadow Raider You shitheads! Nobody believes 007. What I do? I need a drink. 1 stars
11/12/98 Lord Of The Dunce Nothing to see here. Move along please. 1 stars
10/13/98 joseph dante's puke?? 1 stars
10/01/98 Simple Pimple Ornery idea, ornery plot, ornery acting, ornery movie. 1 stars
9/12/98 kanatcha ugh. 1 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Volcano gonna pop and nobody believes 007. Stupidheads. 3 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee Let's have just a small amount of realism in films please. 1 stars
8/21/98 Pete How stupid do studios think we are? I was rooting for the volcano. 1 stars
8/16/98 {{{OZ}}} Volcano go bang. Nobody believe. What we do? We get more popcorn. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Feb-1997 (PG-13)

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