PG-13, 89 minutes
When I saw “Into the Storm” this summer I dismissed it as forgettable entertainment, but apparently I was even more spot-on than I thought. When I was looking over titles in deciding what new video to write about this week, I literally couldn’t remember if already I’d seen it or not.
That doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s a perfectly agreeable special effects-heavy disaster thriller, with a few spectacular scenes as a major tornado event rips through a fictional Midwestern town. The characters are flat and uninteresting, and exist merely as the audience’s stand-ins as they bear witness to the unfolding spectacle.
To say the movie borrows from 1997’s “Twister” is an understatement; this is essentially an unauthorized remake. A team of storm chasers cruises around in specially modified vehicles that are tornado-proof — we’ll see about that! — to capture the storm for posterity, scientific data and social media dap. Soon they’re in over their heads.
This is part of the “found footage” style of filmmaking, in which the characters are using video cameras to record what happens to them in real time. It’s a nice gimmick, but you wonder why people don’t put down their camcorders to help their fellows in need.