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A volcano materializes in L.A. - that's the core of the plot; rather bothersome, what? Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black I & II) headlines the film as the guy in charge of the city's safety planning agency or whatever. Don Cheadle plays his assistant; Anne Heche plays a geologist and therefore 'expert'-on-the-threat character; Gaby Hoffman plays Jones' daughter (Jones' character is divorced - one of those).
< Heche, geologist extraordinaire!
It's indicative of the film's nature that Tommy Lee Jones is dull here (usually, Jones isn't); but, that's par for the course in disaster movies; most characters in these disaster pics are dull - they just serve to present archetypes or caricatures of real people and it's no different here. That's why some of the bigger films compensated for this by including the biggest stars possible - at least the audience can do some star watching. There's some similarity to the old Earthquake film from 1974, which also wrecked L.A.
The most gruesome moment occurs when a character melts into some lava; it carries some punch because the character was one of the better ones and somewhat memorable. But, the scene immediately preceding this also spells out an on-going weakness to this film. The character was carrying the conductor out of a subway car as everything is melting around him; well, if it was hot enough to melt everything else in the car (the lava is right underneath), how could this guy survive to carry a man to safety? See what I mean..? See where I'm going with this?
The lava FX - CGI - is fine, but real people cannot stand so close to real lava as many characters do throughout the film. All this does is hint to viewers that this is not real, regardless of how real it looks - kind of self-defeating, I would say (and I do ). This also ends on a very sappy note - everyone is covered in soot and suddenly racism is a non-issue; this is a rather extreme method to solve our racial problems, I would say (and I do ). BoG's Score: 6 out of 10
this (Volcano) came out the same year as Dante's Peak - another one with a volcano - and did not do as well at the box office.
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