Friday, March 3, 2017

Movie Review: Atomic Twister (2002)

Atomic Twister (2002) - USA - Drama/Disaster Movie - TV Movie
Directed by Bill Corcoran
Starring Sharon Lawrence, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Corbin Bernsen, Daniel Costello, Charmaine Guest, George Henare, Jonathan Blick, John Leigh, John Sumner, Katrina Devine, James Gaylyn, Meryl Main, Joanna Morrison

Despite the trappings of a TV movie, melodramatics laden at the sacrifice of rationality, it still succeeds in being entertaining.

Small southern towns and tornadoes go together like popcorn and butter, they are just made for each other, but throw in a nuclear reactor and that pristine picture of trailers and junked cars flying through the air gets complicated. This movie centers around a nuclear power plant facing a core shutdown further complicated by overheating of fuel rods due to a coolant leak after the power plant is hit by a twister. If that wasn't bad enough, another twister is threatening the power plant and this time things will go critical if they cannot find a way to cool the rods.

This is an older movie, coming upon 15 years since it was released, but with the saturation of movies about tornadoes combined with other elements, like sharks and boulders, one might think this movie is about a nuclear powered tornado. To the contrary, this movie is about a pending nuclear disaster brought about by tornadoes. It essentially answers the question of what if someone combined the movie Red Alert with the movie Twister. Nobody asked that question, but for what it's worth we still got an answer.

Atomic Twister centers around Corrine Maguire (Sharon Lawrence) and her son who are new to the area, having been transferred here to run the nuclear power plant. She may be familiar with the operations of a nuclear power plant, but neither she nor her son have been through a tornado and in addition to dealing with a potential nuclear disaster herself, her son has to deal with this frightening beast he's only heard stories about, up to this point. A deputy with his own baggage to carry about tornadoes may find his own peace in helping her son deal with it.

The focus of this movie is the drama, not the tornado. Yes, there are tornado scenes in it with competent enough special effects, but their time on screen is limited; they should really have a few words with their agent about this. Melodramatics with emotions running high and conflicts arising are the order of the day for this movie. 

What brings it down a notch for me is finding some parts to be unbelievable, particularly with regard to things taking place at the nuclear power plant. Unlike many IMDB reviewers I am not an expert on things I don't know shit about. I've never been in a power plant, and don't have any idea of the proper operation of one, but there are at least a few times this movie had me saying "Really?"

Overall the movie works if you're looking for a drama. If you're looking for lots of special effects and more people dying, or are an expert on nuclear power plants as most IMDB reviewers seem to be, then you might want to pass this one by.

My Rating: 3 Fingers

Though Atomic Twister was put out on DVD it is hard to find. I found it by searching on YouTube.

Other tornado movies on DVD you may find interesting are TwisterF6 Twister, and Fire Twister.

Toxic Fletch

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