Volcano

Released: April 25, 1997
Budget: $90 million
US Box Office: $48 million
Global Box Office: $120 million

Director: Mick Jackson
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Don Cheadle, Gaby Hoffman, Jacqueline Kim

Synopsis: A volcano sprouts in the middle of Los Angeles and wrecks havoc.
Best Quote: "That's not paper, that's lava! What beats that?" "My dad...I hope"

Review: 2 stars

With some solid effects and an original idea, Volcano provides some fun, but ultimately this inconsistent effort is pretty forgettable.

Although I kind of like the idea of a volcano sprouting out of the ground in the middle of L.A., there is one major problem with the concept: Los Angeles is FLAT. With no mountainside to run down, the lava in Volcano trickles down the boulevards at a snail's pace. You'll constantly ask yourself how Tommy Lee Jones keeps getting himself trapped by the stuff. To be fair, there are a number of very strong disaster elements to this movie, and the lava actually looks like the real stuff you see on nature shows. One good scene has firefighters and helicopters taking a stand to stop the flow through the streets once and for all. The moment feels a little like a war movie and is the sort of man versus nature effort that is fun to cheer for.

Right alongside some of the fun moments in Volcano are some truly dreadful ones. The storylines with ‘heart,' like the one with the racist cop or the one with Jones' daughter, are often painful to watch. Even worse is Anne Heche, who plays a scientist whose primary role seems to be correcting people who don't know the proper terminology for geological events. Considering the genre, I am generally willing to forgive come cheesiness, but a $90 million dollar movie shouldn't have so many made-for-TV moments.

To sum it up, check this one out only if you are determined to see a volcano movie. It's more light-hearted than Dante's Peak and there aren't a whole lot of other options. In its support, I will say that Volcano manages to be well-paced and actually quite watchable in spite of its shortcomings.