Twister: Special Edition
Director Jan de Bont is the master of car photography, which is probably why his stationary re-make of The Haunting was so lame. But in the 1996 Twister he reached the zenith of his mobile fixation. The film stars Helen Hunt, before she wore us out, as a scientist estranged from husband and fellow scientist Bill Paxton, but they team up again for a day and a half to chase a record number of tornados in central Oklahoma. The screenplay credited to Michael Crichton and wife Anne-Marie Martin (with help from Joss Whedon, Steven Zaillian, and Jeff Nathanson) is an anthology of transitional clichés, but there is still much pleasure to be had from the concise narrative, the superb photography, and convincing special effects de Bont can put together a good show when he has a reasonably coherent screenplay and a lot of money. The important thing in Twister is that the chase scenes have an urgency and currency that similar scenes by lesser craftsmen lack. Besides the sheer visceral excitement of the cars edging closer to irrational wind funnels, we also know what finding out the truth about how tornados work means to the film's heroine. The DVD transfer (2.35:1) is excellent, with top-notch sound production in DD 5.1 (English or French) or DTS (English). There's also an informative commentary track by de Bont and his special-effects coordinator Stefen Fangmeier. Two theatrical trailers, "making-of" featurette, eight-minute featurette, the Van Halen rock video, and cast-and-crew credits and bios. Warner snap-case.