The director of the original 1996 film Twister, Jan de Bont, has stated that he doesn’t feel a reboot will work if it just contains a bigger tornado.
The director of the 1996 disaster adventure film, Twister, has stated that the upcoming reboot won’t work if it only contains a bigger tornado. Produced by Steven Spielberg, Twister was a big hit at the box office, despite its lukewarm reception from some critics and viewers.
Set in Oklahoma during the expected outbreak of multiple large scale tornados, the film focuses on Jo Thornton (Helen Hunt) and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Bill Harding (Bill Paxton). While attempting to get his wife to sign the divorce papers that will officially make her his ex, Bill becomes engaged in what Jo and her team of storm chasers are taking on. The film features a whole lot of CGI effects and massive tornados, but couldn’t quite manage to move past the numerous cliched aspects of its plot. Still, as far as spectacle is concerned, Twister’s ability to bring audiences into the eye of some pretty terrifying storms ensured that it was a popular draw in theatres. The concept of the film seems to still be a creative draw for Universal, and the Twister reboot is reportedly eyeing TRON: Legacy director, Joseph Kosinski.
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News of a new take on Twister may excite some, but during a recent interview with Collider, the original film’s director, Jan de Bont, gave the impression that he felt the production was already heading in the wrong direction. When asked whether or not he’d heard that an effort to reboot Twister was underway, de Bont surmised that the new film would be the mother of all tornados, the F5. Calling the idea of simply making the destruction and effects in the film bigger “a trap”, de Bont said:
I read that like a month or two ago. I said, “Wow. Are they going to do the F5 now? I bet you that’s what it is.” You cannot do it by making it bigger. That as a movie hardly ever works. You have to come up as a … with people actually involved in it. You cannot just … It’s like I’ll work on the destruction scene. We’re going to get worse and whole cities are going to get destroyed. That’s exactly like falling in the trap of having the special effects completely take over.
The ranking scale of tornado severity is explained in Twister, allowing audiences to learn that The Fujita Scale (F-scale) measures the strength of a tornado by how much destruction it causes. Within this framework, the F5 is the mother of all tornados, nicknamed The Finger of God. Only Hunt’s character has ever witnessed the highly powerful storm, losing her father to one as a child. Though there is an F5 in Twister, it does not exist throughout the entire film and as result, audiences only catch a glimpse of its power before the film comes to an end. From this perspective, then, it makes sense that a reboot would focus on that particular degree of tornado. Technology has come far enough today to take the concept to another level, but as de Bont says, this isn’t a sound enough approach for the reboot.
While de Bont may have a point about being unable to simply make a film based on it being bigger than its predecessor, the fact of the matter is that audiences respond to exactly that. There are numerous examples of films that have become hugely successful at the box office based solely on the fact that their visual effects were a draw. Whether or not that’s the actual direction that Universal wants to go in with a Twister reboot, however, is another matter altogether.
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