Survived – Into the Storm

Just back from watching Into the Storm. And hell, yes, it has all been said, but I am going to write this anyway, almost like a diary for myself.

cinema (1)Before I went, I had been wondering whether I should actually write the review before seeing it. Cos frankly – I didn’t expect much, and my mind was almost made up because I hadn’t held back on reading fan and expert reviews. As my son and I were taking our seat in the sparsely populated cinema on the Irish opening night, Master Guylty said to me: “Well, the good thing is, we don’t expect much. So it can only get better.” With the illustrations for my mentally-half-written review already in mind, I took some pictures of the embarrassingly empty cinema. Only to mince my words photos ten minutes later: The cinema filled up to full capacity. Early evening show on opening night and ITS was sold out! That bodes well! Men to women ratio: about ten to one. All single ladies were obviously Armitage fans (easily identifiable by their demographic *ggg*).

Slightly appeased by the full cinema I settled back to endure a film of a genre that I am entirely uninterested in. I had anticipated to be more interested in my bag of popcorn than in the film. Well, wrong. ITS had me gripping the armrests for nearly all of its 89 minutes running time. I couldn’t get through my popcorn quickly enough in order to finally watch the film without distraction!

cinema (3)

True, there are no main characters as such in the film, or if so then it is the whole ensemble with equally important story lines. The Fuller family unit, by virtue of outnumbering other “families” three to one, gets most screen time. And the little snap shot of their family life is predictably clichéd, but nonetheless entertaining and easy to identify with: Strict, slightly stiff father, serious, sensitive older son, carefree, easy-going younger teenage son. The roles are immediately assigned. In that family unit younger son Trey provides the comic relief in the family dynamics between overbearing dad Gary and defensive son Donnie.

Of course it’s clear from the beginning where this is leading and that they will live happily ever after. As will meteorologist Allison with daughter Gracie. “Somebody” had to be rightfully killed, and even he was clearly assigned the baddie role from the beginning, so Pete’s demise was expected. The sacrifice of whatsisname the camera guy however caught me by surprise. He had been set up as the innocent victim, I suppose, so I should have seen it coming from miles away, but his exit was one of the goose-pimple inducing highlights of the film (that sounds horribly wrong…). Most emotions, however, were elicited by the impressive storms. I pleasantly shuddered every time one of those hooks formed and descended towards the ground. The CGI of the tornadoes was fabulous, and together with the ear-deafening sound effects they looked absolutely awe-inspiringly frightening to a Central European who has never seen a tornado in her whole life.

Behind the behind

In case this sounds too Armitage-fan-has-left-brain-at-the-box-office: There are definite shortcomings to  the film. There are far too many “coincidences” in the film that propel the action. The characterisation of the various players is not given enough time – they only remain pastiche throughout the film. Some things were factually wrong (like the continued use of un-protected camera equipment), and in total the whole plotline only seemed like an excuse to get some cool computer dudes to create some awesome computer graphics. And the found footage idea was good – I wish they had followed it completely – and if they had played the movie more like a real-time film, like 24, say, I think it would’ve been even more effective.

But ITS provides what it says on the tin – a light entertainment product. You are not going to leave the cinema with the weight of the world’s climate problem on your shoulders, and neither are you coming out pondering a society and system that alienates teenagers from grown-ups, or reaching for a banner to protest for better working opportunities for single mothers. They could have cut the all-American “let’s roll up our sleeves and make it better” call to action at the end (and especially the soppy attempt at making Pete a hero), but then again that’s how Hollywood films work, and we know how to deal with it.

Gary Wet

I was entertained and enjoyed the film, goose-pimples and all. Not enough wet Armitage, of course, but yeah, I *am* an Armitage fangirl. Thumbs up for the American accent – sounded convincing enough for me. I also bought the daddy role, especially at the end when Gary is near-hysterical, trying to reanimate his son, and then overjoyed when he wakes up. I also really bought Sarah Wayne Callies’ character, and Max Deacon had the star scene with the recording of his tearful farewell. Well played!

Master Guylty gave ITS the thumbs up. Three and a half out of five stars, mainly for the CGI, and much approval for Armitage, surprisingly. “He’s really quite a good-looking dad”, was the sprog’s verdict. Hm, I wonder what that means…

41 thoughts on “Survived – Into the Storm

  1. I think you hit most of the main points. I didn’t leave the theater feeling I’d seen a really good film but I didn’t totally hate it either. Minus the tornado this film wouldn’t have made it but then again if it weren’t that kind of film they’d have made a bigger effort to deepen the characters and work from a different plot. Richard was enjoyable to look at and I agree the last part with the boys was far more convincing. That could have done better if they’d taken the time to develop it more early on but hey it is a disaster film. His accent was well done and in fact I barely paid attention to it because it was well done. Would I go see it over and over? No. Will I watch it again when it is out on DVD? Sure.

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    • I’m looking forward to hearing what Obscura-sprog says. It’s really the sort of movie that appeals to that age group. Opportunity for lovely mother-son-bonding and quality time with sprog *ggg*. Was able to impress sprog even further by having pre-booked tickets as QR code on iPhone. Damn, I am such a cool mother!!! 😀

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  2. So glad you liked it. Going with youngest daughter, the Bag End Baker, this afternoon. I will tell hubs she really wanted to see it and I just went along to keep her company, since I watched it with him a few days ago. He just might believe me. Then again …. maybe I’ll say we went to Guardians of the Galaxy.

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    • It was fun. Some of it also because of the company. It’s nice doing things with the sprogage – Hobbit-ing with the daughter, tornado-ing with the son. I am slowly breaking down the resistance to the Armitage, too. Win-win-win 😀

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    • Oh, my sprogs are *completely* aware of my interest… Interestingly, while Thorin had not convinced Master Guylty of the theatrical qualities of Mr A, ITS seems to have. It must have been the beard that put the sprog off…

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  3. Glad you liked it against expectation! 🙂 re: Pete — I saw him as being rewarded in a positive sense, too — he wanted to get as close as possible to a tornado, and he got that in the end.

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    • I suppose he did. Although the bit at the end where he comes out above the clouds, was completely OTT, literally. That was where I was scared, knowing that the only way was down…

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  4. Just pre ordered my DVD on Amazon..I would take my son but,he lives where there are tornadoes and hurricanes.I don’t think he would appreciate it.

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  5. The last movie I saw with my now-adult son was The Lion King I think – there’s certainly a better variety of movies these days for parents and children to see together. He’s a frequent cinema-goer, so I’m interested to see if he chooses ITS as something he would like to see without any prompting from his mother. Doubt very much he will make the connection between the actor playing Gary and my Armitage unless he pays particular attention to the credits. 😉
    I’m glad you liked it. With three weeks yet before I see it in Sydney with the RArmy girls, I think my expectations are fairly realistic, having read such a mix of reviews. My main worry is that given I don’t like disaster movies at all, there won’t be enough character-driven interest in it for me……….okay, read that as “enough RA in it for me”! 😉

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    • Well, there is definitely not enough Armitage in there. Well, he is seen quite a lot, but there is not that much scope for anything beyond action-driven plot. So we are short-changed on what RA does best – the intense, close-up micro-acting. I was a bit worried beforehand that I would get scared in the film (I am a total sissy), but while it was nerve-wrecking, the action kept driving the film forward relentlessly, so there was little time to dwell on the implications of what was happening, or how this person died or where that person was sucked into…
      And yes, I am thoroughly enjoying the variety of films on offer nowadays which enable me to connect with my kids. Went to see The Avengers 2 with them a few months ago and revelled in the knowledge that I was “Cool Mum”. New super-hero 😀

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  6. Loved this writeup! Spot on review of the film. I agree and I think it is enjoyable for what it is, escapist entertainment. It was actually refreshing to not be preached at re the world’s problems in the context of a disaster movie, IMO. Glad you enjoyed it for the most part. 🙂

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    • Oh, enjoyed it all. It’s just that we are programmed nowadays to be so critical of everything. Even light entertainment must have some kind of serious superstructure to redeem itself. Ugh. There is much to be said about escapist entertainment.

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  7. Spawn really enjoyed the film. I’m like you… wouldn’t have gone had it not been for a certain gentleman – who yes did an awesome Dad job! And the American Accent wasn’t bad. I heard Thorin a few times. Overall, I enjoyed it greatly. A great, no-brainer, summer film.

    (pssst – if you could… you know… look at something…I’m kinda wanting to post it Friday for someone’s bday… IF I don’t have an interview that day, that is.)

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    • I really thought the voice was still very much influenced by Thorin. You could tell he hadn’t shaken him off yet.
      (Yep, aware of that. Will be dealt with today. Apologies.)

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  8. Glad you liked it enough Guylty! I don’t know if I’ll go to the cinema (dubbed RA is a crime) but I will surely buy the DVD when it’s out next December. The fact is I search for a plot and good characters in a film. This is exactly one of the reason why I hate DoS. But I will watch it to see Hot Wet Dad in action and with the boys.

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    • I probably would have gone even if the velvety voice had been dubbed over. The visuals are still there, you know. The plot and character are too thin, of course, but that’s what a summer blockbuster is like. Both sprog and myself agreed that the film hugely benefitted from being shown on a large screen. You just couldn’t help but get sucked into it, if you pardon the pun…

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      • I understand it’s the kind of movie you have to watch on a big screen. I’ll probably go, if the multiplex near me still has it when I’ll be back home. I checked and no way to see it here in Sardinia, As you say, the visuals are still there even if dubbed *ggggg* and hot dad is a very good thing to watch! 😀

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          • And thanks heaven for those features! 😀
            Insanely curious about cameo role and that dream role hint he dropped. Hope he get it so we’ll have plenty of him on screen to admire… I mean, acting skill to enjoy!

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            • He’s such a clever bunt. Dropping these hints to keep people guessing. Grah! My money is on Spooks, though. As for other dream role? Jeepers, the man has many dreams, it seems. First Thorin, then Proctor. And now another? Well, bless. Keep dreaming, RA, at least it means we get to see you in another role…

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              • Exactly, keep dreaming Richard. Also for yourself.
                My money on Spooks too, even if it is in post-production yet. But it makes sense. I can’t think about another film he can do a cameo on.
                Dream role: Tolkien in one of the biopics in developing?

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  9. Ich schleppe meinen Sohn da auch noch mit rein. Der weiß das bloß noch nicht 🙂 Ist es nicht praktisch, dass so viele aus unserem RA-Kränzchen passende Familienmitglieder zur Verfügung haben?

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  10. Thanks for your review Guylty, I’m glad you liked the film. It’s not the sort of film I’d usually rush out to see and I’ve been tossing up whether to go to see it but I think I will now and I do think it’s a film that needs to be seen on the big screen.

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    • Totally a film for the big screen. I doubt it will come across on the small box. But if you go in just expecting some action and no development, you’ll be fine. I wouldn’t say it is a film that I want to watch several times gladly (unlike the Hobbit films), but it is ok for viewing. Hope you get to go! Let us know how you found it.

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  11. Master Guylty! Hee, hee. So cute. I like the Wet Armitage pic but am more mesmerized by the popcorn… Having grown up in Florida, I do have experience of tornados and saw a funnel cloud once. It’s why I probably won’t see this film or any film about severe weather!

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    • Hehe, Master Guylty is as cute as a teenage boy can be *coughs*.
      Trust me, the popcorn, although much like delectable Armitage himself, was quickly forgotten. I’d say Armitage is better for the diet, too 😀
      But yes, I can see why you wouldn’t want to be thrown into a weather film like that.

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  12. Pingback: Recent fan reactions to Into the Storm / The Crucible | Me + Richard Armitage

  13. Hi, in general I quite agree with your review. I think Armitage perhaps wanted to do a role that wasn’t going to demand as much time and publicity that The Hobbit films has. I don’t think it’ll be a box office hit but might get a following mainly through his fans once it is out on DVD and TV. I’ve done a review of the film today if you wouldn’t mind popping over to my blog. 🙂 http://rwh92.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/into-the-storm-review/ I was also very lucky that I got to see him at the Old Vic Theatre during its run of The Crucible! X

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    • Hey Richard. (Nice name :-D) I think you are probably right on a few counts there. Plus, he needed a project that would put him on the map with American film makers. Looks like the film has made its production costs already. Reviews are still mixed.
      Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  14. well ( making my way though reading 🙂 left a few tmblr recommendations of yours last to read just before going off to bed 😉 i saw it erm.. twice… on the same day it came out 🙂 With one RA friend who’d come from.. hehe.. Germany! .. to see Crucible and with the RA fan who corrupted me at the end of the day. So we were the first and the last to see it on the day, sadly to not very full places, in the fact the morning one ended up being a private screening. Which wasn’t bad as we could clutch our seats at will 😉 I enjoyed it more than i thought i would! But 2x is enough really. However i did want to see it the 2nd time because i needed more of RA in it. The rescue scene was lovely tho.

    Think i mentioned this before, what i object against is that teflon, indestructible shirt! What an insult to fandom… tornado winds and not a button comes loose… not even a tiny bit… buaaaaa!

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