Genre Guesstimation – Volcano (1997)

The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s genre has been chosen by Barry of Cinematic Catharsis and we will be reviewing our favorite Nature Gone Berserk Movies.

Mother Nature usually takes care of us, with all the oxygen we can breathe, water we drink and cute bunnies we can pet, but what happens when she gets angry? Watch her unleash floods, earthquakes, volcanoes and animals gone mad.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Aug by sending them to

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Barry!

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Nature Gone Berserk Movies.

“Well, we now have a *name* for this crisis. It is, according to the US Geological Survey, a *volcano*! As crazy as it sounds, a volcano, *here*, has been…” – TV Anchorwoman

Number of Times Seen – 1 (6 Aug 2019)

Brief Synopsis – A massive Earthquake in the LA area causes an underground fissure that allows for a dormant volcano underneath the city to erupt.

My Take on it – This is yet another film in this genre that I heard about when it came out yet had no desire to see what it was all about.

They do a nice ob here creating a scenario where we get to see how the streets of LA could be burning (literally) with disaster action.

The plot is able to create the feel of this being an ensemble disaster film even though most of the now-familiar cast were supporting cast members at the time, sometimes even in small roles.

Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche are both nice choices in the lead roles even if the onscreen chemistry between their characters is a bit stiff and doesn’t work well enough to believe.

The film manages to humanize this kind of story quite well despite the fact that very few of the characters are developed at all and they all mostly seem superficial.

The way that they are stereotyped here actually helps make it feel more realistic on a whole tho.

The film’s special effects are done quite well despite the fact that even with a premise like this, you need to have most of the characters walking around the whole time with fake soot and ash on the top of their heads and faces.

Just like in most good disaster films, this one gives us some great and unbelievable action scenes along with deaths galore that are sometimes heroic and sometimes just done for effect.

It’s too bad that the story doesn’t work better tho.

Bottom Line – Does a nice job giving us a scenario where the streets of LA are (literally) burning.  The film does a nice job making this an ensemble film filled with lots of talented actors even if some are in some very small roles. Jones and Heche are both great choices as the leads even if their on screen chemistry is a bit iffy (at best).  They are able to humanize this kind of story quite well even if many of the characters feel very superficial along the way. The film’s emphasis on unity is a good one even if it feels a bit strained at times.  The special effects are fine here yet even given the premise, it’s hard to take a film seriously where everyone is walking around with soot on their heads and faces that doesn’t look very real.  Like in any good disaster movie, they find a way to keep the action moving along and give us some great scenarios where people die in both heroic and very unheroic fashions.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – In the scene where the subway workers discover the lava at the train, Stan tells another worker “Give me a push.”, that line was not in the script. John Carroll Lynch legitimately asked for help getting into the subway car and the line was left in the final cut. (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Not even close, but it’s still a fun film.

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)


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2 thoughts on “Genre Guesstimation – Volcano (1997)

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur August Finale – Grizzly Man (2005) – Cinematic Catharsis | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1997 | MovieRob

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