Genre Grandeur – Dante’s Peak (1997) – Movie Reviews 101

For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Nature Gone Berserk Movies, here’s a review of Dante’s Peak (1997) by Darren of Movie Reviews 101

Thanks again to Barry of Cinematic Catharsis for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s genre has been chosen by Carl of Listening to Film and we will be reviewing our favorite Ensemble Movies.

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

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

Let’s see what Darren thought of this movie:


Dante’s Peak

In the year 1997 the natural disaster movie was booming, we had seen Twister, Daylight and we had bigger planet destroying ones on the way with, Armageddon and Deep Impact. We have had a couple of big blockbuster attempts to continue this concept, with Norway giving us The Wave and The Quake, keeping things slightly more grounded, instead of the low budget Syfy ones we see made nearly ever couple of weeks, which just push to random elements together.

Dante’s Peak is directed by Roger Donaldson who follows up Daylight and follows a volcanoclastic Harry Dalton (Brosnan) who gets asked to look at a sleepy town called Dante’s Peak which has just been name the second most desirable town under 20k population in America, joined by mayor Rachel Wando (Linda Hamilton), Harry believes the town is in danger, only for his boss Paul Dreyfus (Charles Hallahan) wanting a more scientific reason to put the people in worry.

Paul brings the team, Greg (Grant Heslov), Terry (Kirk Trutner), Nancy (Arabella Field) and Stan (Tzi Ma) to prove whether there is a problem, this does make sense because it shows how panic could ruin a town if nothing was wrong. Paul and Harry do work together and argue about whether there is a problem and the day they are about to pull out, the volcano starts to erupt. Harry must help Rachel save her children who are up the mountain, in a race against time.

The storytelling here does have a couple of very subtle and clever lines, including learning how greedy the helicopter pilot is, which will be his undoing and the motel owner wanting to make sure his sign is safe. All the small hints show us just how much can be added to a script to watch out for through the film.

When it comes to disaster films, this is one of the most overlooked ones during the 90s boom, because the scale of this one is just a volcano and a small town, it doesn’t bring as much destruction as the asteroid based ones that followed the year after. This might have a couple of moments that leave little to the imagination, but when it comes to how scientific side of the story, you could believe how the team work to figure out how to get the answers that could save a town from either destruction of bankruptcy if they were wrong.

Sure the children are annoying and their stupidity adds a side to the story that is only here for dramatic effect, which is fine because it adds tension to a film that is relatively cut and dry with how the operation to discover the problems in the town can be cleared out pretty fast. This is easily one of the most enjoyable disaster movies you will see, it hasn’t become cheesy like many of the others have and maintains the fact it is a serious tone throughout the film.

My Rating 9/10

Movie Reviews 101

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