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I wrote the following short article for Entertainment Weekly, but they passed on it.
While boxoffice blockbuster Twister sucked up a lot of dollars from summer moviegoers, some critics and viewers are emerged from Jan De Bont's stormfest with dampened enthusiasm. Perhaps it's because they realized that they'd taken this plunge before, in James Cameron's underwater thriller The Abyss. Consider the following similarities and decide for yourself:
Cyclonic Plot Engine
- The Abyss: inhabitants of the deep-sea drilling station are trapped (along with twitchy Navy Seals and a nuclear warhead) by a hurricane on the surface.
- Twister: about as many tornadoes as you can stuff into a 24-hour period.
One disaster is better than three marriage counselors
- The Abyss: hunky/babelicious Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio play divorcees whose love is rekindled by oceanographic adversity.
- Twister: hunky/babelicious Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt play divorcees whose love is rekindled by meteorological adversity.
- The Abyss: scruffy but lovable supporting cast with nicknames like Hippy and Catfish.
- Twister: scruffy but lovable supporting cast with nicknames like Dusty and Rabbit.
Clean-cut bad guy with techno-threat
- The Abyss: deranged Navy Seal Michael Biehn threatens to explode a (commandeered) nuclear bomb.
- Twister: corporate scumbag Cary Elwes threatens to deploy a (stolen) tornado sensor device.
Even the machines have cute nicknames
- The Abyss: submersible ROVs "Big Geek" and "Little Geek".
- Twister: tornado sensor launchers "Dorothy" and "D.O.T.
- The Abyss: Todd Graff rescues a white rat.
- Twister: Paxton rescues a dog.
Gee-whiz computer effects
- The Abyss: mysterious shape-changing water tentacles.
- Twister: ominous debris-spewing tornadoes.
Don't try this at home
- The Abyss: Harris almost drowned during filming.
- Twister: Hunt's retinas burned during filming.
- The Abyss: Harris survives plunge into abyssal trench, only to discover...aliens! Huh?
- Twister: Paxton and Hunt survive the "suck zone" of
a giant twister that can demolish a barn but not break a leather strap. Uh
Copyright 1996 by Dan Perez. All rights reserved.