July 7, 2024

TWISTER in 4K: It's Not Easy Bein' Green


TWISTER (4K UHD)
1996 / 113 min
Review by Stinky the Destroyer😺

I will always be grateful for Twister. Narratively slight, it isn’t what anyone would mistake for a great film, but it’s always been a really fun film. More importantly, Twister helped trigger a reassurance in popularity of my favorite genre, the disaster movie, which had been lying dormant since the 70s. 

Twister wasn’t a disaster movie in the traditional sense, eschewing most of the subplots and melodrama typically associated with the genre. Story and characters took an immediate backseat to “intense depictions of very bad weather” (the MPAA’s chuckleworthy explanation for it’s PG-13 rating). It also boasted the most impressive and convincing use of CGI since Jurassic Park. Big, destructive and unbelievably loud, it was a hell of a theater experience.


It was also the first American movie widely available on DVD. That was back in 1997 and physical media has changed a lot since then. If there was ever a classic movie that’s long overdue for a 4K Ultra HD upgrade, it’s Twister. However, it isn’t quite the same Twister.


The concept of taking cover is lost on some people.

There’s a early scene where Bill Harding (Bill Paxton) ominously stares up at the tumultuous sky, foreshadowing the arrival of another massive tornado. I immediately noticed how green the sky appeared…not just green, but vivid alien-world green. I’ve seen Twister many times and don’t recall the movie ever looking this distractingly green. Was there an issue with the 4K transfer, or did someone mess with the settings on my TV?


It turns out neither was the case. In a new bonus feature, director Jan de Bont said that adding the green tint for the 4K version was a creative decision to more accurately reflect what skies look like during such weather. Hmm…I didn’t know that. Still, the effect is kinda jarring - especially the aforementioned scene - and since I’m usually averse to directors tweaking with their old movies - I’m not sure how to feel about that. After all, it ain’t like anyone watches Twister for its scientific accuracy.


Still, it’s an outstanding 4K transfer. What made Twister so damn fun in theaters were the visual and sonic fireworks that turned it into an immersive thrill ride. It sure as hell wasn’t the threadbare story linking the destructive set-pieces (the entire cast gives earnest performances, but these are all pretty thankless roles). The overall picture and the thundering Dolby Atmos mix of this disc is as close as you’re gonna get to experiencing the movie in a theater. Turn off the lights, crank it up and prepare for complaints from your neighbors.


EXTRA KIBBLES

NEW FEATURETTE - The Legacy of Twister - Taken by the Wind runs 15 minutes and features director Jan de Bont. In addition to looking back at the film, he explains the decision to tweak with it’s color.

FEATURETTES - Chasing the Storm - Twister Revisited; Anatomy of a Twister; HBO First Look:The Making of Twister.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Jan de Bont & FX supervisor Stefen Hangmeier.

DIGITAL COPY


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