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VOLCANO - 2 Slimes
Rated PG-13
Copyright 1997 Fox 2000 Pictures
Reviewed by The Kensington Furs on 27 June 2001

The Characters:  

  • Mike Roark - Tommy Lee Jones! Invincible head of Emergency Management for Los Angeles. He does not understand basic geology, but has bionic vision. His Main Character Field protects him from all danger.
  • Kelly Roark - Mike's daughter and the only major character to undergo development, which is to become less whiny.
  • Emmit Reese - Second in command of Emergency Management. Supplies Tommy Lee Jones with snappy banter.
  • Dr. Amy Barnes - Anne Heche! She's a saysmologist, which means that no one will believe anything she says about geology until it's too late.
  • Rachel - Amy's co-saysmologist friend with low self-esteem. Eaten by the volcano.
  • Norman Calder - Irritating yuppie industrialist. His building is blown up and we don't even get to see him killed by it screaming, "My building!"
  • Dr. Jaye Calder - Norman's wife; an asian doctor who tells him to get lost.
  • Irritating Black Guy - Irritating character who tries to provoke everyone.
  • Stan Olber - Annoying chain-smoking subway chief. Dies by jumping into lava and melting.
  • Tommy - Stupid kid with no sense of self-preservation. Wanders off so that he can be rescued.
  • Buddy & Pal - Two policemen who nobly sacrifice themselves for no discernible reason and die under the building they're blowing up. (Mind you, Mike & Kelly & Tommy get caught in the same explosion and somehow survive.)
  • The Volcano - A being of molten rock bent on devouring L.A., previously starred in Backdraft as "The Fire."

Buy It!

The Plot: 

One of three volcano films released in 1997, along with "Dante's Peak" and Roger Corman's "Eruption." The La Brea Tar Pits explode into a volcano which threatens to engulf an entire street, while throwing lava bombs onto things that look interesting. The only man who can stand in its way is a flame-retardant Mike Roark (Tommy Lee Jones played as Tommy Lee Jones).

After much disbelief that the glowing red stuff could be lava, the flow obligingly travels along Wilshire Blvd. Roark and friends stop it using concrete pylons and cars. Meanwhile, the sneaky volcano heads towards the hospital where all of its previous victims have gathered. A building gets knocked over in slow motion, to divert the volcano away, allowing us to enjoy its glass-breaking, concrete-shattering beauty. Close to its defeat, the volcano takes pot shots at people's crotches, but it's too late. The lava flows into the ocean. Rather than seeing "the coast is toast," L.A. survives and gets a new tourist attraction.

If you believe this film bears any resemblance to reality, it's probably because you live in L.A. and might be able to recognize some of the buildings. There are tons of characters who appear and vanish for no reason and accomplish very little.

But this is a disaster movie after all. The fun is in watching things blow up and/or die. You don't get to see too many people actually die, but the clichéd plot is made up for by an abundance of pyrotechnics. There's gallons of glowing stuff and! Everything burns: shoes, buildings, glass, subway chiefs, etc. This summer blockbuster flop would normally rate a two out of five, if not for special effects lifting it to a three.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Tommy Lee Jones' melting point is higher than metal.
  • Hospitals are equipped with seismographs.
  • Bottles can break apart by being lightly shaken.
  • Looters will steal environment suits.
  • The technical scientific name for flying flaming rocks is "lava bombs". (Really!)
  • Hail Marys protect against fire but not lava.
  • Lava always flows downhill, unless flowing up stairs into houses to chase Jack Russell Terriers.
  • Fire truck ladders can't support more than one person at once.
  • Blasting hastily placed dynamite creates a perfectly straight trench.
  • Car gas tanks don't explode when exposed to lava.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 14 mins - You got a reading? A reading of what?! What is that thing you're using?
  • 28 mins - The volcano god wasn't placated by eating someone, so it went into reverse?
  • 33 mins - (everyone sing!) MacArthur Park is bubbling in the dark...
  • 38 mins - They turned off the sound and expect us to swallow this drivel?
  • 40 mins - "Almost looks like lava?" You idiot!
  • 48 mins - It's official; it's a volcano! Geez, it took you guys long enough.
  • 55 mins - Amy sure got over Rachel's death pretty quickly.
  • 65 mins - Dude, those pylons you're using to block the lava have holes in them.
  • 70 mins - Why the hell did a bench just explode electrically? During a blackout?
  • 74 mins - The dirt temperature jumped over a hundred degrees and she's not melting!
  • 95 mins - Ah, here's the film's moral revealed. Huge disasters can overcome racial prejudice.
  • 95 mins 15 secs - Oh wait, it's raining now; prejudice resumes.

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note volcano1.wav Kelly: "Why not? I'm thirteen years old; I know what to do."
Mike: "Okay, what do you do?"
Kelly: "Get in the door frame, stick your head between your knees, and kiss your ass goodbye."
Green Music Note volcano2.wav Woman: "You know, every couple of minutes her head comes off her shoulders and rotates three-hundred and sixty degrees and then she starts watching TV again."
Green Music Note volcano3.wav Mike: "What's magma?"
Rachel: "Lava."
Mike: "Lava? Ah, here in L.A.?"
Amy: "One of several possibilities. It is unlikely, but it is a possibility."
Green Music Note volcano4.wav Reporter: "I know this sounds crazy, but it almost looks like lava, volcanic lava, pouring onto the street."
Green Music Note volcano5.wav Mike planning to stop the lava in record time.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 



 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipvolcano1.mpg - 2.0m
The volcano snuck up on these people and is now trying to release some pressure. Unfortunately for the humans that means a fountain of molten rock.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2
Reply #1. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by chadzilla
I paid money to see this in the theater and never regretted it once.  Delightfully goofy disaster flick.  The clip is a hoot, if you were really that close to an eruption I think you'd be burnt to a crisp!  Only thing missing is George Kennedy or Ernest Borgnine.  They may not make 'em like they used to, but Volcano will do in a pinch.  Three slimes seems about right for this baby.
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Squishy
I admit it freely: I'm a movie weeper. The kind of guy who starts dripping off the cheeks at the sound of violins. I wept like a little girl during "Deep Impact," even while the side of my brain my testes are attached to was saying "What a huge, steaming, stinking pile of blatantly manipulative drivel."

That said, even the most, um, heartfelt moments of "Volcano" left me enraged and colicky. All the moralizing, all the emotional moments--they're even phonier than the Day-Glo lava (on loan, apparently, from "Congo," wiping out a subway system and, what, three blocks of LA? Whoopee). Even the bit where Obler nobly sacrifices himself to save a very fat complete stranger, as shocking as it may initially be, becomes so completely bogus that one has to assume that the whole movie is deliberately symbolic of the stereotype of LA itself--100% silicone, no real ingredients. Not a moment's suspense, not even a decent cheap thrill.

The only effective thing related to this piece of molten crud were the trailers, which were relative masterpieces. Wow, and I thought "City On Fire" was awful...
Reply #3. Posted on October 12, 2001, 11:46:12 AM by Lostmissy
How can a movie with Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche be so so (let me repeat for emphasis) so bad ?
Reply #4. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Hyperion X
I first saw this movie on one of the cable movie channels. I think it was Cinemax. One of the things that I liked about it was that dog. You know. The one in the house that is being chased by lava? Well, for some reason, when the dog got to its master, I started thinking of the Church's Chicken Commercials with that old woman with the huge grey afro? Looks like she shaved that dog's fro off. Well, anyway, the real thing I hated was Tommy. The whole time I just kept saying, "Please get crushed or burned, PLEASE!" I'm okay with some little kid characters in movies, but this kid I just wanted to beat on the head with a large hammer. GOD! It felt good to say that. In short, the movie is bad, but you can live through it, but the kid sucks. There. I said it. Oh, make sure you have plenty of things to throw against a wall.
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Ernst Bitterman
I can't disagree with any of the above statements, but would add a caveat for Pseudovulcanologists-- as bad as it is, it doesn't stink anywhere near as foul as DANTE'S PEAK.  Woosh.  This one's at least fun.
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by pred19
Well, it was better than 'Dante's Peak' although there are some blaring plotholes and a typical stupid romantic interest subplot (the single dad and the sassy young scientist)

I felt bad for the girl in glasses, though.
Reply #7. Posted on February 11, 2006, 08:03:35 PM by dopey
:/ pretty messed up movie very obvious mistakes in there like the concrete barriers and the lava. choppers cant fly in volcanic ash cause it will jam the turbines and crash the chopper, the steam comming off the lava that they dumped water on would have burned them all fatally. and it makes u wonder if the subway car driver is an idiot just gawking at the lava i think that it is pretty strange that no doors or windows would open i mean there has to be an alternate way out like the roof or something and how come he didnt pass out like the rest of them.the guy jumping from the train just looked really stupid i think actually kinda funny in my view. i dont think digging subway tunnels would cause an earthquake and serious volcano thats just as stupid as that movie called Storm Chasers: Revenge of the Twister in which the clear cutting of a forest to make room for a military base caused a serious storm and tornado. people just tryin to promote there silly ideas these days.
Re: Volcano
Reply #8. Posted on January 10, 2010, 06:26:55 PM by Ace 1 Again
Not one review was right on:
    1)After 911...people of various races,religions,& cultures came together for an emergency.
    2)There was more than 1 person on the ladder,& it was extended horrizontal...not verticle like it was designed.
    3)I have survived in 100+ temperatures too.
    4)Looters will pretty much steal anything not nailed down...don't you watch TruT.V.?
    5)Cars don't expload with a touch...or even a real life.
    6)There was no prejudaces after the rain?
    7)You don't have to be a genius to be O.E.M....just quick thinking.
    8)He didn't telepathicaly figure out to drop the building...he saw the reflection in the car window.

NEXT TIME TRY WATCHING THE MOVIE FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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