Dante’s Peak (1997)

Rating: 12
Length: 1hr 48
Release: 28.3.1997
Director: Roger Donaldson
About: Volcanologist Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan) and Mayor Rachel Wando (Linda Hamilton), finally convince the unbelieving populace that the big one is about to hit and that they need to evacuate immediately, only to discover her two children have gone up the mountain to get their grandmother. With Earth’s clock racing against them, they must rescue the kids and grandma before the volcano explodes in a fury of flame and ash a million times more powerful than an atomic bomb.


The Good

  • Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton have good chemistry as the two leads of the film. They work well together and are, on the most part, the element that is most successful in the film.
  • Its one of the best films I’ve watched in a long time that has a clear cause and effect structure. While it is a little too obvious for entertainment value, it makes for the perfect example for anyone completing a Film Studies course.
  • The film’s visual effects still stand up, but the bit I loved that it wasn’t just the lava that built up the tension. From the colour of the town’s drinking water to the acidity of the lake; these do not rely on big visuals but have a massive impact upon the story.

The Bad

  • My biggest issue is with Brosnan’s Harry. Why on earth was he sent to check things out if his boss was going to not only ignore his advice, but issue his own. While it makes an interesting commentary for the UK government, the ‘Science’ and the response to Covid-19, it is really frustrating that he’s taken away from time off and that his boss doesn’t expect this to be Harry’s reaction.
  • Some of the camera angles are really weird. I appreciate what it was trying to do, but its so inconsistent that it feels like a second director’s attempt to make a mark.
  • As much as I do think Brosnan and Hamilton have chemistry, I don’t fully buy into the connection of the two characters, mainly to do with Harry and his interaction with Rachel’s two children. I do feel as if in another draft they were husband and wife.

The Ugly

  • Some elements of the narrative were painfully predictable. Which normally wouldn’t bother me so much, but the Grandmother story arc and sacrifice is just bullshit when you remember she’s the reason they’re all in the situation.
  • The ending is very clunky and problematic. The light at the lab is apparently flashing for a ‘day or two’ after Rachel and her children get trapped in the mine and Harry is crushed in the car, yet when they’re all brought out there’s no hint of dehydration let alone Harry showing any pain from the bone that broke through the flesh those days ago.

Final Thoughts

I certainly preferred this to 1997’s other volcano offering, but you really have to shut your brain off for this mindless action.

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

Rating: 15

Length: 1Hr 32

Release: 25.4.1997

About: Ten years after their high school graduation, Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow) haven’t exactly accomplished everything that they set out to do. Despite their strong friendship, their personal and professional lives are still lacking. When they hear of their upcoming high school reunion, they take it as an opportunity to show their classmates how much they’ve changed — first by trying to reform themselves, then by creating a lie that eventually spins out of control.


First Thoughts

This was an Easter cinema trip for me and my mum in 1997. I’d wanted to see Men in Black, but mum refused point blank. The Lisa Kudrow film with the pinks and glitter would be more up her street, right?! Well, she took me and I enjoyed it. I remember her saying she regretted it, but I wasn’t certain why until rewatching it years later.

The Good

  • It’s a cool, quirky and funny story that nearly everyone can relate to. It’s retro camp, styled beautifuly and the only thing that improves it, is going to an independent cinema and being handed a post-it by the boy behind.
  • The sound track is fabulous. It’s that retro vibe that’s in right now. Hadn’t spotted it the millions of times before, but Whip It is played at the prom.
  • Janeane Garoflo was the definition of angry sarcasm in the 90s and she steals any scene she’s in. Underused, as she is in many movies, but she’s certainly memorable and the film manages to give her a strong story arc that I prefer to the main two.
  • Alan Cumming is a sweet, low key Hugh Grant in this. He’s able to switch from geek to chic with ease, but the perfect part is that he’s a likeable love interest. Perhaps rather unknown at the time, to me he was part of the High Life cabin crew and has forever remained a joy to watch.
  • It’s as quotable as other 90s films, but the killer line comes after the quick outfit change. Who hasn’t wanted to bark Romy’s Line “and I don’t give a flying fuck what you think…” to their bully? It’s pure brilliance.

The Bad

  • I still find that the dream sequence throws off the narrative. While it’s weird enough for me to like it in itself, as part of this film it’s very out there.
  • The tone and it’s perceived target audience is totally off. It’s not the double entendre humour of Shrek; that ‘he’s making up for something’ that gets the parents chuckling but goes over a kid’s head, but a much more obvious humour that doesn’t altogether fit well with a film that could double with Clueless.

The Ugly

  • That dance. It’s unbelievably cringe. As with the dream sequence, there are times when I watch and love it and its certainly what makes this film a cult classic, but it would never help Romy and Michele’s cause.
  • Alan Cumming in the dream sequence is too ‘blow up doll’. It freaks me out and is as not, as Michele puts it, ‘dreamy’. I’d put it in with the same trope of the ‘ugly’ girl who just needs her glasses taken off to make her ‘hot’.

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

This was an Easter cinema trip for me and my mum in 1997. I’d wanted to see Men in Black, but mum refused point blank. The Lisa Kudrow film with the pinks and glitter would be more up her street, right?! Well, she took me and I enjoyed it. I remember her saying she regretted it, but I wasn’t certain why until rewatching it years later.

The Good

• It’s a cool, quirky and funny story that nearly everyone can relate to. It’s retro camp, styled beautifuly and the only thing that improves it, is going to an independent cinema and being handed a post-it by the boy behind.

• The sound track is fabulous. It’s that retro vibe that’s in right now. Hadn’t spotted it the millions of times before, but Whip It is played at the prom.

• Janeane Garoflo was the definition of angry sarcasm in the 90s and she steals any scene she’s in. Underused, as she is in many movies, but she’s certainly memorable and the film manages to give her a strong story arc that I prefer to the main two.

• Alan Cumming is a sweet, low key Hugh Grant in this. He’s able to switch from geek to chic with ease, but the perfect part is that he’s a likeable love interest. Perhaps rather unknown at the time, to me he was part of the High Life cabin crew and has forever remained a joy to watch.

• It’s as quotable as other 90s films, but the killer line comes after the quick outfit change. Who hasn’t wanted to bark Romy’s Line “and I don’t give a flying fuck what you think…” to their bully? It’s pure brilliance.

The Bad

• I still find that the dream sequence throws off the narrative. While it’s weird enough for me to like it in itself, as part of this film it’s very out there.

• The tone and it’s perceived target audience is totally off. It’s not the double entendre humour of Shrek; that ‘he’s making up for something’ that gets the parents chuckling, but a much more obvious humour that doesn’t altogether fit well with a film that could double with Clueless.

The Ugly

• That dance. It’s unbelievably cringe. As with the dream sequence, there are times when I watch and love it and its certainly what makes this film a cult classic, but it would never help Romy and Michele’s cause.

• Alan Cumming in the dream sequence is too ‘blow up doll’. It freaks me out and is as not, as Michele puts it, ‘dreamy’. I’d put it in with the same trope of the ‘ugly’ girl who just needs her glasses taken off to make her ‘hot’.