I watched the movie at home via Amazon Prime last Sunday night, but waited until now to post a review. I figured anybody that's interested in seeing it has seen it by now, so it would be safe to include some spoilers. So if you still haven't seen it - *** SPOILER ALERT ***
Bottom line, I really enjoyed it. I was pleasantly surprised at the way it depicted chasing. While I didn't expect any sort of great plot in a movie like this, it turned out to be even lighter-weight than I expected, if not outright dopey with that stupid device, for which the movie never even attempted to explain a purpose.
Not that chasing appears in the movies very often, but Supercell
was really the most faithful representation of chasing I have seen - much more realistic than in Twister
. In that context, it is interesting that Twister
was still the way more enjoyable movie overall, but it is beyond the scope of this post to analyze why that is the case...
I liked seeing the chaser "Easter eggs" that @Randy Jennings
pointed out above - the paper black-and-white Stormtrack magazines (I still have a few myself!), and the David Hoadley drawings. There was also a cool nod to Twister
star Bill Paxton, whose name came up in an Internet search box's automatic type-ahead/character-fill as Bill Brody Jr. started to type in his father's name.
The dialogue rang true in how the more you chase the closer you want to get, and how each day you don't know what the sky is going to offer you, and that's what keeps you coming back. I think that was during the scene when Bill Jr. and his uncle were watching the backside of a supercell - I appreciated that part, to show that chasing is about far more than just the adrenaline (for most of us, anyway). I seem to also remember there being a line about the ratio of driving/downtime to chasing (a ratio that was completely inverted in Twister
I liked the mention of actual towns and roads out on the Plains. But while some of the meteorological dialogue rang true, other parts were kind of silly or sloppy. No big deal though. Also weird that the final tour was being run with just two other passengers besides Bill Jr. And by the time they finished arguing about it, someone could have run into the convenience store to tell the kid they had to leave…
The downsides were that the overall plot was pretty weak, and even the human drama between the kid and his mother were not that compelling; if anything, he established himself as a less-than-sympathetic figure initially in his tantrum against Anne Heche's character. It was also unclear what it was at the end that really brought them back together, and what made her "proud" of her son... Was it because he had successfully driven away from a tornado (while meanwhile Alec Baldwin's character is the one that risked his life pushing the van out of the mud)? Why did the son suddenly feel respect and affection for his mother, was it just because she showed she could drive in a storm environment? It was just sort of an unfulfilling ending, especially as it deteriorated into typical corny "disaster film" silliness, such as the chase van sailing through the air and landing in the swimming pool.
None of this detracted from my enjoyment, because we never get to see storm chasing in the movies, and here it was, mostly represented in an authentic and respectful - dare I say even affectionate - way.
I do wish such a portrayal of storm chasing could be combined with a good plot in a more substantive movie... As a possible model, Jenna Blum's novel The Stormchasers
comes to mind... The book contains realistic portrayals of storm chasing (I particularly liked the descriptions of the difficult mental transition that occurs after a chase trip) as well as a "real" plot, although the main plot is not all that great, and was sort of separate from the chasing, making the book seem somewhat disjointed; the alternating "chasing" and "non-chasing" chapters were somewhat jarring.