Case Number 18776: Small Claims Court

TORNADO VALLEY

Image Entertainment // 2009 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 23rd, 2010

The Charge

"Suck" or "blow"? Which is the accurate meteorological pejorative when it comes to tornadoes?

The Case

What happens if you made a tornado movie and no tornadoes showed up? Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Tornado Valley, the most disaster-free disaster movie I've ever seen. Then again, once you get a look at what the visual effects department cooked up, you'll probably be grateful for the tornado shortage.

Here's the lowdown: Liz McAdams (Meredith Monroe) is a storm chaser, who, as a child, watched her mom get inhaled by a tornado and probably launched into Israeli airspace. Ever since then, she's harbored a grudge against tornadoes. Will she ever be able to face her fears?

Yes! A mere 25 years later, a mega-twister forms and is tracking to attack her family, solidifying my theory that tornadoes take s -- -- personally. Teaming up with her beau Matt (Cameron Bancroft), a fellow storm chaser with some wild theories about tornadoes and a chiseled jaw-line, Liz races against the storm to save her family from certain death and along the way collects a modest paycheck.

It is 10:06 pm as I write this. Our newborn is cranky and I'm struggling to keep my eyelids open. Thinking critically about this movie is not helping things.

So before I slip out my chair, limp and lifeless and glossy-eyed, here's my reaction the nine people that harbor any interest in this experience: Tornado Valley has almost no tornado action and when one does show up it is far and away the worst-looking CGI twister I have ever seen.

I've always wondered about straight-to-DVD, effects-driven movies, so many years after Twister and Jurassic Park: How is that CGI effects can still look so awful? Granted we're talking about budgets on the atomic scale, but the equipment used to render flying cows and Velociraptors, that's gotta be in the bargain bin, right? We can't do better than the pathetic renderings that pass for killer twisters in Tornado Valley? Really?!

There are some subplots on the periphery focused on Liz's emotional handling of the loss of her family, the romance with her boy toy and some new storm tracking technology that is supposedly really awesome. It's all boring and no way compensates for the tedious pacing and the laughable effects.

No frills screener: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, nothing else.

The Verdict

I'm going to go with "blow."

Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 50

Perp Profile
Studio: Image Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1496904/combined