Into The Storm Shouldn’t Prompt Too Much Climate Whinging

(12:18 a.m. July 19 – Edited to note the correct late night show Matt Walsh was on to promote the movie)

One of the guests on The Late Late Show Conan this week was comedian Matt Walsh, currently in the cast of Veep.  He’s also in the movie Into the Storm, coming out in the U.S. August 8th.  This week was also the first time I saw any advertising for the film, which as the title suggests, focuses on a series of major tornadoes and the consequences they wreak on a populated area.

The absence of mashed-up species and the fact that the film is not on the SyFy Channel in the U.S. made me a little concerned about how the film would be received.  After all, a reasonable person can be expected to know that Sharknado is far from a ripped-from-the-headlines yarn.  Ordinary tornadoes strong enough to pick up airliners from the runway?  There might be some concern over whether or not that could happen, and (sadly) whether or not climate change can be blamed for it.

Thankfully, the film appears to be much closer to Twister, the 1996 tornado movie, than the 2004 disaster film The Day After Tomorrow. The movie is of the ‘found-footage’ variety, and doesn’t stray from the local area affected by the storms.  And while the film exaggerates what tornadoes can do, it doesn’t appear to be as outlandish as more recent extreme weather films (there certainly don’t appear to be any zoological oddities involved).  At least that’s what I’m inferring from what a meteorologist wrote about the film’s trailer over at Slate.

If, and that might be a big if, there is to be a science or policy impact of this film, it might be to re-stoke the fires of interest around storm chasing and/or extreme weather forecasting.  But this is a movie released in August with little promotion and about as much star power.  The CGI in Into the Storm is certainly going to be better than what was available for the blockbuster Twister, but the same can’t be said about the name recognition of its cast.  Couple that with the habit of official Washington leaving town in August, and this film probably won’t register on a cinematic Beaufort scale.

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