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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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