Dante's Peak

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1 1/2

Disaster movies are making a big comeback, and Dante's Peak is the first of two volcano movies exploding on the big screen this year. Although it's probably been patterned after the Mt. Saint Helens eruption, the plot is very similar to "Jaws." Volcano researcher Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan), whose fiancee was killed during a violent eruption in Colombia, now investigates seismic activity in the Pacific Northwest. Some tremors send him to Dante's Peak, a small town at the foot of a dormant volcano. Expecting a routine analysis, Dalton discovers indications that a major volcanic event is imminent and notifies the town's mayor, Rachel Wando (Linda Hamilton). However, the town council is more concerned about losing a lucrative development deal than any impending natural disaster. Dalton's boss also shows up and questions his findings, but it turns out Harry is right. During a town meeting to discuss evacuation, the volcano erupts, causing powerful earthquakes and enveloping the area in a cloud of ash. Later an even more immense eruption levels the town. The special effects are impressive at times, but the story isn't nearly as creative. The screenwriters resort to every disaster movie clich in the book, everything from a noble self-sacrifice to a dog being rescued at the last second. The volcano scenes are pretty thrilling, but don't expect to be emotionally engaged by the characters.

With Dante's Peak one would expect danger and action, but some scenes of devastation are probably too intense for young children. Dalton's fiancee is struck by a falling volcanic rock and bleeds profusely. A man and woman couple skinny-dipping in a hot spring are boiled alive by volcanic activity under the surface, and their nude bodies are seen floating face down in the water. Harry and Rachel become romantically involved and talk about having sex before they're interrupted by her daughter. Unfortunately, characters often express their emotions with many crude words and obscenities and a few regular profanities. Considering that the special effects are the only special thing in Dante's Peak, it's probably not the volcano movie to see.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (21) times - Mild 15, Moderate 6

Obscene Language: Many (10) times - s-word 5, others 5

Profanity: Many (21) times - Regular 4 (G-d 1, J 2, G 1), Exclamatory 17

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (volcanic eruptions with earthquakes, lava flows and property devastation; bloody head injury from falling rock, couple boiled by hot spring, floating corpses, avalanche, freeway collapse, explosion, helicopter crash, woman burned by acidic water with bloody injuries, man swept away by flood, mine cave-in, compound arm fracture)

Sex: None

Nudity: Rear nudity once with floating corpses; near nudity once (couple skinny-dipping)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Couple discusses having sex

Drugs: Alcohol drinking

Other: None

Running Time: 112 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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