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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An explosive treat!
Dante's Peak seems like the ideal place to live... the serenity of the mountainous landscape and the friendly atmosphere seems to wipe out the fact that the town is nestled at the base of a dormant volcano. However, when the U.S.G.S. begins to pick up signals from the volcano that indicate a possible eruption, they send Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan) to investigate...
Published on April 12, 2000 by D. Litton

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thar She Blows!!!
This 1997 movie came out around the same time Tommy Lee Jones' movie "Volcano" did too. This one is better. I might be a little biased because this movie was filmed about 45 miles or so away from where I live. I guess I have a case of favoritism going on here. Pierce Brosnan(Bond, James Bond)stars as a volcano expert named Harry Dalton from the U.S. Geological Survey who...
Published on May 8, 2002 by Barry


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An explosive treat!, April 12, 2000
By 
D. Litton (Wilmington, NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dante's Peak - DTS (DVD)
Dante's Peak seems like the ideal place to live... the serenity of the mountainous landscape and the friendly atmosphere seems to wipe out the fact that the town is nestled at the base of a dormant volcano. However, when the U.S.G.S. begins to pick up signals from the volcano that indicate a possible eruption, they send Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan) to investigate. While there, he befriends town mayor Rachel Wando (Linda Hamilton) and informs her of the risks. When he begins to get the city council into an uproar, his advisor shows up to cool things down and wards off any ideas of an eruption. But the symptoms begin to grow, and soon, ash and rock are flying in the sky as the mountain explodes upon the small township. It's a race for survival for Dalton and Wando, as they must search for Wando's children and get them out before the impending final showdown with the volcano. Digital Domain's special effects contribute so much to the story, making it real and placing its characters in real peril. Suspense, action, romance and a terrific cast make this disaster movie a winner. The DTS version is remarkable, and it is recommended that this be the version you buy.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy the fireworks, July 16, 2007
This review is from: Dante's Peak [HD DVD] (HD DVD)
The 'old-fashioned' disaster movie scenario enjoyed a brief resurgence in the latter half of the 90s. After the success of Twister and ID4, films like Hard Rain, Titanic, Armageddon and Deep Impact followed in its wake. Like the two competing asteroid movies, Dante's Peak was in competition with the imaginatively named Volcano as THE Lava flow of 1997. Which one is better? Well, comparing the two is like comparing an atomic blast to a popping pimple.

Pierce Brosnan is Harry Dalton, a Vulcanologist (or James Bond in disguise if you want) who predicts a major eruption in the quaint Pacific-Northwestern town of Dante's Peak. No one wants to listen to him since the town has just been named the 2nd most desirable place to live in America and is in the early stages of a thriving economy. It's the politics from Jaws all over again. Despite being shouted down by his superiors, Harry sticks around to keep his eye on the imposing mountain and woo Mayor Wando (Linda Hamilton), who is the only one who believes the 4000-year dormant volcano might blow its top.

If you've seen one disaster movie, you've seen 'em all in terms of character importance. Yes, it's bloody obvious who is going to die, some of these people might as well have a death clock counting down stuck on their foreheads. And the panicking idiot mobs don't deserve anything less firey. When will nameless extras learn that following the crowd isn't the best way? I guess this is the weakest part of Dante's Peak, it never really distances itself from that single, eternal cliché of disaster films.

But the film is really nothing but a showcase for special effects and it does them surprisingly well. Made before the extreme popularity of CGI, Dante's Peak has a lot of real-life destruction, in-camera effects and stunt-work. Yes, there is a fair bit of CGI and for a 10-year-old film they still hold up really well. All Volano (Zzzz...) had to offer was a very, very slight lava flow and an unintentionally hilarious scene with a melting man but with Dante's Peak we get earthquakes, boiled skinny dippers, lakes of acid, ash blizzards that create a unique atmosphere, thunder and lightning, red hot boulders raining down from the sky, mudslides, lava (of course), a massive pyroclastic cloud and lots of deep, deep bass sound effects.

It's not a life-changing film by any means, but as disaster movies go it's one of the best, has an occasionally spooky score and entertains really well despite Brosnan taking it all so seriously. I would have given it a higher rating if they killed the dog (more original) and deleted the annoying Grant Heslov's utterly pointless character.

The Blu Ray presents the film is gorgeous 1080p 2.35:1 with a brilliant DTS HD-MA sound design. The best of the extras from the SD-DVD are ported over, but why the horrible new cover?
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dante's Peak, March 10, 2008
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In 1997 there were two eagerly anticipated volcano movies released. Dante's Peak was more of a blockbuster hit, with more entertainment value, but not very accurate from a geologist's standpoint.

Had it been based on reality instead of Hollywood, they all would have died early in the movie. You can't drive through lava. Since it can get up to 2000 degrees, the vehicle would have perished immediately. I also don't know many metal objects like a small boat that can survive direct contact with acid elements and remain floating indefinitely.

With all that said it was a good entertaining movie. Pierce Brosnan is always a must see!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thar She Blows!!!, May 8, 2002
This 1997 movie came out around the same time Tommy Lee Jones' movie "Volcano" did too. This one is better. I might be a little biased because this movie was filmed about 45 miles or so away from where I live. I guess I have a case of favoritism going on here. Pierce Brosnan(Bond, James Bond)stars as a volcano expert named Harry Dalton from the U.S. Geological Survey who is taken to the small, quaint, picturesque town of Dante's Peak, when there is evidence of an active volcano. He meets Rachel Wando, the town's mayor(played by Linda Hamilton)and alerts her that her town is in danger. Not everyone, including some of Harry's co-workers, think there is imminent danger. Oh they would be wrong. So wrong. Before you can say 'Mt. St. Helens', the volcano erupts and the town is in it's warpath. Ash flies everywhere, lava destroying everything in it's path, steaming lakes, mudslides, flooding. You name it. This is a disaster film and they throw in plenty of disaster. The effects in this movie are really awesome. If anything, there's that. It's very realistic and pulled off very nicely. Trees and buildings being incinerated look really good. For me, the best sequence in the film is when Pierce, Linda, her kids, and Grandma are traveling across the steaming lake in the little boat and the boat is slowly being eaten away. Great suspense in this intense and nerve racking scene. Pierce Brosnan is a charming presence, and is pretty believeable in his role as a volcano expert. Linda Hamilton doesn't whip out the finely tuned muscles she had in "Terminator 2", but she holds her own. Nicely cast as a mother and mayor of a small town. Charles Hallahan, who will best be remembered as the captain in the "Hunter" TV series also stars. I got the chance to drive over to this town and saw some stuff being filmed. I caught a brief glimpse of Linda Hamilton, but nothing great. I saw Pierce's chair. I was there to see the filming of the town racing out of the school as the volcano erupted and the church steeple crumbled over and smashed into the school bus. It was a great sight to behold. This was in Wallace, Idaho. This isn't a monumental film that most people will probably remember afterwards. It's pure Hollywood entertainment in every way. It's fun, exciting, and it is very entertaining. That's what we expect with a film like this and that is exactly what we get.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thar She Blows!, November 29, 2006
By 
Kathy W (Baltimore, MD, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Dante's Peak - DTS (DVD)
I really enjoyed this DVD. I like disaster films anyway. I think because you feel the struggle to survive throughout the film and there is always HOPE, then, in the end, you feel the rush of good feelings when the hero(s) survive these tremendous odds and "win".

This movie has outstanding visual effects and it builds nicely in intensity. It reminds you generally of the Mt Saint Helens story. The storyline involves a volcano that is up in the middle of God's country and erupts in this peaceful, unprepared and unbelieving town. There's enough added info about seismic detection equipment, pyroclastic blasts, sulphur in the water, etc. that makes you feel like you might be a little smarter after watching the movie. There is the usual introduction of characters, as typical of a disaster movie, before the xxxx hits the fan. That way you get to know a little bit about their history and personality. Once it hits the fan, there is non-stop action.

There is also a great mix of personality diversity in the movie, which definitely adds to its flavor. People like the older grandmother who doesn't want to leave the mountain when its about to blow, to the greedy helicopter pilot, to the overly cautious boss, to the extra cautious volcanologist, and all the people panicking. There are even 2 kids and a dog, and a lady mayor who runs a coffee shop on the side. Realistic? Well, we KNOW that NO ONE would be greedy and capitalize on someone else's misfortune, so maybe the greedy helicopter pilot is a little extreme? :-) Of course, the hero perseveres through all kinds of unbelievable turmoil. He just keeps on going.

Seriously, the diverse personalities help to add contrast and realism. They keep you on the edge, cheering the good guys, boo-ing the bad guys, and thinking things like "Hey, whattsamattah wit you! Can't you see the mountain is gonna blow! Get outtah there!--Oh, you dummy!"

If you like disaster movies, this is a good 'un.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and intense action!, March 21, 2001
By 
D. Litton (Wilmington, NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dante's Peak - DTS (DVD)
Action, suspense, and intensity abide in the effects-driven disaster film "Dante's Peak," a movie that will leave you awestruck and numb. I was completely enamored by almost everything the movie had to offer, even if some of the scientific information was a bit far-fetched to make room for the plot's twists and turns. Actors bring life and a human factor to the movie, but the real action lies with the astounding special effects used to bring a volcanic eruption to vivid and detailed life.
When seismic readings and graphs point to some geologic activity going on around the small town of Dante's Peak, the United States Geological Survey sends volcanologist Harry Dalton to investigate the possibilities. His arrival brings a silent tension on the town, which becomes voiced when he, along with Mayor Rachel Wando, come across two badly scorched bodies in the local hot springs. Dalton believes that the volcano may be "waking up" from a dormant period, but his boss shows up to calm his theories and instill calm back into the town council. Of course, the movie points in all directions to the impending eruption, in subtle ways that the characters have no interaction with.
From here, the group of scientists begin taking samples, surveying the landscape as well as taking helicopter trips into the volcano to determine if the recorded activity is of any consequence for worry. Meanwhile, Harry and Rachel get close, and their delicate relationship is put in the balance when the warning signs become more fervent, forcing them to call an evacuation of the entire town. But it comes too late, and soon everyone is fleeing for their lives as the mountainous volcano begins to spew hellfire and ash into the air, destroying the landscape and casusing massive destruction that stands in the way of Harry and Rachel's escape.
"Dante's Peak" follows a very well-known pattern for the duration of its plot: a situation that has implications of disaster is presented, one person knows what it going to happen but no one listens, and then all hell breaks loose. This movie carries off this particular structure quite well: it starts out slow and then speeds up to full speed, never slowing down and heightening the suspense given us by the incredible action sequences, smart dialogue and intense and vivid special effects that are the showcase of the movie. I found myself cheering it on in places, becoming completely enamored with what was going on, and satisfied with the final outcome of the movie.
The special effects for this movie are stupendous, and add a lot to the atmosphere the movie portrays. From the moment the mountain begins erupting, the effects give us the feel that everything is larger that life, from the volcano itself to the large, expansive cloud of ash that spreads across the sky and keeps the sun from penetrating. The nice thing about this film is that most of the effects are done with miniatures, giving it a mucher richer look than if it were only done with computerized effects. The sound is incredible, bass-heavy and prominent in wrapping us up in the action. All of these elements at work put us right in the middle of the film, bringing us into the experience as we hold our breath for the next new twist.
The scientific aspect for this movie is, for the most part, authentic, and while there are certain liberties taken, it is evident that the filmmakers wished for it to be as true to life as possible. Dalton throws out a lot of technical terms and phrases, making the sincere and believable. Allusions to eruptions and catastrophes of the past give the movie a sense of foreshadowed doom, while also keeping the suspense building. The overall effect this portion of the plot will have on you is overall intellectually backed up by facts and data, which keeps the movie real to life while keeping it moving.
The two main leads for the film are excellent in their roles, adding a lot to the experience. Pierce Brosnan is the ideal Harry Dalton: rough, rugged, and totally charming. He has the image of a loner who is looking for the right person. He also has a starkly emotional human side to his personality, as is shown in the beginning sequence when he loses his fiancee in a volcanic disaster. Linda Hamilton, playing Rachel, has a complex role of leader, damsel and mother. She does all three of them at different points, and her ability to combine her performance into all of them makes her performance the best of the film.
"Dante's Peak" is the kind of movie you watch with eagerness for the next scene, and then when it's over, all you want is more. The action comes to a screeching halt, and you've been throttled with so much of it already that to have it stop is murder. The movie is one that shakes the senses, and makes us believe in movies that have romance, suspense, intense action and rousing suspense.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catastrophe-Action Done Right; A Whopping Great Thrill Ride With Feeling, January 10, 2007
By 
Stephen B. O'Blenis (Nova Scotia, Canada) - See all my reviews
"Dante's Peak" is one of the disaster movies that really brings the genre to a super peak, with a realistic and thrilling earth-shaking (in this case literally) catastrophe, high octane action, glorious cinematography capturing great natural beauty, and high-quality characters and relationships. It is, of course, about a volcano, one of the most powerful forces in nature, and it successfully captures the grandeur and terror of such an event. I've always found volcanoes fascinating - they're terrifically destructive, and of course tragic for the havoc they wreak, both when they're near human habitation and when they're in the 'isolated' wilderness where the other creatures are the sole recipients of their explosive force. And yet they're undeniably beautiful, like a sunset or a howling snowstorm, and they're in fact an essential part of the inner workings of the earth. Also, although there is often a lot of death associated with volcanoes as acre after acre gets burnt up or covered with ash, they're also, paradoxically, major bringers of life. Even extremely barren, infertile lands with usually burst forth with new life within a few years of a volcano, because they bring forth such rich new nutrients in their lava.

"Dante's Peak" is smart by not having the disaster hit five minutes after the opening credits have finished rolling; there have been some movies of this nature over the years that have made just that mistake. This one though is perfectly paced throughout. There is plently of tight build-up and a couple of tragic harbingers of the bigger calamity to come. The action in the latter parts of the movie is explosive and exhilirating, among the best. It's interesting that "Dante's Peak" has managed to position itself as one of the greatest action movies without any real bad guys. There are some unlikable characters - short-sighted, arrogant, condescending - but that's all. They're jerks, but they're not characters who are going to go out and kill somebody. So in this tremendous action movie there's no one shooting at each other, no swordplay, no high-impact kick battles. Don't get me wrong - I love the kind of movies represented by "Lethal Weapon", "Timebomb", "True Lies", "Out Of Time", all that; and I generally even more love the more fantastical, really grand movies like "Superman Returns", "Star Wars", "Lord Of The Rings", "Spider-Man", all that stuff. But it's neat that a movie missing so many of the great staples of action fare has also brought itself up into the cream of the crop.

The visuals of "Dante's Peak" are awesome. The volcanic effects are extremely realistic, and just the natural splendor is great. As mentioned, the cinematography is incredible, although there is admittedly one wonderful shot that was promising to be truly spectacular but gets hampered a bit by the camera being in the wrong angle to capture it all. A very minor quibble. It would also be an extremely minor quibble if one was to spend too much time focusing on the improbably high number of razor-thin escapes by some of the characters. Movie makers Are allowed some artistic licences even in realistic scenarios after all, and besides, in a case where two outcomes are possible but one quite a bit more likely, you don't have to go with the most likely one Every time. You shouldn't also go with the most unlikely every time either or it loses its believability and tension, and "Dante's Peak" doesn't do that. It stays on just the right tip of the balancing scale.

Excellent stuff; for more disaster-oriented greats I also recommend "Deep Impact" and "Titanic".
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new HD-DVD video reference title, August 16, 2007
This review is from: Dante's Peak [HD DVD] (HD DVD)
WOW!!! This video transfer is the best HD-DVD video transfer I think I have had the pleasure of viewing. It is absolutely brilliant, it may not be everyones "cup of tea" as far as storylines go but you cannot fault the transfers they are fantastic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dante's Peak, November 4, 2006
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I enjoyed this movie, lots of action in the last part of the movie. Good acting and good plot. A movie you would want for your library of DVDs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories from a disaster film, November 5, 2002
By 
Orin (Wenatchee, WA) - See all my reviews
Having been on a lake in Eastern Washington when the ash clouds rolled in, I can say that this film brought alot of memories back to me. I can simply say that the scenes dealing with ash, water, and mud are very well done and very realistic(No, I do not think a 4x4 can drive on lava!). We were then stranded on a highway with NO visibility, choking, and our engine dead from the ash. The film captures that very well. Also, as a professional offroad instructor, it was great to see a film deal with at least some aspects of real four wheel driving. This is a fun action movie regardless, but the fact that they researched volcanoes and included realistic special effects puts this high on my movie list. As I said, it certainly brings back memories!
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Dante's Peak [Blu-ray]
Dante's Peak [Blu-ray] by Roger Donaldson (Blu-ray - 2011)
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