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Joe Versus the Volcano (2002)

Tom Hanks , Meg Ryan , Patrick Shanley , John Patrick Shanley  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (301 customer reviews)

List Price: $5.97
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Frequently Bought Together

Joe Versus the Volcano + The Tom Hanks Comedy Favorites Collection (The Money Pit / The Burbs / Dragnet) + Turner and Hooch
Price for all three: $14.71

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Robert Stack, Abe Vigoda, Lloyd Bridges
  • Directors: Patrick Shanley, John Patrick Shanley
  • Writers: John Patrick Shanley
  • Producers: Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Teri Schwartz
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 2, 2002
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (301 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Y71F
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,196 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Joe Versus the Volcano" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Eric Burdon Sixteen Tons music video
  • Cast film highlights

Editorial Reviews

Laughs erupt when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fall in love and fall in lava in Joe Versus the Volcano, a colorful, stylish laughquake written and directed by Moonstruck Oscar winner John Patrick Shanley. As Joe, Hanks adds to his phenomenal string of successes that includes, Splash, Big and Turner & Hooch. And Meg Ryan follows up her starmaking When Harry Met Sally...with three roles, playing each of the women in Joe's life. When we first meet Joe, he has the white-color blues. Every day is Monday, the boss is always in a bad mood and the cumulative stresses convince Joe he has a terminal condition called a "brain cloud." So when a zany jillionaire pops up and offers him a fleeting taste of the good life, Joe leaps at the chance. All he must do in return is leap into a volcano. But funny things happen on the way from the urban isle of Manhattan to the remote tropical isle of Waponi Woo... Out of the corporate frying pan. Into the fire. Is Joes doomed to be the last of the red-hot lovers? Not if the forces of courage, love and comedy have their way.

DVD Features:
Interactive Menus
Music Video:Eric Burdon, "Sixteen Tons"
Scene Access
Theatrical Trailer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most People Miss the Point March 29, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
The first time I watched this movie, shortly after its release, when I was a small lad, something struck me as "different" about this movie. The direction was good, the plot was VERY simple, and the acting was wonderful, with plenty of comedic and ironic elements.
However after watching it again during my high school years, I remember picking out dozens of metaphorical and symbolic items from the plot. Every evil or destructive force in Joe's life is symbolized by the company logo that the film features at the beginning, right down to the lightning bolt featured prominently later in the film. The fact that every woman important to Joe is the same girl, the lovely Meg Ryan, carries the theme of recurrence quite well.
To sum it up, Joe is an individual who has died, if not in reality, in spirit, stuck in a dead-end job after personal crises drove him to hypochondria. He discovers he is terminally ill, then is confronted by an eccentric millionare who wants Joe to sacrifice himself to a volcano on a small polynesian island to secure mining rights for his superconductor company. Joe proceeds to go on an endless stream of discovery, realizing that while he may be dying, he was never more alive. The recurring themes in this movie, such as the jagged line logo, Meg Ryan's appearance, his luggage, and the bizarre but likeable characters he's confronted with throughout make this movie seem more like a vision quest for Joe than the last few weeks of his life.
The plot is simple, but hides deeper meanings and morals, like any great fairy tale. This is possibly the best movie I have ever seen, and very worthy of purchase.
Now if they'd just put it on DVD.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood, Poetic Fantasy August 28, 2000
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan will be best know for "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail" but this is really their best work. Tom Hanks has seemingly gone through three stages as an actor. Inane, teen-oriented buffoon ("Bachelor Party", "Volunteers") to quirky, but lovable ("Big", "Joe Versus the Volcano") to serious ("Philadelphia", "Saving Private Ryan"). "Joe Versus the Volcano" represents the best of his middle career and in my opinion, his best period. In playing Joe Banks, he captures the best of silliness and seriousness in one role. He shows a much greater range of acting ability than he has in any other film. Meg Ryan is equally amazing, playing three very different roles convincingly. This is a movie I have to view over and over because each time I do, I pick something up I hadn't previously. There is a hidden story underneath the surface and its up to the viewer to discover it. This movie is a veritable tapestry of symbolism and hidden messages. Listen carefully to the dialogue, especially the speech Joe gives to his boss after he leaves his job. And try to spot how many times you see the zig-zag symbol throughout the film.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Sleeper February 4, 2005
Tom Hanks gives one of his best comedic performances here as Joe, a hypochondriac who's led to believe he's dying from a "Brain Cloud." So he strikes a bargain in which he gives up his humdrum existence working for an artificial prosthesis factory with loud, buzzing flourescent lighting, to live a life of luxury for several weeks until he is forced to become a human sacrifice by hurling himself into a volcano to appease the gods of an island populated by orange soda drinking natives of a bizarrely comical multi-ethnicity. Somehow it all pulls together.

Meg Ryan - whom I normally cannot tolerate - here is charming in three different roles.

The great Ossie Davis has a small role as a chauffeur, and, charmer that he is, nearly walks off with the entire movie.

A delightful sleeper that passed under most people's raider. Worth a second look.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I forgot how BIG... August 8, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO is one of my all-time favorite movies. But if you've never seen JOE, I need to warn you that most people (and I mean *most*) don't like it. In fact, most of them hate it. Indeed, many of them will tell you it's the worst movie ever made. And that's even after I've given them my big pitch about how to watch JOE to catch its brilliance. I can't even tell you that the people who hate JOE are somehow lesser human beings - many people I really admire hate this movie.
Still, I think you should see it. Think of it this way - it's like an easy personality test. Instead of answering twenty questions to find out whether you're a Type A personality or a Type B personality, you can just watch JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO. Right away, you'll know if you are a pro-Joe or an anti-Joe. I figure you can't lose either way.
If you're an anti-Joe, you'll be in the clear majority. You and all the other anti-Joes can get together and roll your eyes about this ridiculous movie with its lame orange-soda jokes and stupid plastic sharks. At the worst, you'll be able to say you saw Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in the movie before they got the chemistry "right" in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE.
On the other hand, the gods might smile upon you and you might find yourself among the small but happy band of pro-Joes. It's like being in a secret society! When you find one of those precious few pro-Joes, you can mutually bask in the glow of having enjoyed this amazing fable of spiritual awakening. You can argue with one another about whether the best part of the movie is the opening sequence of Joe's really lousy job; or his diagnosis with a brain cloud; or Lloyd Bridges' over-the-top performance as Mr. Graynamore (Gray No More, get it?
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great atmosphere and even better music...
If you're serious about your movies, you may not like this. It's a silly, corny, nonsensical movie that's more metaphor than anything else, but it's great fun. Read more
Published 7 days ago by IT Guy
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie!
This movie is simply delightful. It's the first Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie I ever saw. I fell in love with them together. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Sean's Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved IT!
I Really Loved This Movie! Super Cute & Entertaining! Clean movie for the family to watch for a good movie night!
Published 14 days ago by Joscelyn Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite movies
A terrific movie loaded with satire. I love Tom Hanks' earlier, comedic work like this. And Meg Ryan is fantastic in her various roles. You can't help but enjoy this movie.
Published 20 days ago by Jason Scott
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, But Not Magma Cum Laude Either
As others have pointed out, this movie is more fairy tale than romance. Everything is over the top: Joe's working conditions, the comical natives on the volcanic island, the... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Ross E. Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Waponi Woo
The chemistry between Hanks and Ryan is fantastic! I love the depiction of the moon when they're floating on the steamer trunks.
Published 27 days ago by Paul Soderquist
4.0 out of 5 stars Joe versus the volcano
It's hard to believe that this movie is 24 years old. It's corny but still entertaining. I fondly remember watching this movie as a kid.
Published 29 days ago by nr24769
3.0 out of 5 stars Good message, decent movie
That pretty much sums up this 1990 film starring Tom Hanks as a miserable man stuck in an uninspiring job. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Norman Zoe
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Film
This is one of those movies I saw twice in a row in the theater and has followed me ever since. The message is one that I always need to remind myself of - Don't wait until you are... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sylvia Gillespie
5.0 out of 5 stars what a weird fun movie
Just so finny and odd. One of my all time favorites. You really do either love it or hate it.
Published 1 month ago by hpwk
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Topic From this Discussion
It's on Amazon Prime streaming which I believe is HD.
May 19, 2013 by John Pen |  See all 2 posts
Joe Versus the Volcano soudtrack
Varese Sarabande released the dramatic score (NOT the songs) on a CD in 2003; it has sold out but copies turn up on e-bay quite often.....
Apr 20, 2008 by shureman |  See all 2 posts
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