When I sat down to watch Into the Storm I was mentally prepared to see a few storms. After all, this movie's title is three monosyllabic words that are making a very clear promise to the viewer. However, I wasn't prepared for this movie to get to its tornado action in its first thirty minutes. I had thought it was going to drag out its silly human plots a lot longer; I had thought that there was going to be scene after scene of goofy high schoolers flirting and complaining about their parents and that there would be endless drama between the storm-trackers who were about to lose their funding if they didn't get good footage of a big tornado soon. Tornadoes generally only last for a few minutes at a time, so I was expecting Into the Storm to save those few minutes of expensive CGI excitement until after it had already exhausted its cheap human elements. But nope: this movie just got right down to tornadoin'.
Which was a pleasant surprise - after all, who cares about those high schoolers? - but it did raise a question: now that we've already gotten a tornado and it's already dissipated, now what? I'll tell you what: super-tornadoes. That's right: the second act of this movie doesn't just give us more storms, it gives us a deadlier storms. Specifically, it creates a tornado made of flames. (It got set on fire after it managed to accidentally inhale a huge tanker full of gasoline. Haven't we all been there?) Now, you might think that a flaming tornado is gilding the lily a bit since your normal non-flaming tornado is already a massively powerful engine of destruction that can carry an entire building across miles of terrain before dropping it back on the ground at hundreds of miles an hour. And maybe a flaming tornado is kind of overkill-ish, but I can't deny that it was cool looking. Still: after the flaming tornado appeared I had to ask myself: there's still half an hour to go in the movie, how in the hell are they going to top this?!
The answer: by turning a tornado into a hurricane, basically. That is to say: they mated two or three tornadoes together to create one massive, massive tornado - one that seemed to be two or three miles wide. When our motley collection of teens and weathermen saw the super-tornado coming their way their jaws dropped. They couldn't believe what they were seeing. I, on the other hand, could believe what I was seeing because it was basically the exact same thing I'd seen an hour ago, just times two. But still, I was impressed by this films chutzpah. It's not like Armageddon had the balls to deliver a double-asteroid at it's denouement; that half-assed little disaster movie seem to think that just having one Earth-shattering asteroid was enough.
However, while that double-tornado was cool, it did raise a question: what in the hell are they going to do in the sequel? They seem to have written themselves into a corner, because they can't do a double flaming tornado, and if they try to give us a regular triple tornado it will all too obvious that they are out of ideas. Fortunately for the Into the Storm people I have a few handy sequel ideas that they can have for free...
In my mind there are a few god ways that Into The Storm 2 could take its tornado action to the next level. The first path would be the simplest: turn the tornado red. Now, right now you might be saying ‘Kirk, you can’t make a force of nature scarier by adding some food coloring.” But I didn’t pick red because it’s like the fiery orange tornado from the first Into the Storm only slightly more intense. No, I picked red because I was thinking of Jupiter’s great red spot, which is a massive tornado that has been spinning for thousands of years. The red spot handily beats any tornado Earth has ever seen; if you could recreate it in Kansas it would be a game-changer.
Which naturally leads me to my second idea: just relocate Into the Storm 2 to Jupiter. Oh, sure, that might sound like a betrayal of the first movie’s Midwestern roots, but come on: we didn’t watch this movie because it was going to have a bunch of beautiful shots of cornfields, we watched this movie because it was going to have nutso storm action. And if Jupiter has the nutsiest storm action in the solar system, well, by God, that’s where this movie’s nubile teens and middle aged stormtrackers need to go. Sure, the teens will looks less cute in their spacesuits than they do in their school clothes, but some sacrifices will have to be made to ensure the most weatherized bang for the audience’s buck.
However, if space travel isn't your thing I have another earthbound idea. In the 30 Rock episode Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning Jack Donaghy orders his underlings to come up with a list of every possible natural disaster and one of their imaginary scenarios is to have a tornado hit a handgun factory, and then as it is spinning around it fires the handguns at everything in sight. Now, clearly 30 Rock meant that as a joke scenario, but is that any sillier than a flamethrower tornado? Wouldn't a tornado doing a drive by be the scariest thing you've ever seen?
Of course, if you're talking about a tornado teaming up with other non-weather related disasters to create a next level threat then you're heading into Sharknado territory. And while that might be entertaining, that might not be what the Into the Storm people want. They're making a big budget theatrical film, not a made for TV movie, so they need to be respectable. But maybe those ideas wouldn't seem so goofy if they were just done really well? I think they might be able to redeem the handgun-ado idea if they just threw enough money at a really good special effects company...
Which gives me another thought: what if the tornado hit Scrooge McDuck’s money bin and started throwing bags of gold at people? If done right that could be an incisive commentary on how man’s greed is causing him to ruin the environment, and how that is going to come back and bite all of us in the ass… Or in this case to cave in our skull…
Okay, Into the Storm people: the ball is now in your court. And if you don't like any of these, just know that I can definitely come up with some more. The next tornado could carry an iceberg dangerously close to New York City... It could threaten to drop an oil rig on top of suburban Houston... Oh my god, what if it hit a hidden colony of sasquatches, set them on fire, and then dropped them on San Francisco? Even if you aren't willing to go to Jupiter with me the possibilities are still endless.
Winner: No Contest (I also feel asleep a little)