Scientifically and Entertaining
Dante’s Peak ( 1997 )
Distributor :Universal Pictures
Director: Roger Donaldson
Producer: Gale Anne Hurd / Joseph Singer / Ilona Herzberg.
Screenplay : Leslie Bohem
Cast: Pierce Brosnan / Linda Hamilton / Charles Hallahan.
Music : JamesNewtonHoward / John Frizzell.
cinematography: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Editing: Conrad Buff / Tina Hirsch / Howard Smith
Budget: $116 juta
Duration: 109 min
Harry Dalton (Brosnan) is a volcanologist sent to Dante’s Peak, a small city in a slope of a mountain that is predicted to be active again. Dante’s Peak itself just received an award as the second most comfortable city to live. There, Harry finds that there is an early indication that the mountain is going to erupt. Harry suggests the mayor of Dante’s Peak, Rachel Wando (Hamilton), and the officials to evacuate the citizens. In the other hand, Harry’s supervisor (Callahan) refuses for the reason of implication in economic sector and there is no real scientific evidence that the volcano is going to erupt. In the next day, the progress shows that Harry’s prediction is right.
Since the beginning, the story is slow but sure with the details on the scientific facts to help the audience that are unfamiliar with volcanology. The conflict of the story lies on Harry and his boss who have different understanding about the volcano’s status. Else than that, the close relationship between Harry and Rachel and her family does not only give dramatic flavor but also initiate a new problem for the story. The tragedy in the movie won’t happen if Rachel’s children do not catch up their granny on the higher ground of the mountain.
Dante’s Peak is plain, a little bit extreme, and predictable just like any other disaster movies but those characteristics do not diminish its tense story plot. The strength of this movie is on the rescue attempt and the captivating artificialized volcano activity. Hundreds of panicked citizen, tremors, and pyroclastic flows are convincingly visualized with special effect. Dante’s Peak is a fictive city and the volcano is just a product of digital imagery. However, the audience can be unconsciously made believe that the volcano is real during the movie. From the cast, Pierce Brosnan can free himself from the image of James Bond and perform the character of an experienced volcanologist. Hamilton as the mayor and Charles Hallahan as Harry’s supervisor also deserve the cast.
Dante’s Peak is generally a mild and entertaining movie with some enlightening moral value. How advanced the technology humans have, catastrophe is still something unpredictable. Yet, it can be anticipated. Human’s life is worth more than anything and that is a lesson from a disaster-prone place like Dante’s Peak.
Alumnus of film academy in Yogyakarta, practitioner, writer at Montase, and focusing on indie movies