“Don’t breathe. Don’t look back,” commanded the tagline for the movie Twister from 1996. Apparently, that’s not a warning that Universal Pictures wants to heed. Instead, they’re looking back to the ’90s with a new adventure about storm chasers and the flying cows in their wake with the upcoming sequel Twisters.
That said, first trailer for Twisters features no familiar faces. Not only do we see no characters played by actors who sadly passed in the interim, such as Bill Paxton’s Bill or Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Rusty, but also missing is Helen Hunt’s protagonist Jo.
In their place is a new cast, primarily Daisy Edgar-Jones (Where the Crawdads Sing) as Kate Cooper and Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick) as Tyler Owens. Based on the trailer, the script by Mark L. Smith focuses on the braggart Tyler luring Kate back into the world of stormchasing after an expedition gone wrong. They’ll be joined by a cast just as impressive as the original’s lineup, including Anthony Ramos (In the Heights), Brandon Perea (Nope), Maura Tierney (The Iron Claw), David Corenswet (Superman: Legacy), and Kiernan Shipka (Totally Killer).
While the characters are new, there are some returning elements from the first Twister. In particular, we see the tiny “Dorothy” satellites that Bill and Jo used to study the inside of tornadoes. While producers have assured viewers that Twisters will feature updated science from the first movie, the fact that we’re seeing the same satellites in the new film suggests that perhaps not much has changed over 30 years.
The trailer for Twisters also shows off some quiet imagery and clips of dramatic scenes, something largely absent from the first movie. That makes sense for the first film, which was directed by action mainstay Jan de Bont and written by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin. Those names evoke non-stop thrills and dumb character decisions, not deep human emotion. However, Twisters comes from director Lee Isaac Chung, who offered a powerful look at Korean immigrants with his beautiful 2020 movie Minari.
At this point, it’s unclear how much character work Chung will actually get to do in an actioner like Twisters. The first film was fun precisely because it painted in only the broadest of strokes (again, see Hoffman’s Rusty). Although there was a bit of “trauma” talk in the form of Jo’s backstory, most of the movie dealt with the conflict between storm chaser motivations. Jo and the good guys were in it for the science, while Jonas and the villains did it for the money.
Neither Powell’s Tyler nor Edgar-Jones’s Kate seem like they have interest in anything other than learning and adventure. Twisters might just be about cool tornado effects. The trailer certainly teases plenty of those, including one scene where multiple tornadoes touch down, just as our stormchasing heroes are racing toward the storm. They seem to be in real trouble now. Let’s just hope that at least the cows are safe this time.
Twisters roars into theaters on July 19.
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