Friday, June 27, 2014

Twister, Some 20 Years Later
Every Spring for the last 20 or so years life gets exciting. Living in Oklahoma and Kansas over that period of time I know for a fact, those of us living in Tornado Alley get to experience, the excitement that comes with the weather. Weather for us isn't just a conversation topic, it becomes a way of life that keeps our attention and unfortunately for some, death.  

We had lived in Oklahoma for 1 year after arriving on January 1 1995. Then on May 10 1996 there was a release of a little movie called Twister.  It received a lot of criticism from the critics and praise from many in the movie going audience. The movie starred Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. Paxton's character Bill Harding was a somewhat eccentric storm chaser who ends up working together with his former wife Dr. Jo Harding a meteorologist to chase some serious storm in Oklahoma. The movie filmed in Central Oklahoma was riddled with good weather and clear skies leaving production depending heavily on cinema special effects provided by Industrial Light and Magic. Those effects helped draw multitudes to theaters with Twister becoming the 2nd highest grossing movie of 1996.

Much of Twister was objected to by many who had gone through tornadoes, experienced damage or loss of life but the movie also was found to be humorous by many storm chasers in our area who I spoke with regarding the movie, albeit extremely entertaining. The experts have said the scenes are outlandish but didn't take away from their enjoyment of the film because it brought recognition to real storm chasing including those chasing storms for safety purposes and research as was the case with most of the chasers in the movie. Unfortunately, according to several chasers, there are also those chasing for pleasure with little or no training or appreciation on the real destructive properties of a tornado. Dangerous traffic situations can occur due to that attitude as was exemplified last year even as an experienced storm chaser was caught in a tornado outside of Oklahoma City due to the amateur chasers and spectators.

www.thevirtualpew.comAs is the case in Twister, those of us in society often get caught up in our surroundings and in the latest habits or popular activities. We don't think about the potential dangers we may be getting into. There are at times dangers for those not following safe guidelines, not only in storm chasing but in life. It is one of the areas Twister does quite well. It shows dangers yet at the same time tells a story many cam appreciate, whether it be the dedication to chasing storms and the attempt to save lives or the rather incredible, albeit, unbelievable special effects presented in the movie. The same could be applied to our lives, how do we look at life, what do we look for, and will we recognize the real from the fake? Can we spot danger and see our surrounding for what they are? Or do we become mesmerized to the point that we put ourselves in dangerous and life threatening situations. I enjoyed Twister the first time I saw it and have seen it several times since. I know that much of the film isn't realistic, yet I also know that there are parts that are. There are those who constantly put themselves in harms way, just like in life. Some for good reasons others out of stupidity. The earth has a way of letting others know of the power of God if willing to listen, unfortunately many don't. Truth is, in both Kansas and Oklahoma and I suspect other places, when the sirens go off, more times than not many go outside looking for the tornadoes, knowing full well of the dangers. We know of the power, yet, in our own stupidity we confront those dangers face to face. For some, at times, with devastating consequences. In that regard, Twister addresses in an allegorical way that aspect of many of us not just in the chasing of storms, but the storms of life. 

Twister is a film that is still enjoyed by many. There are also questions that challenge us. Will we respect God and His power? What about the power of Nature? Will we use our own abilities and desires to seek out ways to help others or be foolish and take advantage of or think we can control either God or nature? If we go into dangerous places, doing dangerous things, we should be prepared and understand, that just as in the storms of nature, the storms of life can also present some dangerous and eventful consequences. 

www.mosaicwichita.comTwister is an entertaining movie that keeps most viewers on the edge of their seats due in part to the story and the incredible special effects. The situations that bring that about on screen for many of us also brings about similar concerns in real life, whether it be the break up of a relationship, the unexpected harm to another, or horrific events to seemingly innocent people. While the movie may at times exaggerate those aspects, in some ways, it also presents an appropriate allegory for those of us experiencing hardship in life, or the need to rescue a friend or family member going through the difficulties they do. I like many others realize this isn't the most Oscar considered story, the most believable of circumstances and so forth in a movie, but it is a movie that holds its own after some 20 years. People like to dream, they like to have a thrill, they like seeing that which seems to be unbelievable. In all of those areas, in a way many can relate to, Twister still succeeds. Now as the tornado sirens blare outside, what should I do? Give a second, I have to go take a look outside.

The following is a brief documentary about real storm chasers. To see the video just click on the video, if the video doesn't appear or work, just click on the following link.

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