Jan de Bont may have vanished off the face of the Hollywood map after directing three duds in a row with Speed 2: Cruise Control, The Haunting and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, but his first two movies will always hold a special place in the hearts of a certain generation, and those with a soft spot for spectacle cinema in general.
Speed may have been his calling card that still endures as one of the finest actioners ever made, but Twister was his biggest hit, raking in close to half a billion dollars at the box office. The $90 million disaster epic arrived at a time where CGI wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now, and the movie straddles the line between computer generated destruction and old school practical effects.
There’s also a charming Bill Paxton lead performance, a stellar ensemble cast and plenty of impressive action scenes that still hold up today. As such, the news that a remake was in the works with Top Gun: Maverick and Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski attached was received with a rather mixed response.
Kosinski is definitely a fantastic visual filmmaker, but has always been lacking in the story department, and one of Twister‘s main selling points outside of the carnage was the camaraderie of the cast. In a recent interview, de Bont was asked about the upcoming remake and he didn’t seem to be particularly sold on the idea, saying:
“I read that like a month or two ago. I said, ‘Wow. Are they going to do the F5 now?’. I bet you that’s what it is. You cannot do it by making it bigger. That as a movie hardly ever works. You have to come up with people actually involved in it. You cannot just, it’s like, I’ll work on the destruction scene. We’re going to get worse and whole cities are going to get destroyed. That’s exactly like falling in the trap of having the special effects completely take over.”
He’s certainly got a point. There’s plenty of scope to create a disaster movie based on an entirely new concept, and remaking Twister just feels like another lazy attempt at cashing in on the nostalgia and familiarity that comes with a recognizable brand at the expense of originality.