Volcano 1997

Volcano

Critics Consensus

Volcano's prodigious pyrotechnics and Tommy Lee Jones' crotchety sneers at lava aren't quite enough to save this routine disaster film.

50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 46

31%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 180,568

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Movie Info

When a massive earthquake rocks the city of Los Angeles, Emergency Management department head Mike Roark (Tommy Lee Jones) returns from his vacation to help with the city's response. After geologist Dr. Amy Barnes (Anne Heche) warns that a volcano may be forming in sewer tunnels, another severe earthquake unleashes the lava flowing underfoot, threatening to destroy the whole city. As the fiery molten rock runs through the streets, Roark and Barnes must figure out how to divert it.

Cast & Crew

Anne Heche
Dr. Amy Barnes
Gaby Hoffmann
Kelly Roark
Don Cheadle
Emmit Reese
Jacqueline Kim
Dr. Jaye Calder
Keith David
Police Lieutenant Ed Fox
John Corbett
Norman Calder
Michael Rispoli
Gator Harris
Lauren Shuler Donner
Executive Producer
Alan Silvestri
Original Music
Theo van de Sande
Cinematographer
Don Brochu
Film Editor
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Critic Reviews for Volcano

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (23)

  • Volcano, busily and cheerfully hysterical, always has some new fish to fry, new truck to melt, new skyscraper to tumble or new manhole to pop with a radiant gusher of movie magma.

    February 28, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • Quote not available.

    September 7, 2011 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
  • Never generates a head of true excitement, partly because the characters remain constructs designed to perform defined functions, and partly due to the time-worn hokiness of the whole disaster-film format.

    March 26, 2009

    Todd McCarthy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Jones and Heche work hard to dig up an emotional rapport from next to nothing, while the slow but inexorable progress of the lava makes for more suspense than the usual slam bang firework display.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Quote not available.

    April 12, 2002 | Rating: 2/4
    Globe and Mail
    Top Critic
  • The coast may be toast, but it's the lava, covering everything like a malevolent tide of melted butter, that makes this a disaster picture that's tastier than usual.

    February 14, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Volcano

  • Jun 10, 2015
    Exciting and action-packed, Volcano is an explosive disaster film. When the La Brea Tar Pits erupt into an active volcano, the police and fire departments fight a desperate battle to contain it before it destroys Los Angeles. Featuring Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Don Cheadle, and Gaby Hoffmann, the casting is pretty decent. Also, the special effects are quite impressive, and do an incredibly job at conveying the awesome power and destructive force of the volcano. But, the script is terrible; with poorly written dialog and some preposterous action scenes. Still, there's a lot of suspense and tension to the fire fighting and rescue efforts. Though Volcano is a little silly and melodramatic at times, overall it's entertaining and kind of fun.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2012
    The second volcano disaster film released in 97 and clearly a different tone, didn't do as well as 'Dante's Peak' and its easy to see why. First off the plot, like most all disaster films, is completely identical to that other volcano film. This film kicks off almost straight away with the action and pending volcano but overall its all the same. Simply replace Brosnan with Jones and the fact no one believes him until it just darn too late. From there on the film becomes a ludicrously silly action/thriller which really should be titled 'Lava' as that's all its about, you only see the small volcano for a few shots. You can look at this film as more of a blockbuster 'arcade' type as its not very realistic and overly flashy. Sure its got everything you would expect in a disaster film including the heroic sacrifice, obligatory dog, a few people being melted away in lava (had to have that!) but it also has so much cheese. The forced racism sub plot between a white cop and black youth who at the end make up and help each other seemingly vanquishing the hatred? OK its a good sentiment but holy crap its lame. The film progresses ever predictably towards its ever so obvious happy ending as downtown LA melts n bubbles away. You just move from one catastrophic setup to the next, some with your typical heroic bookend and some with your typical emotional bookend. The effects are pretty good in places yes, gotta give the film that, the lava does look pretty hot and you do get a good sense of sweltering sheer heat from the action. The final finale is an utter ridiculous joke that simply doesn't help the film a tall. The way they solve the problem in the time they have is just plain comicbook stuff, add to that the over the top end sequence for Jones which is laughable. Luckily the solid Tommy Lee saves the film from utter B-movie obscurity with his craggy features. Nowhere near as good as 'Dante's Peak' and nowhere near as accurate with the facts. Not a total problem as we know off the bat this ain't no serious flick. Unfortunately you can't help but compare it to the superior earlier volcano flick which ticks all the right boxes including realism and thrills. End of the day this just feels like some Hollywood suit thought how cool it would be to see how much destruction and mayhem there would be if you moved a volcano from way out in the wilderness to a major city. Yeah we can cause lots of shit to blow up and melt in a city!.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2012
    Volcano is a cheesy disaster movie with some decent acting from Tommy Lee Jones and some memorable moments, but is so filled with cliches that is just simply a bad film.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2011
    Volcano is a decent disaster film with a good cast. Continuing the trend of epic disaster films, Volcano though engaging and somewhat entertaining and fun. However the film could have been much better than this and the film relies on clichés from the genre to establish its story. Volcano is entertaining, and is a decent disaster film; however it fails to do anything new or exciting with the genre. I mean the film is basically Dante's Peak in Los Angeles. There's a good cast here, and they manage to keep Volcano from being a total dud. I enjoyed the film, but the film could have been much better and the film does lack a bit, and leaves a lot to be improved on. Volcano can be viewed as a popcorn flick and nothing more. There's enough thrills here to be entertained, but the film could have been done much better. There are some cool special effects, but the film does lack in substance and effective story buildup. Some disaster films work well, but other scrape by, and this is one that almost becomes a dud. However there are enough good elements to make the film watchable and it's a decent action/disaster film for what it is. However if you want the better volcano disaster film, watch Dante's Peak instead. Volcano is a decent, entertaining film, but it could have been a much better film as well. I think that the plot was good, but needed to be a bit more developed; luckily the cast saves it from a total mess. A decent film to watch, but nothing ever great.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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