YMMV / Twister

    The Jack Bickham novel 
  • Harsher in Hindsight: It would be easy to dismiss the events of the book as being a product of their time, when tornadoes were still largely unknowns and myths about them abounded. Something like the Thatcher tornado family approaching the town virtually unwarned and killing over a hundred people couldn't happen in modern times, could it? Ask the people of Joplin, MO about that.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Donna Field's little blackmail scheme wouldn't have worked nearly as well in modern times, when politicians routinely get salacious information reported on them and usually end up elected, or re-elected, with even greater numbers. Then again, we have Real Life examples of unfortunate pictures sinking public officials' careers, so perhaps in the age of cell phones, there could still be a Donna Fields.
  • Science Marches On: In a whole bunch of ways, which you would expect after 40 years of research. This was in the days where radar data had to be grease penciled in from film plates, and updates were carried on a bank of teletypes. FAX machines were cutting edge tech. The only means of confirming tornadoes were spotters with CB or emergency radios. The roads were empty of storm chasers. But for its day, it was far ahead of its time - it depicted multiple-vortex tornadoes, suction vortices (mini-tornadoes within the main funnel that do the most damage), stovepipe and wedge tornadoes, and even a satellite tornado that helped tear up Thatcher. Some specific examples:
    • It was still thought that pressure differentials, not wind loading, was what caused buildings to explode near tornadoes. So characters are busy opening windows to an oncoming tornado.note  Don't.
    • It was thought that the condensation funnel was lit inside by continuous lightning. It isn't, though tornadoes can and do generate lightning strikes.
    • The book has several characters peering up into well-defined condensation funnels. Now we know, thanks to various TIV and derivative armored vehicle projects, that it's like looking at a cloud close up; the funnel is often indistinct and mostly replaced by wind, rain and debris. A lot of it. There is a video showing a tornado interior (including the central downdraft vortex) but it is nothing like depicted in the book.
    • Myths about places that were immune from tornadoes still abounded. They are less common today but still exist - and still kill.
    • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud was in full effect. One particular Skywarn spotter has an extremely close encounter with a stovepipe tornado that, by all rights, should have picked him up or rolled him.
      • Then again, there's this. If you want to know just what that deputy felt as the Thatcher tornado bore down on him, take a long hard look at that video. The guy survived being hit by a violent tornado almost head on without injury.
    • It was thought that most winds in a tornado were vertical, and that they acted like giant vacuum cleaners. Nope. The winds in a tornado are all horizontal, but spinning with such force that they can pick things up by sheer aerodynamics, and once suspended in that windfield, very light things can stay that way for many miles. Heavier things, on the other hand...come down. Hard.
  • Values Dissonance: It's depiction of women is pretty sexist by modern standards, though the inclusion of a truly badass Alabama grandmother does help leaven it.
    The Jan De Bont movie 
  • Arc Fatigue: The unresolved romantic tension between Jo and Bill, with Melissa caught in the middle may come across as this to those who feel that their drama distracts too much from the goal of studying the tornadoes wreaking havoc across the Midwest.
  • Awesome Music: The main licensed track for the film is Van Halen's "Humans Being", which is basically an excuse for epically long Eddie Van Halen guitar solos. Van Halen also composed the instrumental played in the credits, "Respect The Wind", which basically IS an epically long Eddie Van Halen guitar solo.
    • Harsher in Hindsight: Shame that very song was what eventually made Sammy Haggar quit the band after Eddie rewrote his lyrics for being "too corny".
  • Critical Research Failure: Jo's father describes the approaching tornado as possibly an F5 in 1969, when the Fujita scale wasn't established until 1972. Tornados are measured on the scale of their damage, after they pass. You can't look at a tornado and say "That's an F5." It could turn out to be one. It isn't until it's over.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: After the untimely death of Bill Paxton at the age of 61 due to complications from heart surgery on February 25, 2017, 200 stormchasers spelled out his initials "BP." with their GPS coordinates over Oklahoma where most of the movie was shot. Many of them were inspired to become stormchasers by Paxton and the movie.
  • Defictionalization: Despite the fact that Dorothy was based off a real NOAA experiment (which was sadly unsuccessful), in 1996 charging directly at a Tornado to put something in its way was exactly what real storm chasers did not do (they would get as close as they could, but generally speaking they were still several miles away, especially in the case of an F4 or F5 Tornado). Fast forward to the 2010's and now storm chasers are more or less emulating the characters in the film in terms of technique, including building armored cars to drive right into the tornado itself!
  • Designated Hero: Bill. He gets engaged to a woman while he's still married, drags her along into a highly dangerous situation to find his current wife, assaults Jonas in front of news reporters, then finally upsets his fiancee enough for her to dump him after she hears him professing his feelings for Jo. Melissa didn't get engaged to you just because she's got a thing for meteorologists, Bill. You, sir, are an asshole.
  • Designated Villain: Other than being a Jerkass, Jonas doesn't do a thing that's villainous, but is seen as a sell-out for abandoning the team for corporate sponsors. He also used Bill's designs to build his own weather machine based on the team's, but then, Jo did the same thing after Bill had left, so...
  • Foe Yay: Could Jonas and Bill ease their tension with a roll in the hay?
  • Follow the Leader: Spawned an entire sub-genre of disaster movies, the latest being 2014's Into the Storm.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In 1996, the very year of release, an F5 and a series of smaller twisters hit Wisconsin, scouring crops, stripping topsoil, lifting and throwing heavy vehicles, destroying houses and businesses and sweeping 4 homes right off their foundations. Remember that barn they sheltered in with the pipe that went down 30 feet? Now switch that for a big hole in the ground. Miraculously only one person was killed by the whole cluster.
    • Not to mention the events of the May 3rd, 1999 tornado outbreak three years later bore quite a few similarities, including a record-breaking F5 exceeding 300 mph to cap it off.
    • In May 2010, some of the shooting locations in Oklahoma got hit by tornadoes.
    • The events of the Moore Tornado on the 20th of May 2013 also bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the film.
    • Then came 31 May 2013, the first ever deaths of storm chasers, in El Reno, Oklahoma (not far away from Moore). One of them, Tim Samaras, had designed a device similar to Dorothy to measure atmospheric conditions inside a tornado.
    • The F-5 tornado was seen to be extremely unpredictable, changing directions on a dime. The 2013 El Reno tornado was similarly erratic. Because of this, chasers were caught off-guard and killed: Jonas and Tim Samaras respectively.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: As goofy as the movie is, it's much beloved by storm chasers for giving a ton of attention to what had previously been an extremely obscure profession. After Bill Paxton's death, a ton of them went so far as to use their vehicles' satellite tracking to spell his initials across Midwest America.
  • Memetic Mutation
    • "The Suck Zone".
    • "We've got cows!"
  • Narm:
    • Jo's explanation of why she's so terrified of tornadoes. Trauma is one thing, but the way she says it makes it sound as though she doesn't think she's a meteorologist chasing storms so much as a profiler chasing UnSubs.
    Jo: You've never seen it! You’ve never seen it miss this house, and miss that house, and come after you!
    The Nostalgia Critic: Yes, apparently a factually-bound scientist is convinced that tornadoes are, in fact, serial killers.
    • The way the whole team overreacts with dumbstruck horror when Melissa asks whether there's an F-5 category for tornadoes, as if she'd just accidentally summoned the Devil himself to the breakfast table. It's pretty clear they were recalling Jo's experience as child, but F-5 tornadoes are something every meteorologist is familiar with, the conversation was obviously heading toward the subject, and it's so awkwardly written and acted it still comes off as silly.
    • Tornados are hardly pinpoint weapons of destruction; an F5 would by its very definition have levelled the best part of a town in passing, not just a random farm. Even if Jo was the only person to lose a loved one, she wouldn't be the only person to suffer. She had plenty of people to sympathise with her losses and yet pretty much chose to take it personally.
    • Even with Reality Is Unrealistic in effect, tornadoes literally 'roaring' like a tiger will never not be funny.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The opening scene when Jo's father is killed by a tornado, from the perspective of a little girl learning how helpless she is before nature.
    • The scene at the drive-thru theater is made of this. Of all the scenes in this movie, it perfectly captures the terror one feels being caught in a tornado. And it's at night.
    • For added measure, the tornado hits during a screening of The Shining. Narmy as it may be, the fact that the screen rips away just as it stops at the "Here's Johnny!" scene has somehow succeeded in making that moment even more unnerving.
    • Jonas and Eddie's deaths, after Jonas insists on driving blindly towards the F-5 only to be on the receiving end of a destroyed radio tower. Eddie is immediately killed when it hits, but Jonas is still very much alive when his truck is sucked into the cyclone, sent back to the earth where it becomes a massive fireball.
    • The entire movie. Every time a tornado strikes, it's a reminder of the awesome destructive power of nature, and how we are helpless to stop it even as it levels everything in its path.
  • Retroactive Recognition: A young Alexa Vega plays child Jo in the opening scene.
  • Snark Bait: Some critics (Roger Ebert among them) had a little too much fun riffing on the film's coinage of the term "suck zone" (the writing on this movie also won it the one-time "Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million" Razzie, though given the fact that the other four nominees had actually received good reviews at the time, it effectively was Twister's to lose).
    • Fear of this is what made the studio change the planned tagline to "The Dark Side of Nature." What was the original tagline? "It sucks."
  • Special Effect Failure: Most of the film's special effects were incredibly advanced and are still amazing to look at. However, the CGI cows just don't hold up these days, especially on the small screen.
    • The scene of the truck exploding was pretty lousy even for its time.
    • The sound the tornado makes is rather unrealistic as well, due to it being a very slowed-down camel grunt.
      • Survivors and witnesses of tornadoes have described a plethora of various sounds made by them: a gigantic overloaded washing machine, a thousand screaming pigs, hundred of lions roaring at once, the world's largest jet engine, etc. The sound effects team ended up using over four hundred different sounds for the six tornadoes, and all of them are used for the F5 tornado.
    • In the shot where they suddenly stop and make a detour while chasing a tornado, you can see Jonas' convoy pass them, then switch camera angles and you see Jonas' convoy pass them again, and another camera angle switch and see Jonas' convoy pass them yet again!
      • It's a fleet where all the vans are identical, so definitely YMMV.
      • And in the cow scene, you can see traffic going the opposite way in the rear window of the Dodge Ram. In another blink-and-you-miss-it shot, you can see a Texas highway sign, even though they're supposed to be in Oklahoma.
  • Tearjerker: The death of Jo's father is most definitely this, and is the cause of her obsessive pursuit towards stopping the very thing that killed him. The moment where Bill confronts Jo about this, and for talking like the tornado came for her family intentionally, just further drives the very real trauma she feels all the way home.
    • Bill's failing engagement to Melissa certainly counts, and eventually she elects to part ways with Bill as it is clear that he still has unresolved feelings for Jo. She even admits that sooner or later it would've ended, and the regret Bill feels for putting her through all this is readily apparent.
    • The destruction of Wakita, full-stop. the sounds of wailing, despairing survivors amid the hellish scene don't help matters.
    Jo: They had no warning...
    • That gets even Harsher in Hindsight when you consider the case of Joplin, MO, which suffered a direct hit by a mile wide EF-5 tornado with almost no warning and killed almost 200 people. The footage of storm chasers coming up on devastated neighborhoods with people crying for help from the piles of debris will haunt your dreams.
    • Foolish as he was, Jonas' death (Along with Eddie) at the hands of the F5 is pretty tough to watch, and the most anybody can do is watch as the two men are sent without mercy back into the earth below.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The actual rivalry between Bill and Jonas' storm chasers trying to get their weather machine into a tornado is very minimal.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Despite what's listed in the Special Effects Failure trope, the film still features some impressive special effects.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • The father in the opening scene. The winds are coming close to ripping the door off the storm cellar so instead of going with his wife and child to the obvious safety in the back of the underground storm cellar he tries to hold the door back, thus getting ripped away to his death and setting up Jo's backstory.
    • While Bill and Jo are hiding under the bridge from a rapidly approaching tornado, Bill instructs Jo to hold onto something, to which she shoots back a sarcastic 'I know'. Jo then decides to let go of the support post she's clinging to and starts crawling outside because she 'wants to see the tornado'. While it's clearly supposed to link to Jo's trauma about her father being killed by tornado, this is a qualified scientist who would have gotten herself killed had Bill not been there.
  • The Woobie: Melissa. She gets dragged into tornado hunting with her fiance, his wife who he planned to divorce, and his old team. And to top it all off, she hears Bill on the radio professing his feelings for Jo.
    • In a non-human example, Bill's prized red Dodge takes a lot of abuse throughout their attempts to deploy Dorothy, before it is ultimately sacrificed to ensure the deployment of the last pack into the funnel of the approaching F5.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Cary Elwes as the bad guy, for some. Westley and Robin Hood is the human villain? He had been The Rival a couple times in Days of Thunder and Hot Shots!, and for those that have seen Liar Liar, Saw or Ella Enchanted, it kind of makes sense, but at the time, this was way off type for Elwes.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Twister