Rewatchable: Dante’s Peak

Dante's Peak

Synopsis: A vulcanologist arrives at a countryside town recently named the second most desirable place to live in America and discovers that the long dormant volcano, Dante’s Peak, may wake up at any moment.

Tagline: The pressure is building…

Release Date: February 7, 1997 | MPAA Rating: PG-13 | Coolthulhus Earned: 4

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Charles Hallahan

Dante’s Peak Official Trailer.


Dante’s Peak Review

You know how you just have those movies that you keep going back to? Maybe you aren’t so obsessed you can quote every line, but whenever it comes to mind, you end up watching it? Dante’s Peak is one of those movies. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen this movie. (Honestly, I just need to buy it instead of constantly renting it.) I can’t say that it’s a particularly outstanding movie in any way, but it is a solid one. It and Volcano are movies that just never seem to get old. Okay, well, Volcano seems more dated than this one does, for some reason. I digress.

Dante’s Peak is all about a seemingly dormant volcano and the quintessential ‘sleepy little town’ snuggled right up against it. The town has just won an award for being one of the most low-population desirable places to live when, boom, the mountain starts getting a little cranky. Brosnan plays the determined vulcanologist who just knows something is not right with mountain, and is – of course – eventually proven right. Hamilton’s character is the mayor of Dante’s Peak, and the single mom of two young children. Pretty soon after the two meet, it’s not just the mountain that’s getting ready to explode.  However, it’s a family friendly movie, so no worries about bits and bobs getting all sweaty on the screen.

Released in 1997, Dante’s Peak stars Pierce Brosnan (whatever happened to him?) and Linda Hamilton as Harry Dalton and Rachel Wando. They work together quite well in this movie, seeming to have an easy chemistry that makes you think they’re old friends. Turns out, it was the first time they’d ever worked together. Guess that goes to show you what two solid actors can do when they get together. They’re supported by a cast that includes Charles Hallahan (The Thing), Elizabeth Hoffman (Stargate SG:1) , and Grant Heslov (True Lies). Charles Hallahan, in particular, does a fantastic job in his role as Dalton’s boss.

The special effects make this movie worth watching. They’re not over the top, they’re mostly practical/real special effects done on models, and there’s no wince-worthy CGI in it. I think this is what makes it seem like it holds up a bit better compared to Volcano. In a lot of ways, it’s just a pleasure to watch because the people who put it together didn’t have this need to make an awe-inspiring movie that would knock your socks off with its state-of-the-art stuff. Instead, they gave a movie that would never be as bright and shiny as some, but would always be there for an enjoyable movie night.

From beginning to end, Dante’s Peak is well-paced, well-acted, and well-shot. The tension slowly builds, you find yourself rooting for Dalton, and even cheering on the characters you don’t particularly like. At 108 minutes long, it’s also refreshingly absent of the scene bloat you find in a lot of these type of films nowadays. Definitely worth giving it a shot if you haven’t seen it – or even if you have.

Dante's Peak 4 Star Rating


14 thoughts on “Rewatchable: Dante’s Peak

  1. I’ve seen the movie once, and while I like the leads, and the fact that Brosnan plays a SCIENTIST who uses SCIENTIFIC knowledge, the plot contrivances (see the grandmother) left me cold.

    On the other hand, although I’ve also seen it only once, there’s a warm spot in my heart for another Brosnan vehicle, the underrated “Nomads” (1986), an urban supernatural thriller, though I admit it has a plot hole you could drop a volcano through.

      1. I saw him in his younger days on “Remington Steele.” But your comment made me look at his films on IMdB, and I have to admit that apart from Steele, Bond, and the two films we’ve mentioned between us, I can’t remember him in anything else. Kind of sad.

        Hamilton’s another that I remember fondly but can’t recall seeing in much: the Terminator flicks, Beauty and the Beast (which I rarely saw), and what?

          1. I was thinking about that: why did I miss that film? Turns out it followed “Cujo” and “Christine,” both of which I saw, neither of which I liked. Got me off King for several years, though somehow the dreadful “Return to Salem’s Lot” crossed my TV screen during that period. Call me a sucker for a sequel, which it really wasn’t.

              1. While I liked the original “Salem’s Lot,” the miniseries-length 3 hr. version, not the shorter versions one sometimes runs into. It’s NOT the same as the book, granted, but I thought it did a clever job of telescoping the plot and characters, and if the mood wasn’t the same, it was still threatening.

                On the other hand, I do have to admit the atmosphere is laid back compared to “Pet Semetary,” which is more explicitly eerie. So I can see your point.

  2. Yes, it’s also one I’m always happy to revisit. There are movies I loved at the time of first watching them but worry later that they might not seem so good to me if I were to watch them again, and then there are the ones that always seem to deliver.

  3. This is one of those movies that every time I see it coming on TV I end up watching. 🙂 I have several movies like that, not total obsession but you seeing and you just have to watch. 🙂

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