Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Janie Renee Smith, Jeremy Foley, Elizabeth Hoffman, Charles Hallahan. Written by Leslie Bohem. Directed by Roger Donaldson. Rated PG-13 for profanity, violence, brief nudity.

Why do volcano chasers have flat noses? From chasing parked volcanoes. "Dante's Peak" is a transparent attempt to cash in on the success of last year's effects- laden disaster flick "Twister". The similarities don't stop at deadly natural phenomena, either. Both films feature teams of chasers who travel the globe studying the science behind nature's attacks and both prominently feature a piece of high-tech machinery which ultimately saves the day.

Harry Dalton (Pierce Brosnan), a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, detects activity in Dante's Peak, a long-dormant volcano which towers over a sleepy town of the same name. Although his superior Paul Dreyfus (Charles Hallahan) dismisses Harry's opinion of the situation in the name of politics and economics, it soon becomes clear that Harry was right, after all. Dante's Peak begins to erupt during the town meeting held to discuss evacuation, and so the local citizenry are ill-prepared to handle to calamity efficiently. The National Guard is called in and it isn't long before Harry, the mayor of the town (Linda Hamilton) and her two children, are the only ones remaining in danger.

Although the special effects in the film are generally good, they rely too much on miniatures which aren't always convincing. Add to that the fact that Brosnan seems miscast and uncomfortable with his role and the presence of the obligatory love story, and you have mediocrity waiting to happen. Trust that you've seen "Twister", you've seen "Dante's Peak".

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