Film poster for Dante's Peak
|Directed by||Roger Donaldson|
|Produced by||Gale Anne Hurd
|Written by||Leslie Bohem|
Jamie Renée Smith
|Music by||James Newton Howard
|Editing by||Conrad Buff IV
Howard E. Smith
|Studio||Pacific Western Productions|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||February 7, 1997|
|Running time||109 min.|
Dante's Peak is a 1997 action/adventure thriller directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Charles Hallahan, Elizabeth Hoffman, Jamie Renée Smith, Jeremy Foley, and Grant Heslov. Set in the fictional town of Dante's Peak, the town must survive the volcano and its dangers. A Universal Pictures and Pacific Western production, it was released on February 7, 1997, and rated PG-13.
Dr. Harry Dalton, a volcanologist with the United States Geological Survey, and his associate/partner Marianne attempt to escape an erupting volcano in Colombia. While trying to escape the ash and falling debris, Marianne is killed when a piece of debris comes through the roof of Harry's truck.
Four years later, Harry is sent by his boss Dr. Paul Dreyfus to check out volcanic activity in the small town of Dante's Peak, Washington, situated beside a dormant volcano within the Northern Cascades. Harry arrives in town and meets Mayor Rachel Wando who has two children, Graham and Lauren. Before Rachel can show him the lake, they go to drop off the children to Rachel's mother-in-law Ruth who lives on the mountain. Ruth suggests that they all go swim in the hot springs. Harry notices that the lake's acidity is somewhat high, trees are dying and when Lauren screams, they discover dead squirrels. Graham is about to jump into the springs when Harry stops him, noticing two bodies having been boiled by the water. Harry sees this as a bad sign, tells Rachel to call a town meeting and informs Paul of the situation.
While Harry is advising putting the town on alert, Paul shows up and stops him by telling him that he is overacting and that for now they will just observe. While Paul and his team are setting up and monitoring the volcano, Harry and Rachel become close. After a week and no major activity, Paul decides they can monitor the volcano back home and tells everyone to pack up.
Harry goes to say goodbye to Rachel, they almost kiss but Lauren wakes up stating that she needs a glass of water. Rachel points out that there is something wrong with the tap water and Harry discovers by visiting the main water supply the volcanic activity has leached sulphur into the water. Harry shows this to Paul and they all then realise it is only a matter of time before the volcano explodes.
While informing the town of the evacuation plans, the top of the volcano explodes which causes widespread panic. While trying to get to Rachel's children, they drive through the town as it is being destroyed by earthquakes, and panicked evacuees trying to leave.
Arriving at Rachel's house, they find the children missing. Graham and Lauren took Rachel's truck and drove up the mountain to Ruth, who refused to leave the mountain. After reaching Ruth's house and finding the children, a lava flow destroys Ruth's house forcing them to the lake. The lake, which has been turned to acid, starts eating away at the boat and propeller. They are almost at the other side when the propeller gets eaten away. Harry wraps his arm in his jacket to paddle but they are sinking too fast. Trying to save everyone, Ruth jumps in the shallow part of the lake and pulls the boat to the dock, seriously burning her legs. Ruth dies due to the shock and trauma yet makes peace with Rachel.
With everybody out of town, Paul and the team evacuate with the National Guard but the river has been inundated by a lahar, a combination of the volcano's melting ice and the local dam breaking. The team gets through safely in Humvees but Paul, driving their van, gets stuck on the bridge which is washed away by the lahar. After finding a truck at a ranger station, Harry, Rachel, and the children make it back into town as the volcano violently explodes. As the pyroclastic cloud destroys the town, Harry drives the truck into an abandoned mine (which had been Graham's hideout) just in time to escape the pyroclastic cloud.
Harry has a beacon in the truck that will help his team locate and rescue them all. He tells Rachel and the kids he will be back; he reassures everyone that when they get out he will take them deep sea fishing. As he returns the truck to activate the beacon, the mine collapses, separating him from Rachel and the children. Despite a broken arm, Harry activates the beacon while the truck is crushed by the weight of the debris.
Eventually, they are all rescued and reunited with Harry, reiterating his promise to take them deep sea fishing. As the helicopter carrying Harry and the Wando family flies off, the camera moves over the destroyed town and swerves to the Mount St. Helens-like crater where the top of the volcano used to be.
- Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Harry Dalton
- Linda Hamilton as Mayor Rachel Wando
- Charles Hallahan as Dr. Paul Dreyfus
- Elizabeth Hoffman as Grandma Ruth
- Jamie Renée Smith as Lauren Wando
- Jeremy Foley as Graham Wando
- Grant Heslov as Greg
- Kirk Trutner as Terry
- Arabella Field as Nancy
- Tzi Ma as Stan
- Brian Reddy as Les Worrell
- Bill Bolender as Sheriff Turner
- Peter Jason as Norman Gates
- Jeffrey L. Ward as Jack Collins
- Susie Spear as Karen Narlington
The film was shot on location in Wallace, Idaho, with a large hill next to the town digitally altered to look like a volcano. Many scenes involving townspeople, including the initial award ceremony, the pioneer days festival, and the gymnasium scene were shot using the actual citizens of Wallace as extras. Many of the disaster evacuation scenes that did not involve stunts and other dangerous moments also featured citizens of Wallace; dangerous stunts were filmed using Hollywood extras. Mount St. Helens also makes an appearance at the very end of the movie; during the start of the closing credit crawl, the scene shows an image of a destroyed Dante's Peak community with the camera shot moving out to show a wider scene of disaster, and then showing what remains of the volcano itself. The volcano that remains is actually an image of Mount St. Helens taken from news footage just after the May 18, 1980, eruption.
Exteriors were also shot at the USGS's David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory headquarters in Vancouver, Washington. The facility was named in honor of David A. Johnston, a young scientist who had precisely predicted the volatility of the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens, and perished during the event.
A brief scene in the movie was actually shot inside the crater of Washington State's Mount St. Helens. Specifically, it is the scene where one of the scientists gets caught in a rockslide and breaks his leg while trying to climb down to repair a malfunctioning piece of scientific equipment inside the crater of the volcano. The giveaway of this shot is a brief appearance by Mount Adams, a dormant 12,776-foot (3,894 m)-high peak 35 miles (56 km) east of Mount St. Helens, just above the crater rim as the view tightens in on the scientists.
Extensive special effects surrounding certain aspects of the film such as the lava and pyroclastic flows, were created by Digital Domain, Banned from the Ranch Entertainment and CIS Hollywood. The computer-generated imagery was mostly coordinated and supervised by Patrick McClung, Roy Arbogast, Lori J. Nelson, Richard Stutsman and Dean Miller. Despite a heavy use of CGI, the volcanic ash in the film was actually really finely shredded newspapers. Between visuals, miniatures, and animation, over 300 technicians were directly involved in the production aspects of the special effects. Due to the complexity of its visual effects, Dante's Peak was almost nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. However, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose Titanic, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Starship Troopers instead.
- Agua Dulce, California, USA
- Baker Hot Springs, Mount Baker National Forest, Washington, USA
- Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington, USA (establishing shots)
- Wallace, Idaho, USA (town exteriors)
|Dante's Peak: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by John Frizzell & James Newton Howard|
|Released||February 4, 1997|
The original score was co-composed by John Frizzell and James Newton Howard. Howard wrote the main theme (heard during the opening titles) and a number of cues, while Frizzell wrote the bulk of the score.
30 minutes of the score was released by Varese Sarabande; the short album length being due to high orchestra fees at the time of release. An expanded bootleg exists which contains almost the entire score.
The contents of the CD release can also be found on the region 1 DVD, on an alternate audio track during the 'Creating a Volcano' documentary.
The "Main Titles" cue is also featured on Varese's "The Towering Inferno and Other Disaster Classics" compilation album.
|Dante's Peak: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|2.||"The Close Call"||1:49|
|3.||"Trapped in the Crater"||5:03|
|4.||"On the Porch"||2:31|
|5.||"The Evacuation Begins"||4:12|
|6.||"The Helicopter Crash"||1:28|
|7.||"Escaping the Burning House"||2:32|
|8.||"Sinking on Acid Lake"||2:37|
|9.||"Stuck in the Lava"||1:44|
The film debuted at #2 behind the special edition re-release of Star Wars with $18 million in its opening weekend. It went on to earn $178 million worldwide.
Despite having wider financial success and being slightly more scientifically accurate than Volcano, Dante's Peak opened to more unfavorable reviews than its rival, and holds a 27 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
See also 
- Topinka, Lyn (2009-12-08). "Establishing the David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2010-04-03.
- Dante's Peak (1997) - Cast and Credits - Yahoo! Movies
- Dante's Peak at the Internet Movie Database
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Dante's Peak|