Believe it or not, there once was a non pumpkin spice world in autumn, but it didn't stop the weather from going all crazy in Nebraska.
On some random day, meteorologist Bob Irisen (David Ferry) is out storm chasing when he notices tornadic activity out in the middle of nowhere. He calls into the office and argues with Stan (Ted Simonett) about what's happening in the sky and notices a twister form outside of a homestead.
Hurriedly, he drives to the farm family (David Sutcliffe, Jane Moffat and Sumela Kay) and warns them of the twister.
Down in Blainsworth, the town's partaking in a bike festival where small business owner Jack Hatch (John Schneider) has been turned down for a loan by Phil Roth (Don Allison). Jack begs Phil to reconsider the loan since he knows that he can turn the shop he owns around, but with a new mall nearby, deep down he knows that its impossible.
His wife, Laura (Lori Hallier) and sister-in law Jenny (Jhene Erwin) are relaxing near the finish line of the bike race for oldest son Dan (Devon Sawa) who has an accident, unbeknownst to his friend Arthur (Amos Crawley).
At the finish line, Jack scolds Dan for not finishing the race and demands that he pick up the bike and cross the finish line. With that done, it's announced that Dan's the winner of a new bike.
As the crowd begins to disperse, Dan asks if he can hang out with Arthur for awhile and Jack tells him that he has an hour and needs to go to his grandmother's house to walk her dog.
In the hour that goes by, the boys play around in the woods and then head over to Arthur's for a game of pool. Dan realizes that he forgot to go to his grandmother's and hurries off, only to be met with an angry Jack.
Jack lectures him on commitments and Grandma Belle (Helen Hughes) reminds Jack that he was young once and didn't exactly follow orders.
At home, Laura is getting ready for her waitress job at the Salty Dawg and tells Dan that he has to babysit until Jack comes home. He's angry about that and off she goes with Jenny.
As the night begins to fall, Gus (Lon Doncheff) a customer at the Salty Dawg, overhears Bob's conversation with Laura and predicts doom. He finishes up and offers to transport those that want to leave, to Kansas City, which is about an hour and a half away.
Once Jack gets home, the weather has taken a turn for the worse and since he can't get in touch with Belle, he tells the boys that he's going to check on her.
And before you know it, the twisters begin.
With no adults around, Dan takes charge as he and the other kids go looking for Jack.
While the authorities take the others to the emergency shelter, Dan and Arthur's older sister Stacey (Laura Bertram) find Belle and later Jack. Thankfully they're transported to the emergency center as more twisters begin to form.
The Hatch's are reunited outside their destroyed home and after one final twister, Blainsworth is ready to rebuild.
Since this is a family movie, of course everything is wrapped up nice and tidy, but it doesn't come without it's problems.
The one thing that I absolutely love about the movie, is it reminds me of a crisp October Saturday (mixed with some clouds). Atmospherically the production design team did an excellent job. I've always had the feeling that it takes place on a Saturday, but I'm not sure.
At the beginning of the movie, the time stamp is 1:16 when Bob witnesses the formation of the first twister outside the farm family's home. However, a school bus drops off the little girl and this is where I wonder what day it is.
If it's a weekday, then why would the town of Blainsworth be having a bike race in the middle of the day? The time stamp here is 3:37, which probably means that kids in Nebraska only go to school for a few hours. It's just odd to think that if this is a Saturday (but it does have a Friday afternoon feel to it as well, which could explain an early dismissal) why would a school bus be dropping a kid off?
Arthur has two sisters, but the actress who plays his younger sister doesn't have a name, nor can she act. It's kind of funny when at the emergency center, she says to Stacey and Arthur that she wants "wants my mom and dad." Obviously she's quite selfish and maybe that's why she doesn't have a name.
It's also stated that Arthur and his family have only lived in Nebraska for a few months after moving from California, yet the family has a cabin on a lake somewhere and a house? Since Stacey is watching Arthur and unnamed sister, just how old is she?
After the first twister hits, the kids are on a hill and look down at Blainsworth as the power goes out in the valley below. Okay, so I can see the emergency center running on generators, but over at Belle's house, she has power and virtually no damage (yet she's under rubble outside) and later outside the Hatch house, with a street that's been destroyed, why are the streetlights still on?
Now there is an uncredited special guest and that's the cardboard tornado from Nature Unleashed: Tornado (2005) that appears outside Ryan's bedroom window in the distance.
Overrall, if you skip the obvious questions that I've asked myself it's a pretty good movie, but for a family movie, maybe a little too deep.