You thought the "Hollywood Hills" were just hills?? Really? It's like Mt. Vesuvius up in that bitch!
Dante's Peak is much more than that. It's a love story, a story about family sticking together, and a story about listening to scientists when they tell you something bad is going to happen (because as we've seen time and time again in movies, NOBODY LISTENS TO SCIENTISTS NO MATTER HOW WELL-RESEARCHED THEIR CONCLUSIONS. And no matter how good-looking they are. Tragic!)
Omigod sooo dreamy.
DP opens with a couple of important prologues. In one, we see hero Pierce Brosnan getting stuck in a volcanic eruption somewhere far away and in the past. He waits too long to evacuate with his scientist girlfriend, and SPOILER ALERT -- she gets killed. You can practically hear Pierce vowing to never, ever, ever again wait too long to evacuate when there's a deadly volcano involved. No way.
In the other prologue, some teenagers are getting nekkid and ready to bang in a natural hot spring at Dante's Peak, probably because everyone knows it's impossible to get pregnant from doing it in a hot spring (for the same reason it's impossible to get pregnant from doing it in the ocean, the shower, or a hot tub. Because ... the water)
"Look, I'm not a f**king expert, okay? Get an abortion or something, I don't know. Why did you even listen to me in the first place?? Of course you can get pregnant from having sex in a hot tub. I just told you that so you wouldn't make me wear a condom!" -- some teenager to his girlfriend, right now.
Anyway, the hot springs suddenly begin to boil due to geothermal activities or whatever, causing the teenagers' genitals to be boiled off instantly. Which actually DOES prevent pregnancy.
Only because it kills you, though.
So now we know some serious shit is going on up at Dante's Peak.
Meanwhile, it cuts back to present time where some boring family is trying to learn to love each other or something. The mom, played by Linda Hamilton is the mayor of the town of Dante's Peak, which is well-known for being adorable and quaint and definitely not filled with volcano-murder. So you can imagine how well-received Pierce Brosnan is when he shows up and is all:
But he just keeps on measuring shit and tracking seismic whatevers and sounding the alarm until he finally convinces everyone to evacuate the town because DANTE IS GONNA BLOWWWWWWWW! Naturally, just as they start to evacuate, the volcano erupts ... and wouldn't you know it, BEDLAM also erupts.
errhhh ... indeed.
But obviously things can't go smoothly for the family that is still learning to love each other (oh, also, Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton are falling for each other, if that wasn't obvious due to their opposite genders, mutual singleness, and similar ages). The mayor's idiot children steal a truck and drive it up to Grandma's house, because Grandma is refusing to leave. Why doesn't Grandma want to leave while the volcano explodes like 10 feet from her house? Because she needs to lure her grandchildren into horrible danger, of course! Linda Hamilton and Pierce Brosnan get up to Grandma's house and convince everyone that SERIOUSLY WHAT THE F**K GUYS YOU ARE GOING TO DIE HERE FOR NO F**KING REASON STOP BEING SO GODDAMNED STUPID. And they go to make their escape, which involves crossing a lake. A lake which has ... TURNED TO ACID!!!! Because of the volcano, duh!!!
They get a motorboat and start across the lake, until the acid eats through the motor. So then Pierce starts paddling it with his coat over his hand, and the family climbs up onto the bench seats and everything is going fine -- they're totally going to make it to the dock before the acid even touches their feet.
OR WILL THEY?!?!?!?!?! Grandma has other plans. Showing herself to be twice as dumb as a bag of hammers and only half as useful, she leaps out of the boat to heroically slow them down and drag them the last few feet to the dock they were going to reach anyway with help from Pierce Brosnan's paddling (if she really wanted to help, why didn't she f**king start paddling too? Why didn't ANYONE ELSE start paddling to help them get to the dock faster?!?!). She then continues to walk through the acid lake all the way to the shore, rather than climbing up onto the dock. Nothing like a little completely unnecessary self-sacrifice to bring a family together. It's like that time in The Sound of Music when the Nazis are chasing them so Julie Andrews breaks both her legs and shoots herself in the face for no reason. Way to show those Nazis!
She committed pointless suicide right after this picture was taken. What, you don't remember that part?
Anyway, at this point I was thoroughly disgusted with this movie, so it was little surprise to me when Pierce Brosnan then found himself walking within mere feet of rapidly-flowing lava. This is impossible because: 1) volcanic eruptions that feature predominantly pyroclastic flows -- like the eruption of Dante's Peak -- don't have flowing lava. Pyroclastic flow volcanoes and lava flow volcanoes are completely different. And 2) if lava were actually flowing a few feet away from where you're walking, the air temperature would be so hot that you would boil internally/melt. You CERTAINLY can't play hopscotch over lava rivulets without at least catching your pants on fire.
I mean, you usually can't.
Then he gets trapped in an abandoned and his arm is broken in such a way that the bone sticks out, which is delightfully gruesome. But he finds a transponder beacon thing and turns it on and gets rescued and everyone lives happily ever after.
I mean, within reason, of course.