THE VOLCANO (aka Eyjafjallajökull) | MOVIE REVIEW

Kernel Nick hit up this “romcom,” THE VOLCANO, from Pinnacle Films. It is seriously titled Eyjafjallajökull overseas, this is the original title and I will leave it to Nick to explain that below. It is releasing this Thursday 26th June in Australia on art house release – so far I can only find it playing at Palace Cinemas but if you are keen to view it look up your local art house cinema and they may have it. It is rated M and runs for 92mins. Enjoy Nick’s review……….all the best………JK.

 

THE VOLCANO MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
THE VOLCANO | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY NICK STANBROOK

THE VOLCANO is a French/Belgium romantic comedy that begins with the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull (good luck pronouncing that) and the grounding of most of Europe. This is more than just an inconvenience for Valerie ( Valerie Bonneton) and Alain (Dany Boon) the parents of soon to be bride Cecile. They are travelling to Greece to be there for their daughter’s wedding. The conflict comes from the fact that, the long separated Valerie and Alain hate each other. Their journey turned from being a peaceful occasion with no interaction into a side-by-side, road trip across Europe. Two people who hate each other plus arduous, unplanned journey equals hilarious. In this case it doesn’t. I will cut to the chase, this movie isn’t funny. Ok, that is actually a bit harsh. This movie is barely funny, there were two maybe three moments where I actually laughed.

It isn’t entirely lost though. There are a few redeeming features. The first redeeming feature’s name is Dany Boon. He is charming in a naive, innocent kind of way. Boon carries this film, he saves it from being an absolute train wreck by giving it some heart. Even then, his character isn’t entirely likable. He makes some blaringly stupid decisions, and some that are spiteful and inconsistent with his character. He isn’t the only character that isn’t entirely likable, he is by far the most likable, except for the man his daughter is marrying. A gorgeous Greek man straight out of a perfume commercial, who has about 30 seconds of screen time.

 

THE VOLCANO MOVIE IMAGE
THE VOLCANO | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | VALERIE (VALERIE BONNIETON) AND ALAIN (DANY BOON) FLY A PLANE

 

The worst of all is, Valerie. I have things to say about Valerie, so much so that she deserves her own paragraph. Valerie, is not charming. She is annoying. She is meant to be the co-lead with Danny Boon, they both appear on screen for roughly the same amount of time. Their characters are equally significant, yet Valerie, manages to do everything she can to make you not like her. Her jokes aren’t funny, she is stuck up and very mean. There is meant to be a balance to the things that make up a character. A balance between things that the audience will like and things that they won’t. For villains the balance is obviously toward the side of things the audience won’t like. For the main character, the balance should always be towards the side of things that the audience will like. Valerie manages to get the audience off side straight away. The first scene, is her talking to the person next to her on the plane. I understand that she needs to be established as being a difficult person, but do it in a way that doesn’t make her look like a bitch. I would understand this if Valerie went on to be the antagonist, but she doesn’t. Valerie goes on to be one of the main antagonists. It would have been a much more enjoyable film, if Alain was the main character and Valerie was trying to stop him from getting to the wedding. The film is kind of like that, yet it keeps forcing us to side with Valerie over Alain, and then switching back. The actress playing Valerie, also called Valerie (Bonneton), seemed uncomfortable. It appeared evident that she was an actress trying to force jokes. Her performance felt forced, it wasn’t a funny person in a funny situation. Not a massive problem, but compared to Dany Boon, who is very funny, not just in his dialogue but in his mannerisms and the way he stands and reacts.

 

THE VOLCANO MOVIE IMAGE
THE VOLCANO | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | VALERIE (VALERIE BONNIETON) AND ALAIN (DANY BOON)

 

I haven’t even started on the plot! Just a heads up, it’s really dumb. The plot is so unlikely and stupid, that even my generous suspension of disbelief was wavering. I’m all for acknowledging that it’s a movie and that crazy things happen, but this was stupid. They steal a police car, steal a plane, and then crash it in the wilderness, then they are picked up by passers by, and then dropped off in Greece. That’s not even close to half of it. It is loosely stuck together, with the aim being, lets stick these characters in as many wacky situations we can without caring about consistency or reality.

The poor characters, the unfunny writing, and the loosely stuck together plot, means that THE VOLCANO is a fiery mess. Dany Boon saves the film with his natural charm, and steers it away from disaster. A romantic comedy, that isn’t very romantic or very funny, is not exactly a film I would want to watch.

 

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