“Tornado Alley,” the new IMAX movie at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is the movie I’ve been waiting for.
“Tornado Alley,” the new IMAX movie at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is the movie I’ve been waiting for. If you like the television series, “Storm Chasers,” this is the movie for you. The filmmaker is Sean Casey. Sean has made many other celebrated IMAX films, like “Africa: the Serengeti,” Alaska: Spirit of the Wild,” “Amazing Journeys,” and “Forces of Nature.” Sean’s father, George, is also an IMAX filmmaker so the talent must run in the family.
I’ve been interested in Sean’s work for a long time. Sean built “Tornado Intercept Vehicles,” especially equipped to intercept tornadoes. These are called TIV 1 and TIV 2. They can withstand tornado-force winds because they are covered in armor and bullet-proof glass. TIV 2 has hydraulic skirts of metal that extend to the ground and prevent wind from going underneath the TIV and lifting it into the funnel. It also has spikes that can anchor the TIV to the ground and keep it stable during high winds. And last, but not least, it has a 360-degree rotating turret from which Sean gets his IMAX footage.
The movie follow’s Sean Casey, his TIV 2, and his crew on a spectacular, never before attempted mission to film from within a tornado. It took 8 years for him to get this footage. He pursued his art through tornado alley, which spans the central United States from South Dakota southward, just past the panhandle of Texas. He met many challenges, one of which was the limited spring season when tornadoes occur most often.
The film was shown in 3-D, which, in combination with the theater itself, made it feel like you are next to Sean, looking into the tornado. The film really shows how powerful tornadoes are. I liked everything about this film except that it took so long to get to Denver.