I Lava L.A.!

Volcano destroys the City of Angels with hot magma and cool affection

As bubblicious as the lava is in Volcano, the filmmakers end up giving it short shrift. The triumph of man over magma is depicted with the kind of high-five hoopla that makes us think we're watching an ESPN special. And the final shot of L.A.'s very own volcano -- which should be both hilarious and terrifying -- is barely a blip on the screen before the credits encroach.

Nonetheless, I walked out of the film in a strangely mellow mood. There's a lot of bile fueling the L.A.-disaster-movie genre, but in Volcano the bile doesn't eat away at the fun. What the filmmakers are saying is that, yes, maybe Los Angeles should blow sky-high, but we'd sure miss having it around. Probably most of those in the audience feel the same way.

Directed by Mick Jackson. With Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Don Cheadle and Gaby Hoffmann.

Rated PG-13.
105 minutes.

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