October 03, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

The sight of L.A. aglow in lava really should be seen in Panavision, though even on video it’s impressive. The rest of the cursory disaster flick Volcano is as calculated as a computer game. Barely introduced before all hell breaks loose, literally, Tommy Lee Jones must aspire to two-dimensionality as a hotshot emergency chief who barks out brilliant plans to stave off total destruction. At least Anne Heche is able to add some cheeky personality as the scientist-who-warns-of-impending-danger. Watching her, you realize it isn’t the cliches that make or break a disaster movie — it’s what filmmakers do with them. C-

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