Great Films That Never Were: Dante’s Reek

A volcano erupting out bad smells and lava
My word… what is that smell?!

Dante’s Peak was a fun disaster movie from 1997 (the year before 1998 and the one after 1996), which was about James Bond and a giant volcano that went boom. Sarah Connor is in it as well, clearly as she’s on vacation after all that horrible Terminator business. Sadly for her, she walked into an even bigger crisis as a pretty little town gets engulfed by a bad old volcano which also doesn’t feel pity or remorse and absolutely will not stop until it’s finished.

Anyway, that all ended happily ever after and the dog survived, which is all-important. For our planned sequel, Dante’s Reek is set 20 years later and, guess what?! The volcano is rumbling again! James Bond and Sarah Connor are back on the scene to find out what’s going on but, hark… there’s a foul stench about the place. What’s going on?!

Dante’s Reek

Straight up then, and to differentiate itself from the first film, this is more of a comedy/musical than disaster movie. In the sequel, the volcano doesn’t erupt. Now, many of you may consider this to be less exciting, but when you’ve got James Bond walking through the woods for 120 minutes holding his nose going “poo-ee!!”, a dance number of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, and Sarah Connor shouting “John?!” over and over and over, we think this will win an Oscar in every category.

The film opens with Lynard Skynyrd’s That Smell playing whilst James Bond (as in the first film) can be seen performing a disturbing number of push-ups. Clearly stinking of BO, his now wife Sarah Connor looks at him with a sort of “God, you smell bad… it’s a shame I didn’t know of this before I married you…” look. Sweating profusely, Bond finishes his work out, plants a kiss on Connor’s forehead, and she retches noticeably due to the smell.

Next thing we know, Bond has a phone call and is told Dante’s Peak is rumbling again. He and Connor share an “OMG!” stare and then they’re rushed in budget class public transport to the volcano… where there’s a really bad smell lingering in the air and the duo is tasked with finding out the cause of it.

Bond and Connor then don their detective caps and go out into the wilderness to find the source of the reek, with their detective work interspersed with the aforementioned song and dance numbers, such as a moving rendition of Just Like Honey by the Jesus and Mary Chain, during which Bond actually stumbles over a bumble bee nest and has to run for his life. There’s a lot caper hilarity going on here.

Critical Reaction

Holding a certified 1% rotten rating on critical assessment site Rotten Tomatoes, Dante’s Reek would be considered one of the worst films of all time and the absolute nadir of Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton’s respective careers. A disaster over 120 minutes in bad ideas and an inept narrative arc, the bloated $200 million budget would return a meagre $10 million in the first month of opening.

Brosnan would go on record, on the Jimmy Kimmel show, to lambaste “the workshy freeloaders who penned that obscenity” and would blame his involvement on “blackmail”. Hamilton, meanwhile, would avoid all press opportunities and would deliver the “no comment” line 3,000 times within the first six months of the film’s opening. You’ve got to love a success story.

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