Oct 19, 2015

[Movies] San Andreas (2015)

I'm not big on disaster movies. They tend to follow one formula of us following around some POV characters while everything goes to heck and we end up enjoying more of the disaster porn that inevitably consumes the movie's special effects budget. Sometimes there's a pseudo-scientific angle as people try to resist the seemingly inevitably disaster and other times you just have people trying to survive.

San Andreas is one of the latest movies to attempt to follow this pattern and subject famous landmarks to wanton destruction. San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge has been destroying in movies over a dozen times (closer to 20 by now) and I doubt that will change anytime soon.

To be fair, I have to concede that maybe Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is actually becoming a fairly decent actor. He's not exactly Oscar-worthy just yet, but he has been doing a lot of really become part of this world of entertainment. And he has evolved from just being the muscle to being the muscle with a family to protect. Big jump, yes?

Synopsis: San Andreas is a 2015 disaster movie directed by Brad Peyton. The movie actually has a screenplay and this was written by Carlton Cuse.

Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) is an LA Fire Department Air Rescue pilot and is in the middle of a divorce from his wife Emma (Carla Gugino). He hopes to bring their daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) to San Francisco but eventually gets call into work. Thus instead, Emma's new boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd) ends up being the one who will bring her. The reason for the call involves a new discovery that the San Andreas fault line is somehow shifting and is causing major tectonic upheavals of a sort. A much larger earthquake is inevitable.

The rest of the movie, as expected, involves a lot of surviving parts of San Francisco falling into the ground and a weird' family element of trying to reunite Ray's family. The added twist involves the fact that Blake went with someone else, and so the movie has Ray needing to find his ex-wife (because reasons) and then find his daughter in the wilds of San Francisco. And San Francisco does get pretty wild once the buildings start to come down.

The movie involves some pretty good special effects moments as there's just scene after scene after scene of massive urban destruction. It's clear that the only reason they decided to make Ray a pilot is just so they could have a POV character involved in all those aerial shots of destruction. We sort of saw this with 2012 back int he day, but it's hardly the same as what has gone on here. This is a whole new level of destruction porn made part of the story.

But the plot in itself is rather flimsy and it feels like a lot of the writing budget went to the special effects as well. The few personal moments involving the various characters were rather predictable in nature and felt like moments that we had seen in so many different shows and movies that have also tackled the end of the world.

So there's really nothing all that new to experience here.

San Andreas doesn't promise to be any more complicated than it ends up being and that is both its strength and its curse. At least there's some fun to be had, assuming you like seeing the death of a major city due to a catastrophe. And so it only gets 1.5 ruined buildings out of a possible 5.


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