‘San Andreas’ Review

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Dir: Brad Peyton

Writer(s): Carlton Cuse (Story by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore)

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson Kylie Minogue, Colton Haynes, Will Yun Lee and Paul Giamatti

Synopsis: In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

There is something about disaster movies that we all love. Maybe because disaster movies are almost, and arguably, the ultimate form of escapism we have in movies today. Add in one of the biggest names in Hollywood in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and you are bound to have a damn fine entertaining movie. San Andreas is that movie, of course not without its faults and its unfortunate timing, after the earthquake in Nepal. Thankfully, the studio and crew made sure the movie’s promotional material have links to places where you can help with any natural disaster.

 

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Ray Gaines, a L.A.F.D Search and Rescue pilot who has a great reputation of saves. Even though he’s great at his job, he is currently on the brink of divorce with his Emma (Gugino) after an accident that caused them to break away from each other. Ray however is also ready to go on a trip with his daughter, Blake (Daddario) before a massive earthquake hits and has to go on duty. Blake then heads to San Francisco with her Emma’s new boyfriend Daniel Riddick (Gruffudd), a big time architect. There she meets Ben (Johnstone-Burt) and his little brother Ollie (Parkinson) when another earthquake hits the city. Meanwhile, a Cal Tech seismologist Lawrence (Giamatti), and his team find out what is causing the earthquakes – and even when they can possibly hit – and tries to warn everyone on what is coming.

 

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San Andreas is arguably the most summer popcorn movie you can have. It’s one of those movies where you can just sit down, watch, and not have a care in the world. Does it stand against other big disasters films like The Day After Tomorrow, Volcano, or 2012? Not entirely, but it does have some great moments that will make you invest in the characters and what’s going on. Finally, will it make you an earthquake expert survivor in case the San Andreas Fault actually happens to go off? Sort of.

 

Surprisingly, the best parts of the movie are not the full on destruction of California. In fact the best parts of the movie are the cast members, all lead by Johnson. Johnson doesn’t have to rely on his action chops so much, but more on his dramatic chops which he handles perfectly here. Johnson isn’t a large than life character – of course he is actually larger than life – he is just an ordinary guy. Next to Johnson, Daddario is the next best thing as his resourceful daughter that plays both the role of an strong female character helping Ben and Ollie through the city to get to higher ground so her father can come them, and a bit of a damsel-in-distress with having to really be saved by her father.

 

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Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Art Parkinson brotherly duo work just fine as they have to trek through the city with Daddario’s Blake. Unfortunately there is a forced romance between Ben and Blake, which doesn’t necessarily hurt the movie and it’s in our faces, but it is there. Carla Gugino has her moments to shine, and Ioan Gruffudd’s role could have easily been played by someone else and it wouldn’t have matter that much.

 

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The biggest underused character and actor is Paul Giamatti’s Lawrence. He is basically there to tell us, the audience, what exactly is going on. It doesn’t mean he’s not great in the role, he does the best he can with what he is given. I think what makes it a bit underwhelming is that he has no contact or shares any scenes with Johnson or the rest of the cast. The only connection to Johnson’s character – if you want to call it that – is the reporter, played by Archie Panjabi, who we see in the beginning of the movie with Ray and his team when they rescue a girl from an accident. She also happens to be there with Lawrence and his team as they try to find out what is happening. At the same time however, all of Giamatti’s scenes with his team slow the movie down a bit as they explain how plate tectonics work and what could possibly happen. Only reason I bring it up is because the science in the movie isn’t all that real, just a bit.

 

The science isn’t the only thing wrong with the movie. Some of the CGI during the mayhem has some cool looking moments, but other times it looks a bit cheesy and too cartoony. It doesn’t take you out of the movie completely, but knowing that they actually can’t destroy a city to get what they want, it’s bearable. But, what I believe is a missed opportunity or just a mistake on writer Carlton Cuse’s part, is not having Ray’s team throughout the movie. The team members are played by Colton Haynes, Todd Williams and Matt Gerald. With the expectation of Williams, they only have one scene together. The scene even makes it seem like they are going to be together and go save Blake together, but we never see or hear about them again. It’s a bit of shame, but this leads to the other part of the movie that, apparently, has made a lot of people question Ray’s character. He leaves his duty to go save his family.

 

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Yes, people are questioning Ray’s character because once everything starts to go to hell, he decides to stop where he was going to help others and just help his family. I get why people would be upset about that and see why, but I guess they forgot the part of the movie where he does actually save others people’s lives from getting crushed to death near the end of the movie. Again, I can see that, and to be honest I didn’t even notice that until I read people were pointing it out. Is it “selfish?” I guess, but if you were in the same position, wouldn’t you do probably the same thing?

 

All in all, San Andreas has some great moments in the disaster movie sense and if that doesn’t do it for you (why are you really watching the movie?) it’s bearable to watch because of Johnson and Daddario’s performances. It really is one of those movies you can just sit back and enjoy what’s going on. It isn’t with its faults (pun intended), but it is enjoyable.

 

San Andreas

3 out of 5

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May Movie Releases

Hello Boys and Girls!

 

It’s the beginning of the Summer Movie Season!

What better way to start off this run of movies than a great month of films. We got a lot of films to get to, so let’s get to it!

 

 

1st

Limited Release: Far from the Madding Crowd

Based on the novel by Thomas Hardy, the film stars Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, who attracts three different suitors played by Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, and Michael Sheen. The film also stars Jessica Barden, Bardley Hall and Juno Temple.

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron

I mean come on, it’s the sequel  to one of the biggest superhero team-up movies ever! The cast keeps getting bigger and better. I, for one, am excited about watching this (more than once).

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8th

Limited Release: Maggie

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a father trying to protect his daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, for as long as he can before she dies of a slow disease that is slowly turning her to a zombie. The trailer shows that Arnold is going to be diving into his dramatic chops, and people that have already seen it are saying it is a great character piece.

 

Hot Pursuit

Reese Witherspoon stars as a by-the-book cop who tries to protect a widow of a drug boss from killers all across Texas. I have to say, for me, this is a weird pairing and the movie doesn’t really seem like anything new to the action/comedy genre.

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15th

Limited Release: Good Kill

Ethan Hawke stars as a man that begins to question the ethics of his job as a drone pilot. The films also stars January Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Jake Abel

 

Pitch Perfect 2

The sequel to the surprise hit comes back and it looks like it is going to be better than ever. Not only that, but, producer and star from the first film Elizabeth Banks will take the helm and director the sequel. I didn’t see the first film so I can’t say am going to see this one just yet.

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller returns to the world of the Mad with his new installment/reboot Mad Max: Fury Road. Tom Hardy plays the new Max and is joined by Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz and original Mad Max star Hugh Keays-Byrne playing a new character. That and the trailers make the new movie look bad-shit crazy.

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22nd

Poltergeist

A remake of the original cult-classic is coming to the big screens again. The remake actually looks like it could be kind of fun, then again, I’m one that doesn’t mind remakes unless they are done right and do their own thing. The film stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Jared Harris.

 

Tomorrowland

Brad Bird is bringing a mysterious take to what looks like a coming of age story with sci-fi elements and George Clooney. No I’m just kidding, but seriously we know very little about this new film that brings three people together to help save a world called Tomorrowland. The film also stars Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, and Kathryn Hahn.

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29th

Aloha

Cameron Crowe directs  this new film that stars Bradley Cooper, a celebrated military contractor who returns to the site of his triumph and re-connects with a lost love, while falling for a hard-charginig Air Force watchdog assigned to him. The women that Cooper’s character is falling for are Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams. The film also stars, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, and Bill Murray.

 

San Andreas

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson vs. Big Earthquake. Okay, maybe he’s not physically fighting the earthquake, but you can’t pass on something like that. Anyway, Johnson does play a rescue-chopper pilot who goes on a dangerous journey to rescue his estranged daughter played by Alexandra Daddario. The film also stars Carla Gugino, Ioan Gruffudd, Kylie Minogue, Colton Haynes and Paul Giamatti.

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