Monday, July 11, 2016

Film Review: San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"This is a thrilling disaster movie, even when some of its pieces aren't working."

When a devastating earthquake strikes in the San Andreas Fault, Raymond "Ray" Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) of the Los Angeles Department Air Rescue races to save his loved ones.

In terms of narrative, San Andreas is your run-of-the-mill disaster movie. Ray is in the middle of a divorce from his estranged wife, Emma (Carla Gugino). Their daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), is also in San Francisco for a trip with her father. Ray has to delay said trip when an earthquake hits Hoover Dam and he's called into work. Unfortunately, that quake was just the beginning. And so, Ray's quest to save his family begins, causing him to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Oh, and Dr. Hayes (Paul Giamatti) runs around warning everyone. That's your plot, really. It all leads to a predictable ending. It wasn't horrible, but it could have been better.


San Andreas has plenty of cracks in its foundation. The characters and their arcs are utterly generic. It has some very ill-fitted humor – I'm sure people would be cracking jokes during such a devastating time. There's a bit of romance here that just doesn't work. It is also contrived. This is the type of film where everything that can possible go wrong happens at the last minute. Really, it feels like the writers used a checklist of generic Hollywood tropes for this movie. Still, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't entertaining. The film is brimming with thrills. Sure, there are some questionable special effects, but it mostly does well in creating a suspenseful and epic atmosphere. Although I knew where it was headed, it even had me at the edge of my seat a few times. It's a great blockbuster, especially if you're not nitpicking.

The acting was mostly good. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (I'm sorry, I always feel compelled to include The Rock) does well in the leading role. Johnson is as charismatic as ever and he shows some emotional range. Paul Giamatti is also great. Alexandra Daddario performs well, too. (You'll know her if you've seen True Detective.) The film is shot well and the music was great. The music contributed to the epic vibe of the film. San Andreas is written by Carlton Cuse and directed by Brad Peyton. Cuse could use some help in crafting unique characters and arcs. Peyton knows how to craft blockbuster action. I think he'd do even better with more fine-tuned screenplays.

Overall, San Andreas is a good movie. The characters aren't special and the plot is predictable, but it is exciting. This is a thrilling disaster movie, even when some of its pieces aren't working. I'd recommend this one for anyone looking for a blockbuster action film, especially for those who won't nitpick throughout the movie.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

No comments:

Post a Comment