Big, loud & fun …
everything a disaster movie should be!
Every few years the ground underneath the holiest of holiest cinematic places on earth known as Hollywood starts to shake and tremble. Like an alarm clock to a sleepy student, this is a warning for the movie-watching world that Hollywood is about to release yet another disaster movie. A movie where everything will be ripped in pieces and everyone can die (except the hero). A blockbuster so colossally big it dwarfs even the greatest action movies ever made. A thunderous speech that we, humans, need to treat our planet with more respect … or our children and our children’s children will pay the heftiest price of them all!
Don’t worry, unlike some other disaster movies like 2012, this movie does not waste a single minute advertising a message of global importance.
San Andreas has no message. It’s just having fun …
Disaster movies are quite a thing of their own. Sure, they look like regular action movies but instead of cars blowing up or two heroes battling it out in a cool fistfight, you have a slightly bigger scheme at play. Hundreds of buildings collapse in a gigantic cloud of dust and sand. Streets are moving up and down as if they were made of water. And you have the true power of Mother Nature which controls all and destroys everything!
Like so many disaster movies afore, San Andreas gets everything right in terms of disaster entertainment. It’s big, noisy and stupid by choice … and that’s how we like it!
The greatest peak of interest comes in the department of special effects. Like most modern disaster movies made today, San Andreas uses tons of CGI to make everything look bigger and more epic.
Unfortunately, this also has a nasty side-effect. Spectacular as things may be when you see an entire city collapse, things never ‘feel’ as realistic as when you’re up close and personal in front of a single building crashing in front of you. That’s why more modestly shaped disaster movies like Dante’s Peak – establishing the atmosphere and crafting great characters – are generally better. Better at pulling you deep into the calamity and better as a movie all around.
Not to worry though, CGI or not, San Andreas is still one of the most gobsmackingly awesome movies of 2015!! If you want disaster … if you want to see entire streets shredded to pieces … if you want panic and death all around (minus the blood or the arms and legs ripped off … something this movie cleverly shields to appeal young ones too) – then San Andreas is your next stop!
Overall, San Andreas has no interest in being intelligent or smart. Why would it? An intricate storyline would only disrupt the fun of watching thousands of people run for their lives as their beloved city is falling in ruins. All San Andreas wants to do is entertain.
Never mind that local hero Dwayne Johnson doesn’t get so much as a cut on his arm whilst climbing a mountain or dodging tons of debris from falling skyscrapers (I suppose it’s more realistic than John Cusack surviving the apocalyptic events in 2012). Dwayne Johnson is often referred to as the new Arnold Schwarzenegger and it’s easy to understand why. Both are puffed up beefcakes with limited acting skills. Only Dwayne Johnson has a better accent …
It has to be said that the man in charge isn’t all that bad in the end. You believe him as the guy who wants his family safe and he has the muscles to back up any great action sequence.
Standing by his side is his wife (or ex-wife, who cares?) played by Carla Gugino. It’s strange, but it takes a while for her to fit her role nicely. At first her acting is as shaky as the ground underneath her feet. It’s only when she’s been given a few decent lines half-way through the movie that you genuinely start to care for her.
The daughter-in-distress is actress Alexandra Daddario (oh my god, those eyes!!) whom you might remember – or not – from the Percy Jackson-movies. She’s actually pretty good in terms of acting and it doesn’t hurt that she’s a bit of a looker. Along the way she’ll encounter the aid of two British boys of whom the little one is the fines actor.
But as history dictates, there is always ONE great actor in each disaster movie. It’s a necessity. It’s absolutely pivotal for the storyline, because this one actor has to feed the dire emotions that run through the movie. He is the one who has to make it all believable and realistic. Because without him, you might not even believe that there is in fact an earthquake.
And for San Andreas they chose a good one! It is none other than veteran actor Paul Giamatti. Thank God he is in this movie! Not only is he by far the greatest actor of the lot, he is in fact so good you’d think the movie was based on real events. His character may be one-dimensional, but the performance Paul Giamatti puts on is truly a very astonishing thing … only second to the catastrophe and special effects.
San Andreas is the sort of movie where you shut down your brain … feast your eyes … and lean back in your arm chair. Now, let the fun begin!
did you know?
As a means of accurately depicting realism in the movie, the producers brought in top seismologists to challenge the plausibility of the script. After some analysis, the experts unanimously agreed that what happens on screen could, in fact, happen in reality with the combined force of a major earth quake and a tsunami.
Give it to me straight:
San Andreas is exactly what you pay for. A big, loud blockbuster where things go boom! A disaster movie bigger than most (though not better) where you’ll be treated to some of the most amazing action scenes this year. The overuse of CGI is a bit unfortunate as it makes things less spectacular, but understandably so since destroying half a city is not easily done without the use of Computer Generated Images.
Still, when the time comes for bridges to collapse or buildings and streets to be ripped apart, your jaw may still drop a few inches, because it’s all professionally and so beautifully done. Kudos to the Special Effects-team!!
Lead man is Dwayne Johnson, actually the very first hero who’d most likely survive the wrath of Mother Nature. He doesn’t know much about acting, but that’s exactly why he fits so well in this role. Same goes for Carla Gugino (the wife) and Alexandra Daddario (the kid). They’re running around aimlessly, crying, screaming in anguish or simply looking down with a face full of fear as their favourite city is being crushed as if it was a scale model.
The only real actor present is Paul Giamatti. His sincereness and ability to say his lines with a genuine sense of despair is exactly what this movie needed. San Andreas may be the end for many of the characters in the movie, it’s nothing short of fantastic fun for anyone who loves to watch a silly American blockbuster …
Give it to me short:
San Andreas follows the classic outline for a disaster movie. Loads of action, spectacular special effects and a group of actors who’re mostly running around and screaming with a brief glimpse of true acting talent. The story is simple and straightforward, but that makes it all the more likely for you to enjoy this big blockbuster …