Movie Review: San Andreas (2015)

Posted: March 14, 2016 in Action
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san andreas

Raymond Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) is a helicopter pilot in Los Angeles, who rescues people from difficult spots.  He is soon to be divorced from his wife Emma (Carla Gugino) and shocked to learn that Emma is moving in with her boyfriend, Daniel Riddick. (Ian Gruffudd) Daniel volunteers to take Emma and Raymond’s daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) to San Francisco instead of Raymond.  Dr. Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) is a seismology professor, and author, who thinks he’s figured out a way to predict earthquakes, and after seeing an earthquake destroy the Hoover Dam, he is sure he can predict future earthquakes.  Hayes’ other readings indicate that the San Andreas Fault line has been activated, and this could mean major earthquakes up and down California.  Emma is having dinner in Los Angeles while the first earthquake hits California.  Raymond has to rescue Emma from Los Angeles.  No sooner does the earthquake hit L.A. than aftershocks hit San Francisco and Blake is trapped in a garage in San Francisco.  Can Raymond save his wife and daughter before they become victims of the quake?

This movie tries to be like the disaster films of the 1970’s like the Airport movies, Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure, and The Towering Inferno, but those disasters were pretty much localized, because everything must be bigger in 2015, this disaster hits all of California and some of Nevada for good measure.  In fact, San Andreas is much closer 2012, the movie about The Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world in 2012.  Both were long on CGI and short on story.  Raymond Gaines switches modes of transportation as easily as most people change clothes, and this is easily the most ludicrous survival story since Gravity, or the Martian.  At least the Martian tried to explain how the astronaut survived, Raymond Gaines advice to his daughter.  Try to get to Nob Hill.  This film also featured something unique, marriage counselling via natural disaster, so if you’re ever having marital problems an earthquake could help you work things out with your spouse, or maybe not.

The acting was terrible, what does anyone expect from a movie like this?  Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is not only asked to be an action hero, he is asked to emote about the loss of a daughter from a childhood drowning accident.  This is simply too much heavy lifting for the musclebound former wrestler to do, and so while he handles the action hero aspect as well as he can, he cannot go beyond that and expecting him to do so is silly.   The producers must have backed up a truck full of money next to Paul Giamatti’s house to get him to be in this movie.  His talents are wasted, as are the talents of Archie Punjabi from The Good Wife, she is given nothing to do, as a reporter who covers Giamatti.

The direction is not noteworthy, a lot of CGI, and phoned in performances from everyone.  Director Brad Peyton has directed nothing of note, but will direct the sequel to San Andreas.  I can hardly wait. The news of a sequel brings me to the audience.  This floating piece of ballast made at least 318 million worldwide, which is the reason for the sequel, which begs the question why would people watch this movie?  I understand escapism but this movie isn’t escapism, at least not well made escapism. I understand summer movies aren’t supposed to be high quality endeavors, but San Andreas really tests that theory.

San Andreas:  The Fault lies with the writing, acting, and directing.


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