Review: San Andreas
Disaster movies are a dime a dozen and easy money making movies in the business. They are big spectacle films that showcase great CGI with average acting and pretty faces. Thus making them the perfect summer blockbuster to go into for a little escapism. I know it isn't exactly a good thing for a movie that the viewer needs to not think too much while watching, but that is the general case with this kind of films as they all lack in the plot department. Knowing all of that, I had low expectations for this film and thus I was not disappointed. San Andreas is a simple idea capitalizing on a real world scare, but then the filmmakers dramatize it a bit more just to make it presentable for a cinematic viewership.
The plot follows Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) who is a part of a rescue crew in which he is well known for having over two hundred rescues. Ray however, has run into the sort of trouble that he doesn't know how to get out of or what to do as he receives divorce papers from his wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), who had already moved on to another man along with their daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Meanwhile, seismologist Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) had learned how to predict when earthquakes are coming in the California area and learns of the possibility that the worlds worst earthquake is coming as the San Andreas Fault is starting to shift causing a major earthquake that will level major cities along the fault line. When the earthquake sets off, Ray takes his helicopter immediately to save his wife and daughter who are stuck in San Francisco.
San Andreas works as a solid disaster movie however it's faults (no pun intended) is that it does nothing to separate itself from movies of it's kind. For instance the plot is pretty much a carbon copy of The Day After Tomorrow, in both films you have the courageous father going into danger to save his family while also having a strong independent woman and a crafty child that helps people survive in the middle of the chaos. Meanwhile, both films also have genius scientists that sit at their offices giving warnings about what is to come. It's almost comical how similar the two movies are but at the same token San Andreas does a good of mixing things up with it's disaster scenes. The CGI is pretty jaw dropping with the tsunami seen in the trailer being easily the best sequence in the movie.
The cast is pretty solid in their roles with it being led in the capable hands of Dwayne Johnson. Johnson is a solid choice for any film like this as he is instantly likable with his charm and personality while carrying plenty of screen presence. He isn't a capable actor for more dramatic scenes, which this film asks of him in spurts and his performance in those scenes were definitely lack luster yet he still helps the movie move along at a decent pace. He also has solid chemistry with his co-star Carla Gugino who is also solid in her role as a strong woman who is capable enough on her own. Paul Giamatti is a strong actor but at times I felt he was a bit campy in his role as the seismologist. At one point someone asks him who they should call to which Giamatti's character deadpans to the camera and I expected him to say Ghostbusters. The biggest flop in terms of acting would be that of Alexandra Daddario. She isn't a bad actress as she did well in her role on True Detective but judging from her performance in Percy Jackson she has a tendency to overact in larger than life situations. Behind the camera, Brad Peyton does an admirable job and certainly has an eye for setting up a CGI spectacle. That being said, I would not be surprised to see him make more movies of the such that are suitable to everyone, just like his previous film in Journey 2. Overall, again, it is a typical summer movie and it requires you to take it for what is which is just a disaster movie.