San Andreas review
My summary: The earthquake hits California and is about to cause half of the state to detach from the rest of the country. A father played by The Rock is a helicopter pilot and is recently divorced has to team up with his ex-wife to find their daughter and her new friends before the area detaches.
The Good: The special effects are well done with everything looking as if the entire screen would explode. This reminded me of other disaster films like 2012, Twister, and the Day After Tomorrow. The Rock is not giving an Oscar worthy performance but he does better than you'd expect. He clearly knows how to survive any disaster and he doesn't make you cringe when he tries to act. You just feel like giving him a pat on the back after each scene. Paul Giamatti stars as the scientist who somehow pulls it off without going crazy or seeming awkward. He predicted this would happen but no one listened to him and he just tries to find a way to inform the public to get out of California. His character is the kind you aren't afraid of or disgusted by rather you want to be a student to. He speaks his lines believably and he always gets the tone just right. I always wanted to see him on screen and never felt he was just a tool to use to get the science mumbojumbo out to the audience. The suspense is here at times and when it is done right it really works.
The Bad: Considering this is a blockbuster it will be very easy to make fun of it. The plausibility of everything from the car crashes to the drowning to the survivors is all out the window. Just don't expect to believe anything you see. A fragile human girl rolls over her car down some rocks and not only is she alive without a broken neck her entire roof is still attached. The mother after being through a collapsed building (yeah she made it out) is shown a few minutes later during a deep part of the movie completely cleaned of any scars, has full makeup and lipstick on, and hair completely dirtless. By the way none of these are spoilers. The Rock's ex in the beginning reveals that she is moving in with her new boyfriend which is interesting because this is something that does happen. The Rock feels hurt because he didn't expect this so fast and the new guy seems to try to connect with their daughter by saying he is not going to take the place of her father. This seems interesting because the guy doesn't seem like he means any harm but you can still understand why The Rock still feels pain and I wanted to see how this would all be worked out. Also The Rock was unable to save a daughter he had from drowning long ago and he blames himself. These are all interesting and complex problems to deal with as it is no one's fault for the emotional complexities so how will they deal with them? By completely playing it as safe and predictable as possible. I won't say how but you will know what I'm talking about when you see it. No risks, no exploration just great build up and little payoff as expected. All the people who will die you can honestly point to after you see them for the first time. It follows the same fake suspense moments you usually see especially when it comes to a person looking like they are going to die and people who end up dying. Basically everything after the earthquake first hits is completely formulaic and predictable.
This film belongs in the late 90s early 2000s period with Independence Day, Twister, Godzilla, Day After Tomorrow, and so forth. It's like a homework assignment that played it safe enough to get a C-. I enjoyed it for what it was which is a mindless disaster film with some pleasures. I would recommend it for people who just want a body rush and pretty images. You probably won't care about the characters except for The Rock because he is The Rock. I wasn't disappointed or impressed just met expectations. As long as you know what you're getting into the film will deliver.