The Filmnomore Movie Blog looks death in the face and asks The Rock to punch it between the eyes
OK so I feel the need to apologise for my heading as I have stolen an idea reprised in a thousand and one blogs this week but I couldn’t help myself. If the film can bathe itself in cliches why can’t I? San Andreas is directed by Roland Emmer … oh no wait relative new comer Brad Peyton and Stars Dwayne Johnson as a search and rescue pilot, Ray(mond) Gaines, flying out of Los Angeles. On the work front he is a great success but his private life is a mess. The divorce papers have arrived at his house and he learns that his soon to be ex-wife is moving in with her new fella. The pining has to stop however when the San Andreas fault springs into life and threatens the life of his family.
My second paragraph normally wistfully considers the themes of a film and the message it is trying to send to the audience. There is little need to so that here but what the film does is follows the rules of every disaster movie going back to the 1970’s. You need a protagonist dealing with a moral or personal crisis while the bad guys, or those who do wrong, pay the price in a suitably messy fashion. This is best summed up in the following video blog by UK film critic Mark Kermode who is far more eloquent on the subject than I.
From a critical perspective the movie has many, many problems. My biggest gripe was the dialogue which was laugh out loud funny which is good in a comedy but not so much when the many characters are trying to be stoic in the face of the horror around them. My other main problem was the lack of focus on the family dynamic. I go back to my standby director, Steven Spielberg, who excels at taking big stories and making them relatable on a personal level while telling a ripping yarn. San Andreas focuses on the spectacle at the expense of the story and ultimately fails to deliver the all round experience I require in a film.
All that being said the film is never boring. It does have some heart-pounding CGI sequences and if you can ignore the ‘that would never happen’ moments there is the potential for a lot of fun to be had. The key is to set your expectations at the appropriate level. Tell yourself there are going to be plot holes/inconsistencies, silly dialogue and two English brothers with iffy accents (one of them is Australian in real life). If you can do that then you could be onto a winner.
I suspect that the much younger me would have been delighted by this film. Sadly we grow older, wiser, see hundreds of other films and the some of the simple joys of youth slip away. As a result there is no way on God’s green earth I’m going to give San Andreas a high rating – it’s not very good. It’ll take plenty of money because its bright and easy entertainment for the summer. There’s very little blood but a little bit of swearing and the obligatory single F bomb. My rating 2/5.