Review: San Andreas

30 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Box Office: ‘San Andreas’ Eyes Seismic $48M Debut; ‘Aloha’ Bombing.

This excellent disaster movie caters to the voyeur in us all – or, at least, those of us spared the nightmarish experience of our recent homegrown earthquakes – by giving us front-row seats at the spectacular large-scale devastation of California. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” warns a scientist, while at the first scene of trouble someone barks, “get the hell out of there!” “Who should we call?” asks a worried reporter. “Everybody,” replies an expert.

The earthquake disaster film, which harkens back to the old Irwin Allen disaster flicks of the ’70s, will easily claim the top spot in North America this weekend and will mark Johnson’s top domestic opening outside of the Fast and Furious franchise.Hollywood action star Dwayne Johnson says he decided to take up his recently released disaster flick, San Andreas, as it had a human element. “I loved the script after reading the first 30 pages. San Andreas is elevated further above the genre by the canny casting of Paul Giamatti (once Sideways, now everything of note) and a surprisingly good alumnus of Home and Away, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, who dons a fine English accent and helps to break the film out of being just another American-feeling movie about America getting pummelled (there are Welsh and British actors in the ensemble, too, and even a strange cameo from an Aussie popstar, a sign Hollywood is becoming pleasingly cosmopolitan). San Andreas, which casts him as a Los Angeles Fire Department rescue pilot, explodes in theaters even as his megahit Furious 7 continues to roll at the box office. Despite the bog-standard disaster set-up (devoted divorced dad who works for Fire & Rescue; ex-wife moving on; plucky daughter in tight jeans), the action is absolutely thrilling from go to whoa.

Mass destruction has long been the province of disaster-porn impresario Roland Emmerich, whose The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 made extinction-level events into multiplex fun. Johnson says the already-hot Furious franchise was propelled to another level with the farewell to standout star Paul Walker, who died in a car crash on Nov. 30, 2013. “It was a lot of different elements coming together at the same time, and the lead element being Paul, seeing him for the very last time,” Johnson told theater owners last month at the CinemaCon convention. A terrifically nail-biting opener sets the scene for nearly two hours of literally jaw-dropping moments, as San Francisco and Los Angeles take a beating from Mother Nature. San Andreas director Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) doesn’t aim so high, he’s merely out to destroy California when the San Andreas fault – the meeting point of two vast tectonic plates – begins to shift, causing massive earthquakes.

Cameron Crowe’s romantic drama Aloha, the weekend’s other new offering, isn’t looking so lucky despite its star-studded cast (Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams). Still, Johnson added his own star power as Luke Hobbs, with Rentrak analyst Paul Dergarabedian calling him “the ultimate box-office supercharger when added to the mix of existing franchises.” In March, Johnson hosted Saturday Night Live, opening with a skit about being “franchise Viagra.” His films — including the G.I. Better yet, Giamatti’s seismologist harbinger delivers his doom-ridden clichés with a straight face and absolute commitment – a tone also carried by Johnson even as he is established as the bicep-bulging hero who’s “Just doing my job”.

Already fractured is the Gaines family, with father Ray (Dwayne Johnson), a veteran Los Angeles helicopter-rescue pilot, being divorced by wife Emma (Carla Gugino) in the wake of their losing a daughter to a boating accident. The subject is one which may sit a little close to home for New Zealand audiences, but while one isn’t gloating at the American devastation, it’s impossible not to feel awe. Their other child, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), is off to university, hitching a ride to San Francisco with Emma’s new boyfriend, property developer mogul Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd). Next month, he steps into the coveted HBO arena with new series Ballers (premiering June 21), which stars Johnson as a superstar athlete trying to reinvent himself as a financial manager. Usefully, Giamatti reminds us to “Drop, Cover, Hold” as he pulls a colleague away from the doorframe and under a table (thank goodness the movies can teach us something).

Once seismologist Dr Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) has outlined the coming nightmare and witnessed the end of the first iconic structure, it’s up to Ray to pull his family back together while everyone else is either falling to their death or getting squashed. In San Andreas, Johnson plays a helicopter pilot called upon to execute multiple nick-of-time rescues in the PG-13 movie that will be playing in 3,777 theaters by Friday, the majority of them 3-D houses. Daniel’s riches may be impressive when the ground is still, but in a disaster zone riven by powerful aftershocks you want the guy who’s built like his own tectonic plate. In between a heavy worldwide promotional schedule for San Andreas (current stop: China), Johnson already has started filming the comedy Central Intelligence with Kevin Hart, in which he plays a lethal but dorky hitman. “Things are great right now, but you’ve got to hustle,” he says. “You have to create opportunities for yourself. Blake turns out to have inherited her father’s resourcefulness, and it’s a welcome reverse to have a young woman leading the way even as she sheds clothing layers to the ubiquitous singlet.

From Sony, the Hawaii-set Aloha stars Cooper as a military contractor who falls for an Air Force pilot played by Stone, only to encounter a past lover in the form of McAdams. He was in a relatively minor 4.7 magnitude quake in 2009. “I was right under my chandelier in this large foyer, and all of a sudden it started to shake.

A pair of British brothers, including love interest Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), follow her, while the first-to-die supporting cast includes Kylie Minogue as Daniel’s officious sister. There’s the odd touch of mordant wit, such as a container ship topping a tsunami that characters are desperately trying to crest, but despite the ground constantly shaking San Andreas rarely moves you. Produced by Crowe and Scott Rudin, Aloha — which at one point was penciled in for a December 2014 release but was then moved into 2015 — cost at least $37 million after rebates. It has already had to withstand critical comments from former Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal, which were exposed in emails made public as part of the Sony hack. A month ago, Johnson, his longtime girlfriend Lauren Hashian and his 13-year-old daughter Simone (with ex-wife Dany Garcia) practiced quake drills and stocked disaster kits (quirky item: his beloved Pop-Tarts).

Here you can write a commentary on the recording "Review: San Andreas".

* Required fields
All the reviews are moderated.
Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts

About this site