San Andreas: Movie Review

30 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

All the science ‘San Andreas’ gets wrong, according to a top seismologist.

Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, New Line and Warner Bros.’ San Andreas is recording strong seismic activity at the Friday box office, where it’s tipped to gross $14 million-$16 million for the day on its way to a weekend debut north of $40 million.Yet Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles mayor, is calling on residents to see San Andreas, a bombastic new action thriller set in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, in the hope that it will awaken Californians to the dangers posed by a long overdue “Big One”. “I hope this movie can be a gut check and a visceral reminder to people of the danger from quakes,” Mr Garcetti said, at the film’s Hollywood premiere this week.Every summer, we get at least one big knuckle-headed popcorn movie that rises above lame plotting, dopey dialogue, gratuitous carnage and unbelievable action because it makes the effort to be likable. Lucy Jones’ live tweeting during the LA premiere of the earthquake-disaster flick “San Andreas.” (See what we did there?) The United States Geological Survey seismologist and 30-year veteran in the field used her 140 characters to spell out some real scientific mistakes in the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-helmed film.

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 should mark Johnson’s top domestic opening outside of the Fast and Furious franchise. This season “San Andreas,” an old-fashioned, if also outlandish disaster movie about earthquakes leveling Los Angeles and San Francisco, is that film, and a large part of the credit must go to Dwayne Johnson, whose likability goes for miles and miles in this big-budget B-movie. The biggest fail of the movie, however, had nothing to do with the earthquake itself — but rather the tsunami that followed the impossible 9.6 magnitude rattler. “One: It can’t happen at all from the San Andreas [fault],” Jones tells The Post. “Two: It was way too big. There’s no way there will ever be a tsunami that hops over the Golden Gate Bridge.” “A tsunami is not a cresting wave — it’s a sudden rise in sea level,” she explains. “And it doesn’t turn off gravity: The water flows back in, it doesn’t sit there. 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).

At home, Ray tries to maintain a close relationship with his college-age daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario, “True Detective”), while being divorced by his beautiful wife (Carla Gugino), who is about to move in with super-rich architect Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd). They had a lot of the water sitting there, and they had to do it for drowning scenes.” And when the all-knowing Paul Giamatti — who plays the role of a seismologist actually based on the career of Jones’ husband Egill Hauksson — accurately predicts the monster quake, the film again strays far from reality. “We haven’t found anything that’s predictive so far, except for earthquake triggering — when one earthquake happens, it triggers another one,” she says.

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. Just before this, Blake flies to San Francisco with Daniel, where, in scenes that reek of “meet cute,” she meets aspiring English architect Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his cute-(that word again)-as-a-button little brother Ollie (scene-stealer Art Parkinson). The disaster film teams Johnson with director Brad Peyton, who also guided the actor through 2012’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and producer Beau Flynn, who produced both Journey 2 and Johnson’s 2014 Hercules. 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. But if ever a screenplay was created by a software program, this literary piece of low-hanging fruit from Carlton Cuse (“Bates Motel”), Jeremy Passmore (“Red Dawn”) and newcomer Andre Fabrizio is it, right down to the groan-inducing “Let’s go get our daughter.” But if you want to see Hoover Dam hit by a 9.6-magnitude earthquake accompanied by canned disaster-movie music from Andrew Lockington (“City of Ember”) and a bogus shout-out for FEMA, this is the place.

Borrowing tropes from such cautionary tales as Jan de Bont’s poetic “Twister” (1997) and Roland Emmerich’s under-rated “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), in which a climate scientist (Dennis Quaid) in D.C. tries to reunite with a son stranded in New York City, “San Andreas” holds no surprises. 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.

Chief among them is its aforementioned cast, including Johnson — who appears to have a funny little boy hiding inside that enormous warrior exterior — Gugino, Johnstone-Burt, Parkinson and Daddario, who maintains a cheerful, can-do demeanor, however much the camera brazenly ogles her.

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