San Andreas: The film is quite the disaster, and OMG! The Rock!

29 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Review: ‘San Andreas’ is full of faults.

They call it disaster movie, but really, the genre that San Andreas belongs to is the “OMG!” film. Whether it’s in 3D or 2D, no matter where the film is set or what disaster the heroes have to encounter, the defining moments of an OMG! film are more identical than monozygotic twins. 1. Dwayne Johnson stars as a helicopter-rescue pilot trying to save his family after a massive earthquake that is more ridiculous than impressive, though the scale is enormous.

Really, that’s about all there is to say about “San Andreas,” the brain-rattling disaster of a disaster film directed by Brad Peyton and starring Dwayne Johnson. (Don’t worry, systematic pummeling is all your brain will be used for during the film anyway.) To appreciate the effect of watching this movie, here is a suggestion: Go to your music collection and find the loudest, angriest heavy metal music you’ve got (something where they use jackhammers for percussion), put on headphones and crank it up UNTIL EVERYTHING SOUNDS LIKE THIS. Our knight – with shining tattoo on a boulder-sized bicep – flies around in a cute, red, whirling chopper, makes daredevil swoops that save victims just a fraction of a second away from death, and comes out a surefire winner. So Ray’s trapped, rescued, trapped again and generally very brave daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario) starts looking for push button phones and landlines in San Francisco. Ray and his team are going to fly up to the dam to help with rescue efforts, so Blake flies to school with Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd), the ultra-rich oily developer her mother Emma (Carla Gugino) has been seeing, on his private jet.

Massive quakes strike all along the San Andreas fault, from Los Angeles, where Emma is, all the way to San Francisco, where Blake has arrived. (Don’t worry if you don’t know much about the fault; this is the kind of movie where brilliant professors like Lawrence explain grade-school basics to their brilliant students at Cal Tech.) So that’s it, really. There are also, presumably, many millions of deaths, but we only see one in any kind of detail, and it’s a plot point. “San Andreas” is a throwback of sorts to ’70s disaster films like “Airport” (though, in retrospect, that film looks more and more like “The Love Boat” set on an airplane). With a chopper and his estranged wife, Emma (Carla Cugino) holding his hand, the man has all that he needs to stick his metaphorical tongue out at the worst earthquake in human history.

In this case, it’s a hapless British lad who gets a massive shard of glass in his upper thigh, but still manages to swim, climb stairs and generally scamper around as a tsunami strikes San Francisco. But not before one heroic act – in San Andreas, it’s picking up a sobbing young girl, running with her in his arms and throwing her into someone else’s arms as though she’s a rugby ball.

Blake gasps, “I love you, Daddy.” Could the granddaddy of disaster movies Bruce Willis (from Die Hard) have reacted with a better expression than Rock? So San Andreas offers a two-for-one deal: there are two kinds of natural calamities in the film and both Los Angeles and San Francisco go crash boom bang. San Andreas’s high thrills come from low angle shots of skyscrapers crumbling, massive ships crashing across angry water waves; a tiny chopper flying through a gap created by buildings smashing into vertical halves.

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