I have to admit that I am very fortunate. I’m fortunate to live in an area of the country that doesn’t experience a lot of natural disasters. Avalanches, earthquakes, floods and tsunamis, heatwaves, hurricanes and tornadoes, volcanoes, and epidemics are events that don’t really happen in Edmonton.
The worst thing we are at risk of is a forest fire. And we are pretty much on top of those.
But I love a good movie that covers this criteria, because they bring in the sublime of nature, and showcase how powerful forces of nature are, and the resilience of people.
The movie I’ve reviewed this week is a disaster film or is it a disaster of a film? I guess we’ll find out?
San Andreas (2015)
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Paul Giamatti
Director: Brad Peyton
released on blu-ray October 13, 2015
Rotten Tomatoes: 50%, Audience Score 56%
The Guardian: ***/*****
Did you know that Brad Peyton is a Canadian? Yeah, he is from Newfoundland and Labrador. So a Canadian helmed this film? That means I’m going to give it a glowing review right? Eh, not so much.
If you look at the rise of Peyton’s directorial career you’ll note that his first big success is on a claymation TV series called What It’s Like Being Alone. Then he directed Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, followed by Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and now San Andreas. I actually made a joke with my girlfriend that this movie felt like Journey 3: The Centre of California. I wish I filmed it for proof… I may just need to start recording my film experiences as I am making notes.
Ironically, Peyton is in process of producing Journey 3 RIGHT NOW.
If you liked Journey 2, I am sorry for digging at the movie, but I think it’s only fair that I give a realistic review of San Andreas. It’s definitely better than Journey 2, but not by much.
It opens with a girl driving through San Fernando Valley, suddenly the rocks start to fall causing her car to drive off the edge, only barely hugging it. We are simultaneously introduced to helicopter rescue pilot Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) and his team being interviewed by reporter Serena (Archie Panjabi). Ray is radioed in to rescue the girl mere seconds before disaster.
At CALTECH we see Dr. Kim Park as he gets a transmission that there is earthquake activity in Nevada. He promptly shares with his partner Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti). They head to the Hoover Dam to test the predictive theory they have based on the unusual area activity.
We cut to Ray on the phone with daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). She is planning on visiting him in San Francisco, and Ray is also looking over the divorce papers he has been issued from his wife Emma (Carla Gugino). Emma will soon be moving in with new boyfriend Daniel Riddick(Ioan Gruffudd) and Blake is going with them.
Meanwhile, at Hoover Dam, Hayes and Park are finally testing their theory out, and Park does get results from the device. But the results are way higher then expected and come in over 7.0 for an earthquake. The dam starts to crack and Hayes yells for everyone to get off the edge of the dam as Park runs to escape the facility where he has been conducting the tests. We see an intense sequence as Park barely stays ahead of the cracks, but unfortunately there is a little girl who is trapped on one of the dam viewing balconies. He rescues her and carries her out, throwing her Hayes before the pedway breaks. His foot gets impaled and then the dam finally crumbles, pushing him away with it.
Back in California, Ray arrives at his old home for the trip with Blake, and is suddenly stationed in Nevada to rescue its disaster victims. Blake decides to head to San Francisco for Daniel’s business meeting while she waits for her dad. Blake then meets an English guy named Ben Taylor (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his brother, Ollie (Art Parkinson).
At CALTECH, Serena has arrived to interview Hayes about what happened in Nevada. Hayes confirms that they didn’t know about the fault line. But he then realizes that they really can predict an earthquake. This happens just in time for his colleague to interrupt Hayes and present him data showing the pulse rates where detected on the entire San Andreas fault. And the pulse rates were higher than Nevada.
And that’s probably a good place to stop. That’s right dear readers, it’s a disaster film, so it’s only going to get worse from there before it gets better. But I’ll let you decide if the movie is worth your time with some notes below.
Pros: It delivers what it promises, The Rock fighting against the elements with a ton special effects and action to keep you entertained. The characters are resourceful, what you need in this kind of story
Cons: This move works more as a guilty pleasure than it should. The plot is pretty thin and the characters aren’t that interesting, though they are pretty to look at.
Runtime: 114 minutes
Points of Interest: Brad Peyton did consult the Southern California Earthquake Center to fact check the script for accuracy. However, the professor they consulted did state that the San Andreas area can’t produce 9.0 earthquakes or big tsunamis.
And those are my thoughts on the most recent disaster film on the market. I hope you enjoyed my review! Always excited for your feedback dear readers. And I’m out of theories for the day, check back tomorrow for some wisdom.