San Andreas Loves to Shake It Up! A Movie Review

29 May

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is ready to shake, rattle and roll in San Andreas. His charm is what carries this film and for fans of his works, this movie is no different from watching, for example, Race to Witch Mountain, which reunites him with Carla Cugino.

This disaster movie is going to change the California coast line and Roland Emmerich cannot be any more prouder. In a plot that’s fairly cut and dry, just what can anyone expect out of this movie that will most likely not get seismophobics out to see? Maybe the story: as with most films in this genre, the tale has to focus on uniting a family who’ve been separated by some domestic squabble. In Ray’s (Johnson) case, it’s with what he could not do to rescue one of his two daughters when he decided to take her on an wilderness outing. As a pilot for Los Angeles Search & Rescue (L.A.F.D.) team, he should realize that he can’t rescue everyone. Since that incident, he’s been wrestling with his demons, and that caused a riff between his wife, Emma (Cugino). The two share a good on-screen chemistry so that may be why they are working together again. Their surviving daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), has forgiven daddy, but that has not helped this family stay together.

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The papers for divorce arrive for Ray, but before he can sign on the dotted line, the subplot about California going under gets in full swing. Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) is a Caltech professor who knows the big one is coming. He even has a theory as to how earthquakes can be predicted, and in predictable fashion, the big one is coming. Although some of the science is totally off, who cares! This popcorn film celebrates the B-movie tradition. Even the effects look great. The blend of practical and digital effects makes the illusion look complete, even if half of the sequences are totally off the wall. To see how San Francisco gets devastated might even get Godzilla weeping. The entire roster of Toho would have to awaken to cause this kind of destruction. Ever since CGI has become the norm to digitally enhance disaster porn, just how over the top another movie can go can have Michael Bay making bets with Irwin Allen in who can out do the other.

If there’s any hidden messages to be found with this genre, I have to wonder if Mother Nature should be allowed to reclaim her land. If mankind can learn from the mistakes the forefathers made when they decided to settle, then there would be very little of the planet humanity can settle on. Knowing what we do now about tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanoes (tornadoes are far too unpredictable to figure out), humanity should take to safer regions to build their megalopolises. Back then, we had no idea those mountains from afar can blow up or certain regions are tectonically unsafe.

If there’s anything audiences leave with after watching these type of films, then it has to be in knowing living on this planet is a gamble. We live by Gaea’s rule, not ours.

3 Stars out of 5

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