San Andreas (2015)

I remember hearing about how California was going to snap off and float away when I was a kid. I have since learned a bit more about how tectonic plates work, and that's not the way they work. Fortunately, the makers of this movie understood that, so they got that right. In fact, a lot of the science they got right. Some was... written at the writer's discretion.

Welcome to The Rock. I knew going in that this was going to star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. It's a disaster movie with an action hero, so there are certainly worse guys you could go with. The Rock, to his credit, didn't even bother taking off his shirt to embarrass the rest of us grown men. They give him a name other than The Rock in this movie, but it's kind of pointless, isn't it? His character is a search and rescue pilot who is in charge of a group of rescuers. The whole group are guys who came over from the military where they used to rescue people together. Honestly, I don't know why they came up with that back story, as the other guys never actually enter into any of this.

Carla Gugino is The Rock's soon-to-be-ex-wife (and current squeeze of Mr. Fantastic, Ioan Gruffudd). She's predictably attractive and also not really required to do a whole lot of acting beyond needing The Rock's help in a few situations. The fact is, her role is small, and it seems like she makes the most of it. Their daughter, played by Alexandra Daddario, is in more of the spotlight than Carla is. She is a tremendously attractive young lady who winds up stranded in a strange city while the world is seemingly ending. She's a strong and defiant damsel in distress.

Tagging along with the lovely Alexandra are the brother duo played by Hugo Johnstone-Burt and the young Art Parkinson. They both play British guys who are here for Hugo's job interview with Ioan's company. We really don't know why he has Art with him, but Art's character has to exist for kids to identify with someone in the movie, I guess. Not sure why big buildings falling over and giant tidal waves of destruction aren't enough, but what are you going to do?

Paul Giamatti is in an entirely different movie. As soon as I saw him on screen, I thought of the movie Earthquake with Tommy Lee Jones - another disaster movie with a high-caliber actor who really had no business being in the movie. The fact is, Paul never has a single scene with any of the other actors I've mentioned so far. I'm betting he came in, did three days worth of work, and he went home to collect a good paycheck. He adds credibility to this movie that a movie with one The Rock wouldn't have. He makes this a movie that could not be a Syfy movie.

The biggest star in this movie, like most disaster movies, is the special effects. Most of them are very, very good. Special effects guys have gotten really good with their water and their dust storms and their giant holes and their crumbling buildings. Inexplicably, what they don't get right sometimes is basic physics. The first car issue that we have shows a car flipping end over end down a cliff, and it is one of the fakest things I've seen since XXX2 (sorry, Ice Cube).

Direction was good
Story was good enough
Dialog was pretty weak
Acting was actually pretty good
Effects were generally good

Bottom Line: A disaster movie with money thrown at it, and much of it sticks. A fun enough romp.



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