In order to keep my writing relevant, I decided I need to tackle more recent releases. In "Is It Really That Bad?", I'll take a movie that was panned or bombed in the B.O. and watch it, to see just how bad it really is. That being said:
I never really wanted to see San Andreas, it just kind of happened, like catching a foul ball or having a child. That being said, like most of you, I went into this one with low expectations. I love The Rock (who doesn't?) and action movies are almost always a good time. But the critics didn't love it, and there have been a slew of fun, worth-while movies in the theaters this summer, so it's fair that I didn't rush to the theater to see San Andreas.
You don't really need the plot, but I'll give it to you anyway, and you're going to like it. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays Ray, a BAMF firefighter for the LAFD who also pilots a helicopter. And drives boats. And flies propeller planes (more on that later). He's divorced from Emma (Carla Gugino), because they couldn't keep their marriage going after one of their daughters drowned, which, of course, The Rock blames himself for. The Rock is doing his thing when this giant earthquake happens, predicted correctly by Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) and all hell breaks loose. Meanwhile, The Rock's daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario--exactly, who?) is trapped in San Francisco, the absolute worst place to be, with a hot British guy and his brother, for some reason. The Rock promises his wife and us, not once but twice, that they will in fact save their daughter.
This next part is too much work, so I'm going to bullet point my list of grievances against this movie:
1. The Rock can fly a helicopter and he works for the fire department, so of course, when a natural disaster occurs, he does what any heroic person would do and doesn't save anyone except for his ex-wife and daughter.
2. The Rock can fly a helicopter, pilot a propeller plane, a boat, and he can hot wire any car he desires.
3. Speaking of which, they have to race to San Francisco to get their daughter, so they hot wire a truck to drive there, before looking for another plane or helicopter? Doesn't The Rock have helicopter buddies?
4. The Rock is hot, has a hot wife and a hot daughter. She doesn't look like either of them, she's like thirty years old playing nineteen or something. You can't buy the reality of the movie with a coupon.
5. When an earthquake happens, I understand if you are standing and you fall down. It's natural, the ground just shook. But if you are in a helicopter a hundred feet or so above the ground, why does the helicopter shake when the earthquake happens?
6. I really don't think you can climb a tsunami wave, no matter how BAMF you are.
7. At one point, Blake gets her legs trapped under tons of rubble, but the British guy helps her escape. She's fine for the whole movie. No broken bones, no bruises, not even tussled hair. But the British guy gets one little shard of glass in his leg and he becomes a big pussy and can barely make it through the rest of the movie (of course there's the obligatory scene when the hot girl helps the hot guy by bandaging him up).
8. The cover photo is the first scene in the movie, from a scene about a selfish, shallow teenage girl crashing her car, dangling along a canyon wall (physics, or something), because she was texting and driving, making all of us youngins look bad. The point is, she's not sympathetic, so I don't care if The Rock saves her or not.
9. While The Rock and his wife drive to San Francisco (through the center of California) they pass an old couple waving them down. When the ground splits open, it turns out The Rock needs the couples' help. Well, well, well. Look who decided to pay attention to us. If it were me, and my only hope of survival drove away in a new 2016 Toyota truck, with six seats and extra wide cup holders, only to come crawling back asking for my propeller plane, I'd tell him to crawl back to the gym he came from.
10. And so forth.
The movie makes no sense and has so many problems. It would have been better if instead of The Rock it was like a Bruce Willis-type, you know, a normal guy.
But it is pure, dumb fun. The action sequences are competently put together, and admittedly, look impressive. The plot of the movie and of the action sequences are like the plots I would come up with when I would play with G.I. Joe or Hot Wheels as a child, meaning they are awesome (If you ever need a kick-ass action sequence, ask a seven-year-old boy).
There are attempts at humor, some work, some don't. The Rock, after parachuting into AT&T Park (oh right, he can parachute, no problem) with his hot ex-wife, they land on second base and he makes a joke about getting her to second base. Not great, but at least they're having fun.
Warner Bros. sold us this movie as "People vs. Earthquake" and it's exactly what you get. No ambiguity, no characters greater than life, just people vs. quake. Director Brad Peyton tries to give the movie a moral, with a scene involving a news reporter basically saying that Paul Giamatti, the smart nerd, is the true hero, not the hot firefighter who saved a few people.
If Mary Jane had missed the showing, I would have been rolling my eyes (this was the reaction I had to The Rock's other flick Hercules, only with less laughs). It's fun, but don't run to it, and for god's sakes don't pay to see it.