"The Earth will literally crack and you will feel it on the East Coast."
What expectations do you have when you're going to see a disaster movie such as "San Andreas" ? Obviously you're looking forward to see how a metropolis like San Francisco is reduced to an immense mess, strewn with rubble and twisted steel. Immense skyscrapers collapsing like a house of cards and tumbling down one after the other like domino's with lots of noise and accompanied by bombastic, swelling and ominous music. A crowd fleeing in panic. People being crushed and pulverized, thrown off buildings and bridges and the number of victims rising steadily. And all this developed in a perfect, crisp and digital way. Preferably in 3D so that you get the feeling as if everything is crashing down right in front of you. That's what you can expect in this Hollywood disaster movie and it all looks very impressive. But the accompanying story in which the personal and emotional part is mingled, really is sometimes far-fetched and trite presented. In brief you can say that the disaster part has been shown numerous times in other (older and therefore outdated) movies. And the tragic, emotional part is a subject that's dealt with in other films, but only much better.
The whole story takes place at the San Andreas Fault (and that explains the logical film title). Ray (Dwayne Johnson), helicopter pilot aka rescuer, is from the outset at the forefront. A nail-biting rescue operation at the beginning of the film immediately shows what this impressive,muscled Hulk is capable of. He rescued innumerable people who were in such a precarious situation. His marriage, however, he couldn't save. A break-up between him and his wife is inevitable. A planned trip with his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is canceled because the Hoover Dam got destroyed by a heavy earthquake (excellent shown on the screen by the way). But she can fly with Daniel Riddick's (Ioan Gruffudd) private jet. He's the wealthy new boyfriend of her mother Emma (Carla Gugino). Of course, this trip is going to San Francisco. Coincidentally this is "the place you shouldn't be" at that moment because there will be a concentration of earthquakes, with disastrous consequences.
How an American landscape is recreated by a succession of strong earthquakes, is the better part of this film. These are sometimes poignant, apocalyptic images that look really slick. It's breathtaking to see San Francisco's surface heaving as the ocean. But unfortunately this is not sufficient enough to turn "San Andreas" into a successful film. And since this is the only good part, you get the feeling as if you're just voyeuristic person who gets his kicks from watching others misery. The side story about unresolved grief, incomprehension and divorce is so predictable (so far it's the most predictable movie I've ever seen) and dull. It was so predictable that my wife and I spontaneously started a "predict-the-next-event-or-quote 'game. And I have to be honest. My wife won as easy as pie.
The characters are no more than stereotypical figures. Dwayne Johnson wasn't actually so bad. This role fitted him as a glove. On the other hand Johnson looks as if he could cause an earthquake on his own. But that this rough diamond turns into a sensitive wimp near the finish, was a bit to much (but surely predictable. One point for my wife). Gugino plays the indignant and disillusioned almost-ex-wife who immediately digs up a multi millionaire (of course. My point), although her attitude shows something different. As if she's not entirely sure about it. For the rest she just radiates helplessness and dismay. Daddario is a stunning actress with piercing Tsunami-blue eyes and a cup size that you can't look past (probably inherited from her film-mother who's also blessed with a nice set of boobs). But that's probably the most important thing why this MacGyver-like teenager was selected. She's being helped (but usually she's the one who's helping) by two boys from England, Ben and Ollie. I saw it coming from miles away that Ben and Blake would develop feelings for each other at the end (And yes, one point for me again). For me, Ollie (Art Parkinson) was the most successful and enjoyable interpretation. A smart, perky, unabashedly, funny little boy. The rest of the cast was only necessary for the story. The funniest (and shortest) interpretation was made by Kylie Minogue. A tactless bitch who gets what she deserves eventually.
"San Andreas" is a shallow-brained spectacle with some facts that are scientifically incorrect or illogical. I didn't know that you could be floating underwater with your mouth wide open without drowning and I am confident that this film broke the record of "giving-CPR-after-awfully-long-time-with-no-brain damage-because-of-oxygen deficiency" easily. The disaster part looked damn good and it seemed as if you could feel the shocks yourself by looking at the shaking images. The sentimental story only made shake with laughter sometimes. When are they going to replace those idiotic, clichéd one-liners and fragments with original ideas? When Johnson quoted "Now, we rebuild" and the American flag was raised again, I sighed again and secretly I was hoping the Richter scale registered 15.
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