Movie Review: “San Andreas”- Not Disastrous, But…

Written by Konstantine Xinos June 07, 2015

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San Andreas is the new disaster action flick starring the captivating Dwayne Johnson. Although the film thrills the audience with superb special effects and well-choreographed action sequences, the film falls short on delivering a new plot with original characters.

The film opens with Ray Gaines (Johnson) preforming a heroic helicopter rescue. Gaines works for the Los Angeles Fire Department and is a decorated war hero, saving over 600 lives overseas. Meanwhile, CalTech seismology professor Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) is conducting earthquake research at the Hoover Dam, where he is confronted with a devastating earthquake.The earthquake makes its way along the San Andreas Fault line, which catches up to Gaines’ estranged wife in a tower in San Francisco. Gaines diverts his attention from his mandated mission to save his wife and daughter.

“I’m just doing my job.”

As one could imagine, the majority of the film consists of fast paced action. This can be seen as good and bad, depending on viewer preferences. In short, if you’re not into a film that is basically a long action sequence, this may not be the movie for you. If you’re into pure action-paced blockbusters, this is right up your alley.

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One of the biggest drawbacks of the movie is the fact that it feels like a lot of the characters and situations in the film have been done before. The father that has his wife and daughter almost ‘stolen’ by his (soon to be) ex wife’s new boyfriend has been put on the big screen numerous times before. The idea that the man has to almost win back his wife and daughter has also been done before. In addition, the simple premise of the man that has some past trauma having to save his family from a disaster is seen in this movie and is overdone. I’m not asking for a complete re-imagining of the disaster genre, I just want to see a fresh take on the genre with new characters.

Another aspect where this movie falls short is in the dialogue. The screenplay is simply horrible. The dialogue is clunky and full of cliché one-liners that audiences have heard for decades. In addition, the movie tries to use comic relief where it simply has no place.

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The suspense in San Andreas is poorly executed and most scenes are predictable. Although there are some suspenseful scenes, the following action of the suspense is predictable. The fact that the viewer can predict exactly what is to come of the suspense makes the viewer question the purpose of the suspenseful scene in the first place.

The best part of the film is the gender dynamics. Although all of the characters aren’t very dynamic, the female characters are strong and independent, not simply ‘damsel in distresses’ waiting for their savior. A perfect example is the relationship between Gaines’ daughter and the two boys she is trying to survive with. Gaines’ daughter uses knowledge from her father to contribute to the survival of the group and takes on a leading role.

“The Earth will literally crack and you will feel it on the East Coast.”

In conclusion, this is by no means a bad film. In fact, I had a good time watching it. San Andreas served its purpose as an action packed summer blockbuster that is supposed to entertain. However, besides this fact, San Andreas really has nothing else going for it. The characters are cliché and it feels like San Andreas has nothing to separate it from every other disaster film.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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