Saturday, May 30, 2015

San Andreas - Movie Review

San Andreas is a film directed by Brad Peyton who's previous work includes Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. The movie stars Dwayne "The Rock Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Punjabi, Paul Giamatti, Will Yun Lee, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, and Art Parkinson.

The Story:
Ray (The Rock) is one of the leading search and rescue pilots in the state of California although, while skilled in the art of saving lives, has not done as well in his own personal life. Dealing with the loss of a daughter and a broken family has taken its toll although, when disaster strikes in the form of the biggest earthquake ever recorded in the United States, his sole mission becomes protecting those closest to him at any cost.

The Review:
My best way to describe this movie would be like this. Take the California portion of 2012, replace John Cusack with The Rock, and keep the focus right there. The special effects are just as dazzling, if not more so and the story is fairly similar with the lead actor dealing with family issues while the world is literally crashing in around him. With The Rock being bigger, faster, and stronger than Mr. Cusack, you would think there would be more opportunity for some big time action sequences although this is the one area where the movie really falls flat. Other than a couple moments here and there where he tears off a car door or kicks in some debris, he really doesn't do much more than drive trucks and fly helicopters so that was a little disappointing.

The story itself really revolves around Ray and his family which includes Emma and their daughter Blake, played by Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario respectively, who have all had a hard time trying to be a family ever since another daughter had been killed in a boating accident years earlier. As disaster is happening all around, Ray and Emma are thrown back together and they, of course head off to rescue Blake from falling buildings and tsunamis while she is actually doing her best to keep safe her new found love interest  Ben and his little brother Ollie (Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Art Parkinson). Yeah, this is ultimately an action movie with tons of eye popping and jaw dropping special effects, but director Brad Peyton really tries to keep the focus on the family and the emotional struggles they are going through.

While I have to say I enjoyed the movie as it is, I'm not sure if this was the right path to take as I had been hoping to see The Rock really get to do his thing with all the cities crumbling, cruise ships crashing, and earth opening up around every corner. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting any super hero level action, but he is The Rock after all so, if you're going to cast him, give him a role that suits his skill set. The rest of the cast is pretty solid with each filling their roles, and tank tops, quite nicely thank you very much (See above photo).

The Verdict:
San Andreas is a summer blockbuster popcorn movie that delivers most of what I wanted it to and I have to say I really enjoyed the end result. Sure, there are things to poke and prod at, but why bother. This is the type of movie you just sit back and enjoy with a big bucket of popcorn and your favorite beverage of choice. Definitely see it in a theater and do not wait for home video.

I did see the movie in 3D and, while the post conversion was really well done, I wasn't real convinced that it is required viewing so, if you're not really into the upgraded format, go ahead and see it in 2D. I have not seen it in IMAX and most likely won't be as the movie was not filmed with IMAX (or 3D) cameras and, for my Seattle readers, it is not showing on the Boeing screen at the Pacific Science Center. Why is this important? CLICK HERE


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