San Andreas

An unsurprising disappointment!


San Andreas

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandria Doddario
Directed by: Brad Peyton

Consensus: 1 Star
But Why?


Rated

PG-13

Starring

Dwayne Johnson
Carla Gugino
Alexandra Doddario
Ioan Grufudd
Archie Panjabi
Paul Giamatti

Written by

Carlton Cuse
Andre Fabrizio
Jeremy Passmore

Directed by

Brad Peyton


What to Expect

I can’t even begin to say how little I expected of San Andreas.

But then, the reason I felt like this about the film was primarily how emotionally attached it seemed with 2012 in many places. Not that that’s a bad thing, but then again – every disaster film now looks like a template, with (an otherwise badly acted) Into the Storm, released last year (incidentally by Warner Bros.) being the only tolerable one of the lot.

Add to that the addition of Brad Peyton, whose credits include Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and Journey 2, and you’re pretty sure you know how much you are to expect from a project like this.

Funny, because even though there’s nothing to expect; you have absolutely no control over some bias. For me, it was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and how he weirdly manages some personality into his largely one-note roles. He’s an extremely tolerable actor, and that was precisely the reason I decided to throw it all in the bin and go for the screening.

Oh well. Throwing it all in doesn’t make a difference now does it?

What’s it About?

LA Fire Department rescue-helicopter pilot Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson; Furious 7) finds out about an earthquake that will destroy San Francisco majorly, and – with his ex-wife – travels there to save their estranged daughter Blake (Alexandria Doddario; Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief).

All the usual stuff happens in the movie too, you know – young love, mad-scientist, pained hero with a past which takes up forceful foreshadowing in one neat, exposition-driven conversation… everything.

What fun!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Badass swag yolo.

Badass swag yolo.

The movie sure has some extremely wonderful visual imagery, exemplified especially in wide, landscape shots of the aftermaths. There’s something quietly dramatic in witnessing the amount of destruction caused by said earthquakes, and cinematographer Steve Yedlin receives full marks for executing them in all their visual splendor. Add to that Andrew Lockington’s rather subdued music which supports many of the film’s silent scenes, and you’ve got the goods of the film locked in place.

It ends there, though.

This movie comes under what I usually call a “checklist film” – a film that takes on every single tried-and-tested trope off the list of Genre Film 101 and throws it in to make a financial success. Not that it’s a bad thing; everyone wants the money and recognition. And with the added star-power of Dwayne Johnson, there’s a lot of chances of it being a win at the box-office.

It does not, however, make any of these films any good. And San Andreas falls somewhere on the top of this rather dubious list. Checking off on every trope – estranged family, the idiot new guy in the ex-wife’s life, skepticism shown in predictions, that over-smart journalist and her extremely obnoxious camera guy, and of course, things falling everywhere. Now I’m not accusing the film for looking creepily like 2012, but it does creepily look a LOT like it.

And The Day after Tomorrow. And basically every other disaster movie and disaster-movie trope ever.

Shame.

To Perform or Not to Perform

The struggle is real, bro!

The struggle is real, bro!

Dwayne Johnson is a natural in most scenes, with his persona doing most of the talking. We have, however, seen him with better emotional dynamics in a few other films. The lack of emotions is given ample backing by Carla Gugino, who’s back with Johnson after Faster and Race to Witch Mountain, and plays her role rather confidently. Paul Giamatti is extremely and shamefully underutilized. Alexandria Daddario’s spunk saves her rather one-note character. Hugo Johnstone-Burt is good-guy-who-falls-for-the-daughter-101; that’s kinda all. Ioan Gruffudd is yet another disappointingly one-note addition to the list of supporting actors, including the extremely talented Archie Panjabi, who is shockingly wasted.

Worth it?

San Andreas is the kind of overconfident box-office product that thinks it’s got itself where it wants to be, by throwing literally every single cliche the humans have ever created for the specific type this film’s trying to fit in with. And while the chances to set the cash registers ringing are quite decent – what with Johnson being a major trump card in the process of it all – the biggest problem with this film is that it just doesn’t want to be anything. For that alone, the whole premise – and its exhaustingly tiring outcome – feels like nothing emotionally to you, despite the events in this film calling out for some empathy, or – at the very least – sympathy.

And while some of you might most definitely like it just because it’s got all the elements you’ve wanted in a film, the movie unfortunately ends up being an extremely degenerative form of disaster-porn.

In short – and to say the least – San Andreas is an unsurprising disappointment.

Consensus: 1 Star
But why?
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

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Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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What to Expect

I can’t even begin to say how little I expected of San Andreas.

But then, the reason I felt like this about the film was primarily how emotionally attached it seemed with 2012 in many places. Not that that’s a bad thing, but then again – every disaster film now looks like a template, with (an otherwise badly acted) Into the Storm, released last year (incidentally by Warner Bros.) being the only tolerable one of the lot.

Add to that the addition of Brad Peyton, whose credits include Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and Journey 2, and you’re pretty sure you know how much you are to expect from a project like this.

Funny, because even though there’s nothing to expect; you have absolutely no control over some bias. For me, it was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and how he weirdly manages some personality into his largely one-note roles. He’s an extremely tolerable actor, and that was precisely the reason I decided to throw it all in the bin and go for the screening.

Oh well. Throwing it all in doesn’t make a difference now does it?

What’s it About?

LA Fire Department rescue-helicopter pilot Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson; Furious 7) finds out about an earthquake that will destroy San Francisco majorly, and – with his ex-wife – travels there to save their estranged daughter Blake (Alexandria Doddario; Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief).

All the usual stuff happens in the movie too, you know – young love, mad-scientist, pained hero with a past which takes up forceful foreshadowing in one neat, exposition-driven conversation… everything.

What fun!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The movie sure has some extremely wonderful visual imagery, exemplified especially in wide, landscape shots of the aftermaths. There’s something quietly dramatic in witnessing the amount of destruction caused by said earthquakes, and cinematographer Steve Yedlin receives full marks for executing them in all their visual splendor. Add to that Andrew Lockington’s rather subdued music which supports many of the film’s silent scenes, and you’ve got the goods of the film locked in place.

It ends there, though.

This movie comes under what I usually call a “checklist film” – a film that takes on every single tried-and-tested trope off the list of Genre Film 101 and throws it in to make a financial success. Not that it’s a bad thing; everyone wants the money and recognition. And with the added star-power of Dwayne Johnson, there’s a lot of chances of it being a win at the box-office.

It does not, however, make any of these films any good. And San Andreas falls somewhere on the top of this rather dubious list. Checking off on every trope – estranged family, the idiot new guy in the ex-wife’s life, skepticism shown in predictions, that over-smart journalist and her extremely obnoxious camera guy, and of course, things falling everywhere. Now I’m not accusing the film for looking creepily like 2012, but it does creepily look a LOT like it.

And The Day after Tomorrow. And basically every other disaster movie and disaster-movie trope ever.

Shame.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Dwayne Johnson is a natural in most scenes, with his persona doing most of the talking. We have, however, seen him with better emotional dynamics in a few other films. The lack of emotions is given ample backing by Carla Gugino, who’s back with Johnson after Faster and Race to Witch Mountain, and plays her role rather confidently. Paul Giamatti is extremely and shamefully underutilized. Alexandria Daddario’s spunk saves her rather one-note character. Hugo Johnstone-Burt is good-guy-who-falls-for-the-daughter-101; that’s kinda all. Ioan Gruffudd is yet another disappointingly one-note addition to the list of supporting actors, including the extremely talented Archie Panjabi, who is shockingly wasted.

Worth it?

San Andreas is the kind of overconfident box-office product that thinks it’s got itself where it wants to be, by throwing literally every single cliche the humans have ever created for the specific type this film’s trying to fit in with. And while the chances to set the cash registers ringing are quite decent – what with Johnson being a major trump card in the process of it all – the biggest problem with this film is that it just doesn’t want to be anything. For that alone, the whole premise – and its exhaustingly tiring outcome – feels like nothing emotionally to you, despite the events in this film calling out for some empathy, or – at the very least – sympathy.

And while some of you might most definitely like it just because it’s got all the elements you’ve wanted in a film, the movie unfortunately ends up being an extremely degenerative form of disaster-porn.

In short – and to say the least – San Andreas is an unsurprising disappointment.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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