Review by Anthony Tyson 6/11/15
It doesn't even matter how cheesy this movie looked in the trailers, I’ll watch a film with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson any day. With that said, I have also learned that ‘The Rock’ can’t save every movie however, as last year’s ‘Hercules’ was practically impossible to bear. The question on my mind when I went to see ‘San Andreas’ was, “Is this a movie starring Dwayne Johnson, or is this Dwayne Johnson and that’s it?” The answer is kind of a bit of both.
San Andreas' Plot largely follows Johnson's character 'Ray', and his pursuit to reassemble and save his family. It's a very simple and unoriginal trope, but it works for the most part. The only problem that arose from it, was due to 'Ray' and his wife 'Emma'(played by Carla Gugino). One of the subplots is their relationship, as at the beginning they start out as recently divorced. Along the course of the movie, their relationship (as you might have guessed) gets fixed. It really detracts from the movie, and is completely unessential to the plot. If they removed that whole subplot, the movie would have been at a much more bearable pace; not to mention also getting rid of the awful one liners. The worst of which was when Johnson's character tandem jumps out of a plane with his wife, and as they parachute down they land on a baseball field. Its at this point when the writers decided to have Dwayne Johnson say, "It's been a while since I've gotten you to second base".
Once you get over the slightly unoriginal story, and distracting "will they, wont they" subplot; the movie isn't half bad. As it is a disaster movie, the main goal is to throw an audience in the middle of chaos created by mother nature; as well as show the destructive power she possesses. The CGI in this film is fairly solid, as watching all of these buildings fall over and crumble is Intense. The actors for the most part all solid as far as this type of movie goes, and I actually thought the daughter(played by Alexander Daddario) wasn't too annoying. Her love interest 'Ben' (Hugo Johnston-Burt) wasn't too bad either, and their relationship seamed fairly believable. 'Ben's' brother 'Ollie' was actually pretty darn hilarious, and when I realized it was the same young actor who plays the brother of 'Bran Stark' in game of thrones, I let out a bit of a joyful smile.
Another fortunate plus to the movie, was Paul Giamatti. I didn't always get much of the science he talks about in the film, but he at least is pretty believable as the seismologist 'Lawrence'. He really helped keep the pace of the movie up, and his subplot with a reporter named 'Serena' provided some much needed explanation of the events occurring on screen. The fact that I actually forgot for a moment that he played the awful 'Rhino' character in the last' Spider-man' movie, was an impressive feat itself.
At the end of the day, 'San Andreas' is a modicum of success: not a great movie, but not entirely shit either. The Rock is always fun to watch, and its got some pretty decent visuals to boot.
Worth a rental if you have some fun friends to watch with, or (for the ladies) if you like quick shots of The Rock flexing.