Barton’s Movie Reviews – SAN ANDREAS

San Andreas sees Mother Nature show just how destructive she can be and Dwayne Johnson proving that he is not the man she wants to pick a fight with. As expected, San Andreas is a huge disaster movie that delivers plenty of spectacle but could it surprise me by actually being a good film?

When an enormous earthquake strikes on the San Andreas Fault, the effects are felt throughout California with cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco both laid to waste by the natural disaster.

Chief Raymond Gaines (Dwayne Johnson), a Los Angeles rescue-helicopter pilot with over 600 rescues, must brave the carnage and attempt to rescue both his ex-wife, Emma (Carla Gugino) in Los Angeles, and their daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario) in San Francisco.

As I have already mentioned, San Andreas delivers spectacle in spades. Both the earthquakes and even a tsunami tear through the cities, causing catastrophic damage and it is all brought to life through state-of-the-art special effects that will keep you well and truly pinned to your seat.

The tsunami sequence is devastating and effective, as I couldn’t watch it without memories of footage from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that caused so much chaos, coming back into mind.

Disaster movies like San Andreas quite often become huge CGI fests that totally ignore the human element of their story. While San Andreas cannot be accused of this, its characters and their stories are pretty badly written, meaning we end up with forced moments of exposition and jokes that don’t fit with the tone of the film.

Yeah you all know which particular joke I am referring to when you see the film.

The performances are pretty average and the actors really are not helped by some of the cringeworthy lines they are fed by Carlton Cuse. Dwayne Johnson once again proves he has the charisma to carry a film and rising star Alexandra Daddario certainly doesn’t just play the damsel in distress.

My favourite character and performance had to be that of the ever reliable Paul Giamatti as Lawrence, a scientist who has been working for years on a method to predict earthquakes. He was the only character that seemed to treat the natural disasters with appropriate degrees of seriousness throughout.

San Andreas is definitely worth a trip to the cinema just to see it on the big screen but unfortunately I can’t really say that it’s a good film. One thing that is for sure though is that San Andreas is certainly a better watch than 2012.

Verdict: ★★½

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