[Hannah Bicknell | Contributing Writer]
Put simply: San Andreas is the perfect natural disaster movie.
Unlike other disaster movies that tend to focus on a singular catastrophic event, director Ben Peyton felt it was necessary to hand us a triple whammy of earthquakes, enough to concertina skyscrapers and turn high-rise buildings into dust particles. THEN, just when you think that it’s all over, a tsunami comes in and sweeps it all away as though Mother Nature wanted to help with the cleaning up.
Now, I realise that this might seem as though the movie is 114 minutes of unyielding CGI magic, but in an attempt to rid the reviews of sceptics and people claiming the movie was OTT, the producers brought in top seismologists to challenge the plausibility of the script and the experts unanimously agreed that what happens on screen could, in fact, happen in reality. But despite the staggeringly realistic special effects that will leave you in a state of utter shock…San Andreas is not just about a disaster. It’s about total obliteration.
As the name suggests, the film is set on the tectonic fault line that runs through most of California. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson plays Ray Gaines, a Los Angeles Fire Department search & rescue helicopter pilot, whose task is almost as enormous as him. Using whatever means necessary and whatever he can get his hands on…speed boats, airplanes, SUV’s, the list goes on; Ray must fight his way through the chaos in time to save his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) and daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Together, they must dodge collapsing cranes and roads that crumble beneath their feet. Some of the visual effects are done so brilliantly they are gasp-inducing – like when the tsunami ploughs an enormous cargo ship straight into the Golden Gate Bridge, and the camera does a bird’s-eye-view so as to absorb the full calamity of it all.
As I found myself curled up into a ball on the cinema chair, pondering the likelihood of getting a hold of a graphene box to lock myself in, I clocked on to how disappointing the lines of the movie actually were. It has to be said that the only letdown was the writers’ half-hearted attempt at comedy as the odd cheesy one liner reared its ugly head more than once – “It’s been a long time since I got you to second base” chuckled ‘The Rock’ as he and Gugino stood on a baseball pitch with the world collapsing around them. – Oh dear Peyton. Oh dear.
Having said that though, from the opening scene, you become so invested in the multitude of back stories and action. This, coupled with the amazing soundtrack, jam packed with singles from artists such as Taylor Swift and Sia, will most likely see you cheer and clap as much as the movie sets you up to – which at the end of the day initially makes up for the few lines that elicit horrible groans. So if you want to be shaken up and swept away by the glorious, giddy, wonder of it all then San Andreas is a must see!