Wednesday, June 3, 2015

San Andreas Review

It's the summer. Sometimes during the summer you have to turn off your brain, grab a bucket of popcorn, and go watch the big dumb blockbusters with the fancy effects just so that you can be entertained for a couple of hours. San Andreas didn't look like the best movie of the summer and the reviews weren't the best, but I often enjoy disaster flicks more than some do, so I didn't worry about the reviews on this. I just wanted to go have a fun time. And I am a huge fan of Dwayne Johnson, so this seemed like a win/win. However, I did decide to see Aloha before I saw this movie because that was one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Bad mistake. That movie was a mess. I should've seen this one. However, I'm actually glad I waited a few days on this one just because I learned of a deal that a new local theater in my area has where you can see a movie in 3D IMAX all day Tuesday for just $5. I normally don't see movies in 3D IMAX just because I don't like paying upwards of $15 for a movie ticket, but for that price I am totally down! And with this movie, holy fetching cow that was a treat! Yes, I had a lot of fun with San Andreas. So ignore the bad reviews on this movie and just go have a fun time watching California get destroyed.

This movie does have a plot. But that plot isn't that important. Quite honestly, it's kind of a ridiculous plot, which is why I say it's important to turn off your brain when you go see this movie because if you start to think about all the logistics behind everything, you're going to find a whole lot of issues with everything and thus you'll miss the whole point of the movie, which is to watch California get destroyed by earthquakes. Dwayne Johnson is the star and he plays a fire and rescue guy. The story revolved around him and his family. For reasons explained later in the movie, they are going through a divorce and his wife has a new boyfriend and Dwayne Johnson is wanting to spend some time with his daughter, and yada yada ya. Earthquakes! They interrupt everything. Given his job, Dwayne Johnson is called to work these earthquakes start to hit and so he flies a helicopter to save people and suddenly the earthquakes keep getting bigger and bigger and more frequent to the point where like all of California from Los Angeles to San Francisco is in trouble because they are experiencing the worst earthquake in recorded history. Somehow Dwayne Johnson's family gets spread out around California and being that everyone is in trouble, he decides that he is going to focus on saving his family. Because that's what Dwayne Johnson does. He saves people.

Like I said, in a movie like this, a great story that makes complete sense isn't a requirement, but if your story is a complete mess and your characters are really stupid and annoying, then that is actually a problem. I do need a little more than fancy effects to be entertained and thankfully this movie gives that to me. Is this a well-written story with a perfect script that makes complete sense? No. Is it serviceable? Yes. And the characters? They are also just fine. Personally I really loved Dwayne Johnson in this. He's just a very likable guy with a lot of charisma and like he does with most of his recent movies, he carries this movie on his back and makes you like it. Did I care about his wife? No. Did I care about his wife's stupid boyfriend? Absolutely not. Did I care about his daughter? Uh, yes actually. She was very pleasing to the eyes, but not to a distracting point as she's not overly sexualized like some females are. And she wasn't a damsel in distress, which I was glad of. Just a good solid female character played by a good actress. Did I care about her boy thing that she meets? Not really. What about boy thing's hilarious little brother. Sure. He was fun. Was there a point in the movie where I felt like any of the main characters were in serious peril? No actually. Which was a problem given that they were experiencing the biggest recorded earthquake in history. Why am I talking about all of this? I don't know. It doesn't really matter. But the point is that the movie around the disaster is serviceable, which is important.

But now onto the good stuff. The earthquakes. Holy. Freaking. Cow. Once we finally get through the introduction and to the earthquakes this movie got epic. Would all these super strong earthquakes ever hit California to this degree? I highly doubt it. But like I said, that doesn't matter. I hope I've driven that through your head enough because the special effects in this movie are unbelievably fantastic. Seriously. Huge props to the whole special effects team in this movie. The cinematography in general was just fantastic. Lots of great shots, beautiful visuals, perfect lighting, etc. Visually stunning. It also had a pretty good balance to it. Some disaster movies spend way too much time setting things up for the disaster and thus when the disaster happens, there's not enough screen time to make the disaster epic. That's not really an issue here. Sure there were moments where I wanted less family drama and more earthquakes, but whenever I started to feel that way, it didn't take long for them to get back to the earthquakes, so I was pleased. The score in this is also pretty darn epic, which combined with the stunning  visuals made the IMAX experience amazing. The 3D wasn't really super impressive, but this is definitely worth seeing in IMAX. If you don't want to spend the money for an IMAX ticket and you don't have the cheap IMAX ticket option that I do, I'm assuming a regular theater is also good, but this is definitely a movie that was made for IMAX so take that chance if you can.

Overall, I know that many critics have given this movie a really hard time and when I read their reviews, I can't actually argue against the points they make, but what I can say is that you really have to go into this movie with the right frame of mind. This is a crowd-pleasing, popcorn blockbuster. The point of this movie is to watch the stunning visuals and be super entertained with the epic destruction of California. If you just turn off your brain and try to enjoy that aspect of the movie, I really think you are going to be immensely entertained. I was. If you spend too much time thinking about the plot or the script or some of the things the characters do, then you need to stop yourself before you ruin your experience because there are a lot of problems in those aspects of the movie, but the actual destruction scenes are so good that it makes up for it. But the rest of it is serviceable. The story is fine. Dwayne Johnson is great as always. The girl who plays his daughter, Alexandra Daddario, is good as well. The rest of the of characters I didn't really care for, but no one bothered me. But it's whatever. I went it in simply wanting to have fun with it and I did, so I am going to unashamedly give this movie an 8/10.

1 comment:

  1. Agree. San Andreas is a terrific disaster movie. Very entertaining.