San Andreas Review

So I watched San Andreas…

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I really wasn’t looking forward to this movie. The trailer didn’t excite me and I thought this movie was just going to be another run-of-the-mill disaster movie and disaster movies don’t really do it for but this movie shocked me with how good it is.

Okay, basic plot: When a huge earthquake hits San Francisco, Ray Gaines (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department has to traverse the dangers of the wrecked city to find his daughter and bring her and his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) to safety.

Art Parkinson, Alexandra Daddario and Hugo Johnstone-Burt are the real stars of this movie
Art Parkinson, Alexandra Daddario and Hugo Johnstone-Burt are the real stars of this movie

Now I know Dwayne Johnson’s name gets top-billing on this movie’s poster and he’s the reason most people are going to watch this movie (he certainly was the reason I did); but I feel the main star of this movie is Alexandra Daddario. She plays Ray’s daughter – Blake – and puts in a great performance. The movie is split between Ray and his wife, Emma, trying to find their daughter in the aftermath of the deadly quake and Blake trying to survive the quake. It sounds very similar to The Day After Tomorrow but I felt the characters in this movie were much more proactive.

San Andreas Carla Gugino

One of my main problems with disaster movies is I never really feel connected to the characters and, therefore, whatever grand, wrathful acts of nature happen around them, I don’t really care. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem in San Andreas. I was so emotionally invested in these characters. I feared for them, celebrated with them and cried with them. This movie made me a lot more emotional than I expected. It was a rollercoaster ride, every obstacle the characters faced hit me, I felt involved in this story.

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Now while my emotional investment is largely due to the actors and their superb work; I have to tip my hat to this movie’s director – Brad Peyton. He does such a great job showcasing the destruction and terror in this movie. His choice of camera angles and scope is inspired. He does use some shaky-cam at times but it really adds to the experience of the film because it makes you feel like you’re right there in the centre of the action. I loved how personal the director kept this story. An entire city is being destroyed, buildings are being razed, people are losing their lives but Peyton keeps the story focused on our characters. They move the plot forward and because of this focused storytelling, the monumental action happening around them means so much more.

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The only real problem I had with this movie was the CGI. It’s everywhere in this movie but it’s understandable. You can’t bring the magnitude and scale of the destruction necessary in this movie to life without a ton of CGI. It could have been better in some places but it wasn’t a major issue for me.

I love when a movie surprises me and is a better watch than I expected. Very few movies have engaged me, excited me and thrilled me as much as this movie. It’s a triumph and doesn’t just deserve the depth and scale of a cinema – it demands it! This movie needs to be seen on a big screen! 8/10

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