Wednesday, October 26, 2016

San Andreas

Last week I was visiting some friends out of town and when I arrived they were watching a documentary on earthquakes off Netflix. It was playing in the background while we visited and during it I just felt like blurting out, “this kind of makes me want to watch San Andreas again” and both my friends agreed too for being in the mood to witness The Rock kick an earthquake’s ass! San Andreas (trailer) hit last year in 2015 and is a perfect example of a popcorn summer blockbuster.

I am a sucker for over-the-top natural disaster flicks such as Deep Impact and Dante’s Peak being some past favorites of mine. San Andreas ups the ridiculous quotient to a new level, but since it features The Rock as an everyday, mega-jacked-up rescue helicopter pilot with a million dollar smile this earthquake has a foe ready to take it head on! Audiences worldwide agreed as San Andreas ended up being a worldwide box office success.

Of course it would not be a disaster movie without a disjointed family with a lot of history deciding to also come to a boil during this disaster that rocked Los Angeles all the way up to San Francisco. Dwayne Johnson is Raymond Gaines, a divorced father who already lost a daughter in a rafting accident and is trying to reconnect with his other daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario). Raymond’s ex-wife Emma, (Carla Gugino) complicates that by pressuring Raymond to hurry up and sign the divorce papers. One other primary character here is Dr. Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) who is a scientist at CalTech with the latest in earthquake prediction technology being on the cusp of forecasting the disaster that is about to transpire.

In order to appreciate this movie you just have to suspend disbelief and accept you are going to see a lot of crazy stunts and special effects that will definitely get you scratching your head. There are countless “yeah, right!” moments in this film, but once you just roll with them and embrace them you will be in for an awesome ride. If it were any other film trying to get away with this, odds are I would probably dismiss the film right away, but the unbelievable charismatic enigma that is The Rock makes it irresistibly difficult to do so that I cannot help but root for Raymond to overcome every obstacle the earthquake puts in his path so he can rescue and reunite his family!

The background family story is pretty forced and ugly to stomach, but while watching this I felt the producers felt this way too. I got the impression the filmmakers rectified this by hamming up all the campy family moments whenever possible that I could not help but share a million dollar smile with the Rock whenever they transpired, that went doubly so with his “second base” line being absolutely priceless in delivery. Trust me, you will know it when you see it, and only Rock can get away with corny moments like those and turn them into theatrical gold. The special effects and action scenes are top notch from beginning to end and you can tell the filmmakers spared no expense when it came to CG.

Actually, when watching the extras it was surprising the amount of effects that were practical and the filmmakers actually admitting to cutting corners on certain aspects of the film because a lot of their budget went to the pricey CG. I will give props to a certain action shot that was one continuous take for nearly five minutes when Emma gets caught in the earthquake while on the top floor of a skyscraper restaurant that had many intense moments. There is only a half hour of behind-the-scenes extras, but they are well worth watching as they break down these crazy scenes and how they looked shot in raw green screen footage and how they materialized on the silver screen. There is also a director’s commentary with Brad Peyton who does a commendable job for a solo commentary full of many production facts like not being allowed to shoot at the actual Hoover Dam, the filming process in Australlia and many shout outs to the cast members in major and minor roles.

San Andreas is the perfect movie to throw in on a rainy night to enjoy with your family and friends and a big bowl of popcorn. It makes full use of its $110 million budget, and with it raking in $474 million worldwide it came as no surprise a sequel was quickly greenlit and is due out in a year or two. I am eagerly anticipating its arrival and will be there day one with a bucket of popcorn by my side!

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Dirty Work
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Hercules: Reborn
Man of Steel
Marine 3 & 4
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Source Code
Star Trek I-XII
Take Me Home Tonight
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
Veronica Mars
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

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