Is it weird that we are so fascinated with disaster? Disaster movies have proven to be popular, and that’s probably why Hollywood is willing to produce these films, all the more so now, with the uprising of amazing CGI. San Andreas is the latest offering in this genre, and although some moments are tense and entertaining, there are numerous ‘faults’.
Director Brad Peyton was very clear at the outset that he wanted the cast to perform a lot of the stunts themselves, he wanted us, the audience, to believe that The Rock is actually doing these crazy things. Turns out the entire cast was more than willing to rise up to the task of performing a lot of their stunts, which I am sure caused their insurance premiums to skyrocket, but that’s another story. Perhaps the opening scene stand out to me, as being one of the more realistic, but not necessarily believable stunts. What I mean is that the ‘chopper’ (imagine I just said that in The Arnie accent) looks real, and that the rescue mission is actually happening, its filmed realistically, the actual events aren’t believable themselves. Then again, we go to the cinema to be dazed, don’t we?
In fact a lot of the film was fun and entertaining, if you can call watching the state of California being destroyed by a super earthquake and accompanying tsunami fun and entertaining! It’s got it’s moments of intensity and mayhem, but the latter half of the film falls flat. It starts to get even more ridiculous and the script feels really weak, even though you can tell the cast is really trying to deliver a convincing performance.
The characters seem distant and superficial and as such they feel detached from us. The story that we follow seems non-important because the destruction is the main star of this film, which is a shame, because I think the real reason why we enjoy a disaster film is that we want to see the fight for survival. Although the characters do fight to survive, a lot of the time we forget who they actually are, just because we get dazzled with amazing scenes of collapse. Ultimately the major fault with San Andreas is the predictable nature of the characters we follow.
Technically speaking San Andreas gets some credit. I am sure my ears got some sort of damage, because of how insanely loud the cinema was, plus you get the 4D feel to this film, for free, because your chair will vibrate violently in some scenes. For this I am glad that we managed to catch this one on the big screen, and I don’t think a smaller screen could do justice to some of the chaos.
This is the second time in a big budget film, this year, that I hear the lines, “what now?” Jurassic World being the first. The Rock replies, “Now, we rebuild.” Perhaps this film is a warning to what might happen one day? Surely there are better ways to prepare for an event of this magnitude than watching San Andreas…
We can hardly call this disaster film a total disaster, although it is disastrous.
TRIVIA COOKIE: We see Californian being completely torn to bits but a lot of this movie was filmed in Northern Australia.