AMC Century City 15
10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles
Cost: $14.29 for a 3D matinee showing
Released 2015 (UK)
American, in English
Director - Brad Peyton
Stars - Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Giamatti
When a “swarm” of large earthquakes hits California, rescue pilot Ray (Johnson) struggles to save both his daughter Blake (Daddario) and his estranged wife Emma (Gugino). Giamatti co-stars as Cal Tech seismologist Lawrence.
Lots of violence; a small amount of blue language.
Ioan Gruffudd (as Emma’s boyfriend Daniel) uses an American accent so atrocious it’s distracting. Did you ever see that Buffy episode where Spike, who’s British, pretends to be American and his accent is ridiculous? That’s exactly how Daniel sounded. (On the bright side, I have newfound respect for the accent work of James Marsters, who played Spike and is American.)
Ray is a total Mary Sue. He can fly a helicopter! And an airplane! He knows how to tandem parachute! He can hotwire a car! Seriously, there was nothing he couldn’t do and he was never wrong, not once, the whole film.
The 3D was terrible. I wish I’d seen it in 2D because it added absolutely nothing to it.
I liked that the violence wasn’t, for the most part, gory. I’m not opposed to gore per se, but it was kind of nice to watch a violent film without spending any of it cringing. Virtually none of the death was even in-your-face.
It was refreshing that neither of the women were damsels in distress. Not only did they get themselves out of several jams, they occasionally saved the men as well. Except for Ray, obviously. Ray didn’t need any saving.
It has absolutely everything you’re looking for in a disaster movie, including violence, daring rescues, fudging of physics, pseudoscience, the sniveling weasel/coward who gets his comeuppance, lots of cleavage/wet, clingy clothes, romance, and a family in turmoil that’s united by the trauma. Really, the only thing it was missing was the snappy one-liners (well, there was at least one).
Real talk here. This movie is as cliche as it gets. There’s nothing new or groundbreaking in it. It’s not going to move you. Within a week, you’ll probably forget you ever watched it. But isn’t that the point? Sometimes you just need a little mindless escapism. I happen to love disaster movies. I love them in the same way that I love rom coms. I know how they’re going to turn out. Bad stuff happens. Danger, destruction, drama, death. Then, in the end, the hero (and most likely his/her loved ones) make it out safely and live happily ever after. What’s not to like about that?
So I have to admit that I enjoyed “San Andreas” tremendously. Objectively, I recognize that it’s not a good film. However, it is a good disaster film. I found it very satisfying.*
I give it 4 stars.
About AMC Century City 15:
I saw one movie there before, on one of the smaller screens, and had a good experience. This time, I was in one of the larger rooms on opening day of a big action film, so I had a great experience. The seats are not only large, comfortable, and reclining, they’re rumble chairs! That was a nice surprise. Since it’s in a mall, the parking is plentiful, although you have to pay for it and it can get a little expensive. The theater has validation machines, but they’re only on one floor (the bottom) and the ticket taker gave me the third degree when I came down from the top floor and asked to validate my parking ticket, which was slightly annoying but I understand it’s his job. Since I was there for less than 3 hours, my parking was free, but if you’re there longer than 3, you have to pay even with validation.
*In case you’re wondering, I don’t love ALL disaster films. I’ve seen many bad ones. “The Day After Tomorrow” comes immediately to mind. “The Core” - holy crap, that movie is an abomination. “Volcano,” ugh, although it was so ridiculous it made me laugh. You can definitely screw up this genre.