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Review: San Andreas

We review San Andreas, one of the biggest disaster movies ever seen

Review: San Andreas

Dwayne Johnson in San Andreas

Lukas Hamilton and Ryan Braier-Lorimer

W!ZARD News Author

San Andreas, marks the return of the partnership of director Brad Peyton and producer Beau Flynn who last worked together on the global hit Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, along with the star of the movie, Dwayne Johnson. A big budget action thriller, it sees Johnson’s character, Ray, attempting to reconnect with his estranged wife, Emma (Carla Gugino) after the tragic death of their youngest daughter, while also save their eldest daughter (Alexandra Daddario), along with a pair of gormless English brothers (Hugo Johnson-Burt and Art Parkinson) that she picks up along the way, from the largest earthquakes in recorded history as they tears through Los Angeles and up to San Francisco.

The films strengths lie in its impressive use of CGI to create a scene of widespread destruction that the catastrophic earthquakes create. The film certainly utilizes the 3D technology as you take in the more than 1300 visual effects, which includes an impressive collapse of a fictional Downtown Los Angeles restaurant as Ray tries to save Emma on its roof. The films use of creative license to some of the elements of this real world threat helps to (as the production notes state) achieve “a heightened sense of action and drama.” Another element that aids the film is the performances of Johnson, Gugino and Daddario in their creation of a believable family, which helps you to care for the well being of this family in crisis. Johnson, however, particularly shines as Ray, credible in both his role as an action star, a persona that his wisecracking helps to solidify (if the stunts weren’t enough evidence). Also, Johnson brings a sense of not taking himself too seriously, a quality, which The Rock was able to also show us in previous films such as Journey 2, as well as the less successful Pain and Gain.

However, the film falls short of being a great action movie. A few of the characters, most notably Paul Giamatti as Dr. Lawrence Hayes (the seismologist that predicts the earthquakes) and Ioan Gruffuard as Daniel Riddick (Emma’s new millionaire partner) fall victim to thin character development and sometimes laughably bad dialogue that even these good actors are unable to flesh out. Especially in the case of Giamatti, you feel that he could have benefited from more screen time than he gets. In addition to this, the film is filled with unconvincing coincidences as well as many very “Hollywood” clichés.

San Andreas is everything that you would expect from a big budget Hollywood disaster movie. The visual stunning special effects and solid performances from a majority of the cast make for an all around enjoyable movie experience. If you are in the mood for a typical Dwayne Johnson action movie and are not very bothered with realism or put off by cliché, then this is definitely worth a watch.

San Andreas is out on the 28th May in both 2D and 3D.

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