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San Andreas is a visual assault on the eyes and ears for its entire 112 minutes running time that leaves you thinking the disaster was in making the film. Unless of course its genius is the creation of a new genre:
Ray (Dwayne Johnson) appears on screen piloting a helicopter. What a hero we are meant to think. Do we actually think that or, in my case, maybe if I too went to the gym every day could I have abs like his? When his colleague encounters trouble trying to rescue a girl trapped in a car, after a fall that would have killed mere mortals but in San Andreas apparently we are in the realm of titans, there he goes our Ray gliding deftly down the rope to save the day. However, the fun is just beginning – the seismologist (Paul Giamatti) and his colleague Kim (Will Yun Lee) discover that there are significant tremors and quakes happening in the Nevada Valley, but wait, there are no seismic plates there. How is this possible? Forget that, we’re quaking. It’s happening. This is not a rehearsal. The rest of the film is devoted to, wait for it have I said too much, quakes. Whilst the city is burning and crumbling below from all the quakes, Ray just commandeers a helicopter so he can go and rescue his wife, Emma (Carla Gugino). Then, after rescuing her, look for Kylie Minogue’s 2 minutes on screen, he utters those immortal words: “we’re going to get out daughter”. I felt the script lacked a “hell yeah” response at that point.
The sub-plot of the love story between Ray’s daughter Blake ( Alexandra Daddario) and Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) is plain comical – those stolen looks, blushing and when the inevitable happens the preview audience roared with laughter.
The preview was shown in 3D. Although, there’s talk of it to be shown in real 3D. It certainly felt as if the room was shaking and the noise. My ears were ringing for a while after exiting the cinema. Yet against all of this I did think about the recent, very real human tragedy suffered in the earthquakes in Nepal. The devastation in the film and the speed at which it all takes place sort of gave a minuscule fraction of an idea of what people in Nepal went through.
I like Dwayne Johnson and think his turn in Hercules was thoughtful and showed that he could muster some acting range. This is, in my opinion, the disaster movie for the x box generation and for a lot of the movie I felt as if I was in a video game except I wasn’t weaving the helicopter between the falling buildings. Having said all that, if you consider this a disaster comedy, even though it doesn’t consider itself to be a spoof like the 1970s classic Airplane! , I think it is vastly enjoyable. The dialogue is just so ridiculous, but with a few beers and popcorn it would be a riotously funny night out.
San Andreas opens in cinemas across the UK from 28 May with a running time of 114 minutes and certificate 12A.