San Andreas (2015)

July 6, 2016

San Andreas is a disaster film through-and-through. How do I categorize a disaster film? There are a few things and San Andreas hits all the right bullet points:

Dwayne Johnson can make any movie watchable, he is quite the leading man. Without Johnson, San Andreas would have been unbearable. Carla Gugino, who is a great actresss, is completely wasted in this film. Her character is uneven -- a ditz who is strong willed and willing to kick ass, but at the same time is squeamish about doing things like jumping out of airplanes. Paul Giamatti, another great actor, does what he can to sell his tiny part. Screaming for people to "take cover" and to not stand in doorways. He is the information spout for the film giving us information about earthquakes and the Richter scale. Alexandra Daddario and the two British blokes do what they can -- running and screaming and generally acting scared. Ioan Guffudd embraces his smarmy cowardly rich man role.

Most everything in the film is predictable. Soon-to-be-divorced? Really? Would take make for a happy ending? Nope. Parents separated from child? Will they get back together? Would it be a happy ending if they didn't? Budding love story, will the relationship last? Oh c'mon! And there can only be one thing that happens to smarmy cowardly rich men. Disaster films always end on a happy note, even if millions have died throughout the running time of the film. And disaster films always end on a note of hope, because unfurling an American flag is the symbol of hope in movies.

San Andreas has some genuinely exciting moments and some special effects that made my jaw drop. Those things plus Dwayne Johnson are enough to make the bad things in San Andreas forgettable during its running time. This movie is fun to watch, but expectations must be set low, brains must be turned off.

The Blu-ray has a pristine picture, so good in fact that the flaws in the special effects become blatantly obvious. The sound is a Dolby Atmos mix, but I only got to hear it as Dolby TrueHD because my receiver does not support Dolby Atmos. The sound is tremendous on the Blu-ray with some serious audio punch during the action sequences. During the quiet moments, all speakers are used nicely with great effect.

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