San Andreas – A Good Hollywood Disaster

Here comes the “Rock” avoiding all types of obstacles and dangers. Before this film is over, he has confronted every possible element on Earth, and somehow, there’s hardly a scratch on him or any of his relatives. This is quite remarkable when you recall that he has flown through fire, falling debris, somehow managed to avoid being crushed by one titanic tsunami, and that doesn’t include the final part of the film when he’s trapped underwater.

San Andreas

San Andreas

If anyone’s the star of “San Andreas”, it’s not the spectacular special effects, but the endurance of this human being who will go through anything to save his relatives. Of course, his is not the typical family. He has previous trauma and tragedies of his own, before the big “ones” hit. Because of some personal loss and lack of communication, he is faced with divorce, but his his ties are still strong, and there’s somehow room for hope in the middle of all these disasters. To start, we meet a couple of Cal Tech Scientists, who have finally figured out a way to predict the arrival of a big earthquake. They test this device near Las Vegas, only to find out the device works, very well, as the first monster earthquake strikes Hoover Dam, giving us a preview of what a multi-million dollar production can give you when armed with the latest CGI technology and some terrific sound effects. Not having enough time to catch out breath, and we have already lost a human life and some impressive modern engineering landmarks. Soon, the remaining scientist realizes that the tremor in Nevada is just a precursor of what could be one of the worst earthquakes in history.If his calculations are correct, a huge portion of California will go through drastic changes. Once the big one hits, we see entire sections of Los Angeles crumbling, disintegrating, exploding, being enveloped by fire, etc., etc. This is all backdrop for the personal drama the “Rock” and his family are going through. His wife is trapped in a fancy restaurant at the top of a Los Angeles building. His daughter has gone through San Francisco and will soon face some spectacular problems herself, as this other metropolis will, if it’s possible endure an even worse series of catastrophes than Los Angeles, including one monster tsunami and quakes that will probably be felt in the Eastern seaboard. The audience will witness falling glass, young stars being threatened by concrete blocks, electric cables, gaping holes, and every imaginable deadly possibility our screenwriters can come up with. It gets to the point when it just becomes a little too unbelievable. It’s always fun to watch some creative special effects, but we need time to recover in between showcases, and “San Andreas” gives you very little time to breathe. Unlike the recent “Mad Max” entry, this one is a bit thin and scattered all over the place. It feels like the director is not really in control of his technology and his toys. Ridley Scott and George Miller seem to be handle both technology and drama together and separately. Here we might as well be watching a kid, as he records, the disaster, and it keeps being interrupted by the obligatory and obtrusive acting interludes. One is bound to have a good time if one is willing to believe the rather impossible situations on the screen. Oh yes, we can see the impact and tragedies which occur during and after the disaster, but we also know that it couldn’t all happen at the same time.

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