San Andreas: A Review

Art Parkinson, Alexandra Daddario and Hugo Johnstone-Burt in San Andreas.

San Andreas would have to be one of the best films I’ve seen all year (so far), up there with all of Marvel’s films in action sequences and CGI. San Andreas is also one of the best disaster films I’ve seen since The Day After Tomorrow and for me that’s saying a lot. Here’s why (warning: spoilers ahead):

Great casting.

I loved Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in this film, particularly because he was a ‘family man’ right from the get-go and went above and beyond, not only in protecting his family, but also as a rescue pilot. Yeah, sure he was tough, but he also had his vulnerabilities and wasn’t afraid to show them. He’d lost one of his daughters in a kayaking accident, never really gotten over it and felt like it was his fault. Subsequently he had this fear of losing his estranged wife, Emma (Carla Gugino) and remaining daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario).

I didn’t really have much respect for Emma until she delivered that kick-ass ‘I’m going to kill you’ speech to her boyfriend Daniel Riddick (Ioan Gruffud) and evolved into this no-nonsense, ‘let’s go and get our daughter’ mum. She really grew a backbone after that phone call and for me her best moment would have to have been when she drove the IRB through the window of Daniel’s building. Great thinking and a symbol of her severing her final ties with Daniel and truly sticking with her family (at least that’s how I interpreted it).

Ever since seeing King Arthur all those years ago I’ve been in love with Ioan Gruffudd (loving him right now in Forever, stay tuned for my review on that). It was great to see him play a bit of a dick – no scratch that – a dick in this film, as Emma’s love interest and wealthy real-estate developer. It was so awesome to finally see him getting his comeuppance in the end after leaving Blake trapped and alone in the parking garage (so not step-father material, I might add) and shoving every other poor soul in to the line of fire (as it where) to save his own skin.

I absolutely adored brothers Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and Ollie (Art Parkinson) (hey, not just because they were British :p). I loved Ben from the moment he spilt his coffee down his shirt front. The fact that he was Blake’s love interest and so awkward was just the icing on the cake. The moment he saved Blake from the parking garage I knew he was another character to add to my “please do not die” list that grew with every passing moment of the film (Paul Giamatti’s character, Caltech seismologist Lawrence Hayes was securely on this list after the Hoover Dam incident). And how could you resist a cute little genius like Ollie. So good to see Art Parkinson back on the big screen after Dracula Untold and particularly because I’ve missed him on Game of Thrones.

Now, let’s not forget Blake. She wasn’t your typical run of the mill teenager or damsel in distress. Even when she was trapped in the parking garage screaming for help she didn’t lose her head or her cool. She was constantly on her toes and both times she was saved she was strong. She never resigned herself to the fact that it was pretty likely she would die. And she had a good head on her shoulders, due in part to her dad, but still. I don’t how the boys in the film would’ve survived without her (they probably wouldn’t have :p).

Action.

Boy was I on the edge of my seat with this film. So much anticipation and apprehension. Plenty of twists and turns (or should I say rolls?) to keep any action buff more than satisfied. The film was up and running way before the first quake hit which was so refreshing. The plot never dragged on at all, it was nail-biting scene, after nail-biting scene, after nail-biting scene…you probably get my point.

The only let down with this movie would have to be the rather pathetic ending. It was flat and disappointing after all of the nail-biting action. It appeared that the writers ran out of steam, surprising since the film’s had a lot of writers and re-writes.

So, if you want to emerge from a film with no nails, empty sweat glands and an irrational fear of mother nature, I would definitely recommend seeing San Andreas.

9.5 out of 10.

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