Mini Movie Review: San Andreas

It's a disaster movie, so you should kind of know what you're getting into, but fine... WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! If a plot point is ruined for you, it's not my fault. Fault, get it?!?! *rimshot*

-7:15 PM
A couple of friends and I arrive at the Esquire, which I haven't been to since they upgraded it to be all fancy. I've talked about the...general audience at the Esquire before, so it was interesting to see how the new venue would change that. Answer? Still some hooting at the screen, but less of it. Science!

-7:30 PM
A bazillion previews, all of which look awful, except for one, which rose above awful to achieve looking maybe possibly worth a Netflix viewing if I'm bored one day and it's available for instant streaming.

-7:45 PM
A girl goes over a cliff in her car, and what's weird is that it's caused by a rockslide, and not by her texting while driving. Maybe God hates her for doing that.

-7:50 PM
The girl's tumble and subsequent rescue by the emergency response team, led by Mr. The Rock, has the worst CGI of the movie. Her car looks like it was animated by that movie-making game designed for Windows 95.

-8:00 PM
Exposition Man (Paul Giamatti) and his sidekick Explanatory Girl (Archie Panjabi) lay out the groundwork (GET IT?!?!). He's trying to develop a system of predicting earthquakes in order to warn people when one is coming. Unfortunately, he perfects this system about nine seconds before one hits.

-8:06 PM
Which leads to the billionth death caused by a stupid kid who refuses to run when danger is looming. Oh, wait! That billionth stupid kid already exists! So we're up to a billion and one.

-8:11 PM
Mr. The Rock gets a text from his bosses, asking him to report in, since there's been a quake, and they need him to, you know, do his job as a first responder. His response is to ignore this, and to take a helicopter to go look for his ex-wife. Guess that helicopter couldn't have been used for anything else during this disaster.

-8:19 PM
Hey, what's Constable Collins doing here? Go back to 1920s Australia, where you belong!

-8:21 PM
Apparently the escalating earthquakes aren't enough of a villain, so they toss in Ioan Gruffudd, whose cowardly abandonment of Mr. The Rock's daughter isn't enough of a dick move, so they advance to have him straight up murder someone.

-8:28 PM
Mr. The Rock's daughter may look nothing like him, but they do share one important family trait: Happening upon emergency supplies and stealing them.

-8:32 PM
I always like to watch the extras in the background, and I'm wondering if this group of people smiling and laughing as the citizens of San Francisco are evacuating were told to do that, or if I've just caught a blooper.

-8:35 PM
OK, I goofed on the special effects earlier, but the scene of a tidal wave hitting the Golden Gate Bridge looks pretty damn realistic.

-8:36 PM
Bad guy goes squish.

-8:39 PM
A character who's been shown to have a disabling leg injury is now running around faster than Usain Bolt.

-8:40 PM
A character that has been good and drowned for about ten minutes is successfully revived with CPR with no ill effects.

-8:59 PM
"What do we do now?"
-"We rebuild."
"OK, but I meant what do WE do now? Like, what are our practical next steps now that the entire state is demolished?"

I made one of those sentences up.

-9:04 PM
The movie ends on an inspirational unfurling of a grand American flag, because... Earthquakes only happen in the United States? Earthquakes in the USA are more bitchin'? Earthquakes are patriotic? Sure, whatever.

Is this a good movie? Nah. But is it a good disaster movie? Yeah, it wasn't half bad. There are plenty of things to mock (as you've seen), but it had some legitimately thrilling scenes, some legitimately good effects, was decently-acted, and was a delightful way to pass the evening with friends. It won't win any Oscars, but compared to The Day After Tomorrow, it's practically Citizen Kane.

San Andreas: C+


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