Wednesday, 11 November 2015

San Andreas (2015)

Right, so on the west coast of America (California) there's  an earthquake, and its really, really bad, so bad that it destroys a good deal of the State. The only thing that can stand in its way and stop this evil force of nature, is the Rock (Dwayne Johnson...not Alcatraz). The Rock vs an earthquake...FIGHT!! That's it, that's all I got here.

Yeah so...seriously, what can I say here? We all know exactly what this is, we've all seen this a shitzillion times before. The one main difference in this movie is the fact that it starts out with an obvious signal that shits about to go down, usually in these type of movies they start off with everything being hunky dory. Not this time, the Rock is straight in there battling to save some blonde type in her car from a gaping chasm of death. In the end he cooly rips off the car door to get to her, yeah its gonna be like that folks. But this gaping chasm of death alerts all the science types to the danger that is clearly looming, this naturally results in various slow moving close-ups on scientists faces accompanied by strong orchestral tones. From there on the whole project moves along with a fast but completely predictable pace hitting all the key notes you've come to expect from a disaster flick.

Lets be honest here, like all disaster flicks, you're only here to see the CGI magic, to see the destruction of another American State with its big landmarks. Does this disappoint? well on that front no not really. You wanna see LA and San Francisco (and surrounding areas) get wiped out by an earthquake? you wanna see the Rock on the brink of tears? you wanna see Kylie Minogue get killed off? well here you go. The CGI is most definitely exceptional there is no doubt about that, at times, in places, it does look completely realistic to the point that it is actually a little scary, I did actually feel sorry for some of the victims (almost). Like with all modern disaster movies there are the effects that look awesome which normally involve wide CGI panoramas of cityscapes getting destroyed by a tidal wave or earthquake, skyscrapers toppling, vehicles getting swept up or flipped about and bridges collapsing etc...Then you have the odd shot or sequence which always looks obviously CGI or shows the use of greenscreen, usually involving a close up of an actor.

Naturally amongst the visual feast of CGI mayhem and the odd stunt we get all the regular cliches, all the predictable bullshit cliches that they've ripped right out of the disaster cliche book. You know them, lets do this together, sing along with me. Well for starters, this being America and being in the midst of a breakdown in society, you have looting and shootings going on, because America. Yep, its sad to think that this is completely accurate, but when the shit hits the fan in America, you know certain parts of society will whip out their guns and go looting, because a big TV will help you in a deadly earthquake situation. Next up, the bad guy who gets his comeuppance played by Loan Gruffudd. This guy starts off as the nice guy but you can smell the slimy, smarminess a mile away, its the suit and money that give it away, stereotypical, wealthy, soulless businessman. Then we have the old couple cliche, by this I mean that one sequence where we see an elderly couple who can't escape pending death. They both realise they can't escape, they both acknowledge this and embrace one last time before they are killed off, which we don't see of course.

Carrying one we have the main plot cliche, the predictable plot device of having the main hero (the Rock) in marital problems with his estranged wife. They are literately on the brink of complete divorce before the disaster, but low and behold the disaster manages to change all that when the Rock saves his wife, and daughter, and the world, and everyone sees what a great guy he is. Its at this point that I must also point out, our hero, the Rock, knows everything! in any given situation, he knows exactly what to do and what's happening. He is also indestructible, naturally, he can survive everything and never really sustain any injury, even in a bad helicopter crash. This leads me to another good solid predictable cliche. In any sequence where the protagonist and co have to escape somewhere in a car or boat or whatever, they always do of course, but we always, always, have to see some other faceless people failing to escape the same situation and getting killed. It happens every time, the Rock and co are trying to get over this growing tidal wave in their boat, they are hammering it up this towering wave trying to reach the crescent before it crashed down. At the same time we see another boat doing the same thing but it flips over and flies off obviously killing all on-board.

Spoiler alert! the Rock and co manage to make it through everything even while using the old, 'is she dead?' sequence with his daughter just in case you didn't think there were enough cliches in this film. I can't really complain though can I? I mean it is a disaster flick, what did I expect?? But this is the problem, we've seen all angles for this genre, its all been done, it doesn't matter where the disaster is or what it is, this entire genre is dead and buried beneath a pile of cliches. This movie really brought this notion home to me, yes I did expect the same spiel, but no I didn't expect such a corny line up of terrible cliches such as this, I did kinda think they would try something different maybe, whatever that could be. Instead its literately every scene from all previous disaster flicks all over again...but in California, the disaster is irrelevant frankly, could of been anything.

But my one true disappointment was simply, we didn't get to see the Rock punch an earthquake, or take it down under his huge, sweaty manceps of power, beating it into submission. You picked the wrong city to fuck with earthquake, take that! Rock Bottom!!