‘San Andreas’ is perfectly happy being what it is… and that makes me happy

I can’t hate on San Andreas for being what it is. It’s disaster porn and nothing more. It doesn’t try to be anything else, it doesn’t apologize for being what it is… it’s happy being disaster porn and, if I might point out, it’s pretty good disaster porn.

This is usually the point in the review when I summarize the plot, but do so would be futile and stupid. The plot is: A guy and his ex-wife goes to save their hot daughter during a bunch of earthquakes.

That’s… about… it.

Again, I’m not complaining here because San Andreas isn’t trying to be anything it’s not. It doesn’t even put on the airs to pretend that it’s something that it’s not and, in a way, I respect that. Sure, it does pad some slow moments with something that I do believe could be classified as character moments, but they are simplistic and obvious and designed to be. I’m not sure how much more motivation a character needs to save their own child, but there you go.

Let’s talk about the star of this movie.

Sit down, Dwayne Johnson, I’m talking about the earthquakes.

San Andreas has some amazing special effects that manage to be both subtle and cinematic at the same time. Sure, you have those big and impressive sequences of buildings crumbling and falling and tsunamis rolling onto the coasts, but you also have a lot of out of focus background shots where damage is happening in the midst of dialogue and, to me, that is one of the things that sold the world of San Andreas… it actually looked like it was shot with a physical camera and not that annoying floating camera that ruins so many CGI sequences.

Hey, you know… it’s not Shakespeare, but it’s not Stephanie Myer either. You pretty much know what you’re getting into with one of these movies and, on many levels, it does deliver well. The action and special effects sequences are big without being so full of it that they become laughable (looking at you, 2012) and the characters aren’t so irritating that you actually want to see them die. If I have a real complaint about San Andreas it’s that it often forgets to have fun along the way and takes itself too seriously, reminding us that, for these fun action sequences, millions of pretend people had to die.

That’s… not really something I want to think about, thank you.

Still, for a brainless popcorn movie, San Andreas is more than passable entertainment. I can’t wait until it’s out of DVD so I can watch the earthquakes again while skipping the not-earthquake stuff.

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