San Andreas

Low Budget Films

I liked San Andreas, possibly for all the reasons to hate it.
Reported on 26th of June, 2015

I liked San Andreas, possibly for all the reasons to hate it. It would be easy, for example, to criticize the CGI, whose physics and texture mapping would make Banjo blush. Kazooie can’t blush, dummy: she’s a bird. You can only tell she’s embarrassed by the floating exclamation mark and flying nervous sweat polygons.

San Andreas

21 June 2015 @ The Gaumont Rennes

$7.00 or, if one must be quotidian, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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But there’s a genuine charm to an effects grasp exceeding the puny $100 million budget. It feels like the low-rent and utterly preposterous serials that inspired George Lucas to make Star Wars, instead of the bloated overpriced blockbusters that inspired him to make Episode 1.

What can I say? I had a good time. Unlike the convoluted and generally unrelatable Jurassic World, the story is simple: he wants to save his family. That’s it. The number of evil scientists planning the earthquakes to write off insurance claims for corrupt cops who have to warn the mayor about sharks is zero. It’s absolutely plain movie-going spectacle, and it reminds you that people don’t even try this anymore. It’s not so much a popcorn movie, as a sachet of huit pièces de chocolat from Patisserie Le Daniel. I miss not being able to see movies in English whenever I want, but the chocolate in France is forget the trailer is giving everything away good. I don’t think the movie is that good, but I remember the taste vividly.

San Andreas has as many clichés as Jurassic World – Divorce! Creepy New Husband! Dead daughter! Confession of feelings over dead daughter! Carla Gugino (the millennial Kevin Bacon)! Triumphant music to minor chord to indicate a beat reversal! An American flag (‘Now we rebuild’)! The saved doggie! The minor character sacrificing his life to save the girl scene from Volcano! The fact that I saw and remember anything that happened in Volcano! The fact that this is the same film in every way as Volcano! Paul Giamatti! An extremely uncomfortable hand holding moment between Mr. Giamatti and Ms. Archie Panjabi! A IT guy saying ‘We’re in!’ Choral music! We’ve got to warn the authorities! A Cuarón (that’s my new word for the single shot action scene which Mr. Cuarón pioneered, which is now so de rigeur, well, it’s in San Andreas)! She’s definitely dead scene from The Abyss! It has it all, but the scenes actually fit with one another, making the total effect comforting instead of confusing. There are even two or three genuinely solid gags*, which, thinking back, Jurassic World lacked.

This time I lose the ticket. Always the greats.

This time I lose the ticket. Always the greats.

Oh, also, the lead girl saves the boy, instead of the other way around. This is because it’s not mid-April, 1953, the short period when women were regarded with as much scorn as Jurassic World. Don’t see it or anything, but if it comes on Showtime (sorry, I’m using that term like ‘xerox’; in modern terms ‘comes on Showtime’ means when NetFlix puts it in the two weeks free sign-up queue), it deserves at least 30 minutes of not playing Angry Birds.

*The solid gags. To be read only in the event of a slightly choked broadband connection. Girl stuck in car, the collapsed beam won’t go any farther, he deflates the tires. Mr. Johnson speeding up a tsunami in a speedboat is ridiculous, until he has to dodge a massive tanker coming down the wave at 60°. Then it’s gigglingly ridiculous. Even the utterly absurd helicopter rescue from a collapsing building was pretty awesome. I’ll go you one better, PPV when it moves down to a $4.00 Rock package with Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Hercules. In other words, see it ‘when it comes on Starz’. 

The Take

The two gags. This is two more that almost any film this year besides Mad Max.
‘I understand you have some exposition to get out of the way?’ ‘Why yes, we were in Iraq, and a team, and now we rescue people in choppers’. This counts as charming, because the characters do not reappear. They did exposition like they were worried about an awkward silence.
Best moment? Boy impressed by girl’s generally badassery. I think that’s how you spell it. I believe it was the moment when they were problematically looting firetrucks for supplies that might save someone’s life. Anyway, he says something like, ‘Nice’, which was translated by the French subtitles – in English – as ‘Respect.’. What can I say? ‘Égard.’
I didn’t even mention the evil New Husband character, who abandons children with…abandon, and drags strangers out of the way to save his skin. He’s going to get his comeuppance! So conventionally satisfying!
Total Profits
It is an extremely silly film.
Total Losses


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