Monday, June 8, 2015

Movie Note: San Andreas

So, I took mi esposa to the movies last night, for "date night," and we went to see San Andreas. Because, really, what says "romantic night without the kids" better than half the west coast being destroyed?

Anyway, that should not exactly be a shocker, since it's basically the whole point of why anybody would want to see a disaster movie: a disaster of an almost unimaginable scale. Almost, because someone obviously DID imagine it, then transferred that idea to film.

But I digress.

This flick stars Dwayne Johnson, better know as The Rock (That's MR. The Rock, to you!), as a military veteran working as an emergency rescue worker, with a helicopter team and everything. His (almost) ex-wife (There is a reference to "signing the papers), who has a new boyfriend, is played by Carla Gugino, from the Mummy movies and the Spy Kids movies, and still looking pretty hot. Their college-age daughter, is played by Alexandra Daddario, who is actually a bit older than college age and not that much younger than Carla Gugino. Her main purpose in this movie is to be in danger and to look hot, both of which roles she fills admirably. To quote the great 20th century philosophers Wayne and Garth, if she were a breakfast cereal, she'd be magically babe-licious. If she were a president, she'd be Babe-raham Lincoln. My wife said, "She has really pretty eyes," to which I wisely gave the only possible correct answer: "Almost as pretty as yours."

"I hadn't noticed" would NOT have been acceptable.

 But on to the plot.

The plot starts with a daring rescue of a girl trapped in a car hanging off a cliff after having been pushed there by a rock slide, which is sort of a California specialty. Seems like very day out there, some rocks are falling off a hillside and burying some section of road.

Then, the scene cuts to a professor at Cal Tech in Pasadena, who seems to think he's discovered a way to predict earthquakes, which, for the purposes of the move, he actually has. He realizes that his theory works at the Hoover Dam, which (not a real spoiler- - it's in the preview) gets totally destroyed by the earthquake he predicts about ten second before it actually happens. It seems to me this is an interesting thing: Being able to predict an earthquake, but having only about enough time to say, "Hey, there's going to be an earthquake!" before said earthquake starts tearing it up and burning it down.

So, predictably, (because, let's face it, if you couldn't predict this was going to happen, you would never go see the movie), he predicts a major earthquake for Los Angeles about ten seconds before the L.A. basin starts rockin' and rollin'. The Rock saves Carla Gugino with his helicopter, which we knew was going to happen because 1). Duh, and 2). This is ALSO in the preview, basically. But their daughter is in San Francisco with her mom's new boyfriend, and the big one hasn't hit the Bay Area, yet. So, can anyone say road trip to save the kid? Yep.

At this point, the scientist (played by Paul Giamatti, BTW) is warning everyone to get out of San Francisco because the big one is going to hit up there: What they've already had was pretty bad, but not bad enough to warrant making a whole movie about it. Not yet, anyway.

So, Mr. and Mrs. The Rock get top San Francisco just in time for the Big One, and they have to find their daughter in a whole city that's messed up even worse than Godzilla did last spring. Well, there's a bunch of madness, mayhem and destruction, and the movie finally comes to an end with maybe the most unintentionally hilarious final line in movie history. It's not so hilarious for what is said, but for what everyone in the theater obviously has to be thinking after it's uttered. I won't spoil it here, but it's pretty funny.

I don't know what it is. Obviously, we don't like to see it happen in real life. The Northridge earthquake and 9/11 proved that. But, seriously, it seems everyone LOVES to watch New York and Southern California get destroyed, at least in the movies. We really love to watch places that vote dramatically liberal get wasted hard. And L.A. and San Francisco pretty much get leveled, and we're like, "Whoa!" It struck me several times during the course of the movie that every time the ground shook, the average IQ of California went up a few points.

And I say that having lived there for four years. And note that San Diego, a far more conservative city, isn't even mentioned. But injecting politics into it wasn't really my goal in seeing the thing: I just wanted to watch a lot of mostly bloodless imaginary destruction. It was pretty fun to watch San Diego get terrorized in the second Jurassic Park movie.

But A.O. Scott, who is much smarter than any of us because he reviews movies for the New York Times, saw the movie,. and his big takeaway is apparently that we should "Listen to Scientists." Because Global Warming, I guess. Frankly, I'd be a lot more inclined to listen to scientists if so many of them weren't just making it as they go along. You know: if the data doesn't fit our preconceived conclusions, the data must be wrong. Never mind that our models predict the exact opposite of reality, we'll just MAKE DATA UP TO FIT OUR PRECONCEIVED HYPOTHESES!


Anyway, as far as content goes, a couple gratuitous swear words, mostly in a context that such things might be said by such people as would say such things, and one big f-bomb that was actually kind of funny. No nekkid parts, although happily, Alexandra Daddario ends up in a went tank top. Not a whole lot of blood, and, given that literally millions have to die in this scenario, almost completely blood free.

It ain't Citizen Kane, but it's big dumb and fun, and if your kid can handle the Avengers-type movies, this one shouldn't give them any trouble.

See it on a big screen, if you can, because I suspect the awesome effects will be lost on DVD or streaming. We paid full price, plus 3D upcharge, but I don't really think the 3D really added anything to the experience. At the least, catch a matinee or the dollar theater.


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