Quality: This score indicates entertainment value.
0 stars is horrible, while 5 stars is spectacular.
Political: This score addresses political messaging.
0 stars is aggressively anti-Conservative, while 5 stars is highly pro-Conservative. 3 stars is apolitical.
Moral/Religious (M/R): This score addresses moral and religious messaging.
0 stars is either intensely immoral or all-out, needless assault on Christianity. 5 stars is either great moral messaging or highly pro-Christian. 3 stars is inoffensive either way.
Quality – 2 stars, Political – 4 stars, M/R – 2.5 stars
Yep. Good times.
Starring as Rescue Chief Ray Gaines, The Rock puts in his usual likable performance, complete with incredible acts of strength, valor, and occasional sensitivity. He’s a dedicated ex-soldier. He’s going through a divorce that’s tearing him apart. He’s a great dad. At least 27 times, my wife felt inspired to lean over and whisper, “You totally suck.”
Didn’t matter. I was still picturing that burning, screaming “Tomorrowland” set. Oh the humanity! Oh the senseless loss of life! There was George Clooney, enlightening us savages on how to save our planet, when suddenly, Mother Nature rained thundering judgement down upon him! As George’s shaking hand reached out through the rubble, his beloved San Francisco crowd stole his wallet, looted his dressing room, and took off in his car.
I had reached Valhalla. There, in the theatre, I smoked a cigarette.
Back to “San Andreas.” The script—apparently the winning entry from a 2nd Grade “What I Want To See In A Movie” contest—leaves a lot to be desired. The characters are pure formula. Hero Dad wants family back, but must first grapple with past loss. “Me need closure!” Mom (Carla Gugino) has another fella, but oh sister, he’s just not right for you! Teenage daughter (Alexandra Daddario) is spunky and resourceful, while falling into an instant, made-for-disaster-movie romance with a guy who saves her life. This she does while showing disturbing amounts of cleavage (as if the movie needed another fault line). The stereotypical scientist whose warnings weren’t heeded (seismologist “Lawrence,” well played by Paul Giamatti) keeps swapping “This is bad—really bad!” statements while reviewing tremor readings with his staff.
“Lawrence, look at these wildly erratic lines! This is bad—really bad!”
“It’s like a Brian Williams lie detector test! We’re all gonna die! This is bad—really bad!”
“We keep saying higher and higher numbers, like we’re bidding on something! This is bad—really bad!”
“I’ve played this same role in six disaster movies! All I do is look at screens and say, ‘This is bad—really bad!’ Maybe I died years ago, and I'm in hell! This is bad—really bad!”
Yes, if lameness had a Richter Scale, “San Andreas” would hit 9.6 several times.
Thankfully, some action sequences are tight and tense, and watching all those cement slabs falling on people brought back fond memories of that childhood game, “Whack A Mole.” Other scenes, however, are humorously implausible. It seems whenever the stars leave a room or building, it immediately crumples behind them, stretching any “nick of time” anxiety into yawning familiarity. Whatever. About midway through, I started shouting, “Stay in the building! Those people want to live too!”
Sillier still is Johnson using countless modes of transportation in trying to reach his daughter. There’s a truck. A helicopter. SUV. Boat. Parachute. I think I saw a space shuttle. By movie’s end, we expect to see The Rock furiously peddling a tricycle down the center of a highway, yelling “Hang in there, Honey! Daddy’s coming!”
While “San Andreas” is all disaster movie, there are good moments as well. Some people get saved. A family comes together. As California crashes into the Pacific, the federal budget simultaneously balances. Go figure. At the end, a huge American flag unfurls.
Best of all, “San Andreas” shows the vision, ingenuity, and solutions that “Tomorrowland” lacked. It’s simplicity itself. To save Mother Earth, just follow a simple formula: Take one California. Insert one George Clooney. Now remove California from planet.
Earth saved. Problem solved.
Yep. Good times.