Saturday, 6 June 2015

Movie Review: San Andreas

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Let's get straight to the point, San Andreas is a typical Hollywood disaster film very similar to the likes of Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, Twister, Into the Storm, Gravity, Independence Day, The Impossible, 2012. It offers a good deal of thrill and excitement with its vast amounts of destruction and mayhem. There are buildings crumbling everywhere, huge tsunami and crackling grounds with lots of people dying along the way. Another disaster film with an American flag at the end. If you're coming just to watch cities gets destroyed, you'll likely be satisfied by the film.

Disaster films are always fairly predictable and San Andreas is no exception. They usually comes with an effective dramatic narrative to support them. The story is very simple and straightforward. San Andreas Fault is starting to shift after so many years, triggering a severe earthquake with a Richter magnitude of 9.1 that start destroying major cities along the fault line. An elite search and rescue helicopter pilot, Ray (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) tries to rescue his ex-wife, Emma (Carla Gugino) in Los Angeles and then make their way together to San Francisco to save their only daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario). It’s a clichéd script, but (thankfully) entertaining nonetheless.

From the early rescue mission on the side of a cliff, a scene when Emma tries to run from a crumbling building and the scene where the huge tsunami destroys the Golden Gate Bridge, it is safe to say that the film has some rather exhilarating set pieces. The film takes time to show us the scale of the disaster. The destruction looks realistic and shocking enough as viewers can clearly see many people dying on the ground under piles of crumbled buildings or washed away by the huge tsunami.

The film does take time to focus on its characters by letting the audience follow three groups of characters who're in different locations: Ray and Emma who's rushing to reach San Francisco to save their daughter, Blake with her pair of new British acquaintances (one of them is a potential love interest) and seismologist Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) who tries to warn the people of the next bigger earthquake (Richter magnitude of 9.6) that will happen in San Francisco with reporter Serena.
Dwayne Johnson gets his chance to shine in this film, as a husband and father who simply wants his family to be safe. As the film progresses, the viewers also get to know the reason behind Ray's estrangement from his family. Alexandra Daddario (she's absolutely gorgoeus, managed to provide a lot of distractions with her huge pair of assets, proved to be the eye candy of the film) plays a competent young girl (not the typical damsel in distress) who tries to survive by using all the knowledge she gained from her father. On the other hand, Paul Giamatti delivers the usual heavy expositionary lines to let the viewers understand what is about to happen.

However, there are several problems in the film that needs to be mentioned out. While Ray is shown to be a caring and reliable husband and father, he turns out to be the most selfish rescuer at the same time as well. Rather than dedicating his life to save others in need, the film showed how he dumped his responsibility as a rescuer to save his own family. It just doesn't feel right. Furthermore, there's a lot of misleading measures a person should take when facing such natural shouldn't get to the rooftop when the building is going to collapse, you shouldn't simply drop, cover and hold on to something, you shouldn't try to walk into a shop and find a landline to call your loved ones when cellphones don't work. You should run to higher grounds as quickly as possible. There's also another particular scene in the film that makes the viewers want to shout, "Oh, come on Ray! Stop talking and start using all the muscles you have!"

Despite its flaws, the film does have its entertainment value. The inclusion of human drama is fairly formulaic and the ending is predictable, but acceptable. The film doesn't offer anything new but it delivers what is promised.

Rating: 7/10

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173cm height, 56kg weight, dark brown hair colour. 
Simply gorgeous.

Note: The information provided below is obtained from online resources.

Do You Know:
San Andreas is the name of the tectonic fault line that runs through most of California. Seismologists have been predicting for years that California is due for a massive earthquake caused by this particular fault.

Richter magnitude scale:

Developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter to compare the size of earthquakes by quantifying the energy released by them. The magnitude of an earthquake is determined from the logarithm (in base-10 scale) of the amplitude of waves recorded by seismographs.

Notable earthquakes that have occurred on the San Andreas Fault:
  • 1680 Coachella Valley earthquake: This obscure quake is of interest to scientists because of its location - the southern end of the San Andreas Fault. The epicenter was believed to be somewhere between Indio and Palm Springs in Riverside County. This is the last known major quake of the largest, most dangerous fault line in the state of California. The magnitude was estimated to be about a 7.7.
  • 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake: Largest recorded earthquake in California history,  it ruptured the southern part of the San Andreas Fault for a length of about 225 miles (350 kilometers). Though it is known as the Fort Tejon earthquake, the epicenter is thought to have been located far to the north, just south of Parkfield. Two deaths were reported. The magnitude was about 7.9. 
  • 1906 San Francisco earthquake: About 267 miles (430 km) were ruptured in Northern California. The epicenter was near San Francisco. At least 3000 people died in the earthquake and devastating fires broke out in the city that lasted for several days. Over 80% of San Francisco was destroyed. The magnitude was estimated to be 7.8.
  • 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake: This quake occurred on October 17, 1989, at approximately 5:04 P.M. PDT. About 25 miles (40 km) were ruptured (although the rupture did not reach the surface) near Santa Cruz, California, causing 63 deaths, 3,757 injured and moderate damage in certain vulnerable locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. The magnitude was about 6.9. The earthquake also postponed Game 3 of the 1989 World Series at Candlestick Park. 
  • 2004 Parkfield earthquake: On September 28, 2004, at 10:15 A.M. PDT, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the Parkfield area. It was felt across the state, including the San Francisco Bay Area.

What to do when an earthquake happens:

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