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Glen Falkenstein reviews the latest big, dumb disaster flick San Andreas – if you like seeing the world getting wrecked, this film is for you.
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
San Andreas has taught us what to do whenever disaster strikes – search for higher ground, stay there, and wait for The Rock.
Rescue pilot and concerned dad Dwayne Johnson navigates the tumbling and crumbling California coastline to save his estranged wife and daughter from the ever-collapsing state.
The stranded communicate with the outside world through landlines. Tense scenes of destruction give way to corny one-liners. The Rock looks determined.
San Andreas has transported us back to the 90s…and it has never looked better.
Taking a plane, strikingly similar to the one John Cusack commandeered in 2012, The Rock gives us a breathtaking view of a devastated coastline. The use of CGI and visual effects are exceptional; 3D is used to effect rather than being a gimmick – I don’t think I’ve ever seen California be trashed so convincingly. An opening sequence where Hoover Dam is destroyed will make you forget this ever happened in the first Superman movie.
With all the clichés of a disaster movie, this is your thing if you like seeing the world getting wrecked. If you don’t care for large-scale destruction, bite-size storyline and one-dimensional characters – stay away. Lots of them say things like “Oh my God,” and ask others if they are OK, a lot, when they are clearly not OK. Crucial to most disaster films is the cowardly and/or hysterical guy who abandons everyone and runs off to save his own hide. This time around, his comeuppance is a little unexpected and definitely drew one of the biggest guffaws from the crowd.
Paul Giamatti joins in as the Professor dedicated to saving thousands of lines by providing information on the quake, stock exposition and doomsday predictions that would sound forced from almost any other actor.
If epic-scale disaster and watching a building split in half to reveal a crumbling Golden Gate bridge sounds like your night out, then best let The Rock take you for a ride.