May 30, 2015
'San Andreas' Reviews Are In: Critics Find The Rock Likable, But Story Too Shaky

San Andreas is a mixed bag according to critics. Luckily for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, his presence in the film is seen as most of what's good about it. Of course the CGI special effects aren't bad either by all accounts. So why aren't critics raving about San Andreas? The premise is tired and it's too similar to existing disaster flicks.

It's easy to admit that if you were shown scenes from San Andreas as well as scenes from 2012, there's a chance that you may have trouble telling which horrific scenery belongs to which movie. But then, whoever went to see a film like this purely for the thrill of seeing something new? Disaster movies are about watching people run from their lives as Mother Nature tries to take them out.

But movie reviewers have a job to do, and that's to pick at movies, sharing with potential moviegoers what they feel to be the good, bad, and "don't waste your money." When it came to San Andreas, the general consensus seemed to be that the only thing new on the clichéd landscape was Johnson. Ben Kendrick of ScreenRant found the flick to be "straightforward and fun" but also "inane".
"Without question, viewers looking for a realistic earthquake drama, based in layered characters and seismologist-approved physics, will find San Andreas to be CGI style over substance.

Yet, moviegoers who want a rousing natural disaster extravaganza, [Director Brad Peyton] has produced an action-packed popcorn flick—galvanized by a likable performance from Johnson in the starring role."

Perhaps the sourest perception of San Andreas came from Rolling Stone reviewer Peter Travers. "An earthquake wipes out a fat chunk of California in San Andreas," writes Travers. "But that's nothing compared to the destruction rained down on your brain cells by this movie's idiotically hilarious dialogue."
"I stand firm in my admiration for Johnson as a top-flight action star. He's a force of nature with an appealing sense of humor that makes him eminently relatable.

But Rock, please, why this?

Your first teaming with director Brad Peyton on Journey 2: The Mysterious Island impressed, well, nobody."

What's interesting is that even though critics were less than thrilled with San Andreas, that didn't stop audiences from going to see it. Nor did it influence the majority's approval. On Rotten Tomatoes 63 percent of the members who went to see the movie enjoyed it. Perhaps it was due to the movie being a "stupid popcorn flick" that many didn't take seriously. Or perhaps it's proof that The Rock's star continues to rise in Hollywood.

In fact, despite the lukewarm reception from reviewers (the film earned a 49 percent "rotten" rating over at Rotten Tomatoes), San Andreas dominated the weekend box office. Debuting with $47 million, it is the strongest opening weekend for Johnson ever.

The lesson here seems to be that San Andreas was lucky someone in the casting department decided on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Another man in the role could lead to a disaster movie of a different kind.

Have you seen San Andreas? Do you think the critics were too harsh? Share your thoughts below!

[Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures YouTube]