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Monday, June 1, 2015

If you are looking for a movie that has to be seen on the big screen with buildings crashing and huge special effects, then San Andreas is your movie. There is plenty of action and excitement to keep action movie fans glued to their seats for the entire two hours. If you like the Rock, then know that he is probably one of the best things about this movie. If you are like me and think that Paul Giamatti is capable of saving any movie he is in, then go see San Andreas. Honestly, this is not the movie you want to buy on Blu-Ray or watch on Netflix in a few months and think “I bet this looked awesome on the big screen,” because it does.

Now that the good stuff is out of the way, let’s get to the real dirt about San Andreas. I do not go into any movie expecting it to be bad (except for anything where Adam Sandler is involved). I want every movie I see to be great. I love movies that other people cannot stand and I can find the good in any movie, regardless of the movie’s tired script. But when the Rock and Paul Giamatti cannot even get me to say that this is a decent movie, then you know this movie has failed.

The problem here is that we are dealing with two different cliché formulas. The first cliché formula occurs in the movie itself and it goes a little something like this:

Mom and Dad are getting divorced + Mom and/or Dad’s new significant other is a douchenozzle + Some crisis causes Mom and/or Dad to have a chance to save the day = movie that makes a profit.

Do mom and dad save the day in San Andreas? I’m not telling you because I am not ruining the movie for you. Why? Because I honestly believe that it is worth it to see this movie at the drive-in at least once. The scenes of destruction are beyond impressive and make it worth the price of admission.

But here is the other formula that is at work here:

Public complains about remakes (note: reboots are fine) + Studios need money to fund remakes (not reboots, because reboots are fine) = Formulaic adventure movie with predictable script that the public will go see

Why is the second formula so bad? Because as long as we always help these kinds of movies make a profit, this is what Hollywood will pass off as original stories. The Hollywood bigwigs will say “See, they like that formulaic stuff, so that is what we will pass off as original” and then we get nothing new.

Trust me, after sitting through an extended trailer for another television-series-to-movie effort and yet another found-film movie (STOP with the shaky camera movies already! If your movie isn’t good enough to be made in a normal way, then it isn’t good enough to make at all!), I was ready for something original. But, in the end, the wife and I had seen San Andreas 100 times before and even the pretty special effects wore thin after a while.

Trust me, I understand that the point here is to have a fun, summer blockbuster with great action, hot chicks, and great effects. This movie has all of that, so it covers all of the bases. But I am a movie guy and I want to see a good movie. Is it asking too much for Hollywood to throw a few curves in there to make the movie at least a little interesting? Does everyone always have to make it out alive while we are supposed to act like we never saw it coming?

I don’t care what anyone says, the Rock is an awesome actor. He has something that a lot of the great action heroes think they have, but they really do not – comedic timing. But the Rock never gets to use his comedic timing in this movie and that makes it even worse.

I think that any time I see Paul Giamatti on screen that I have to stop and pay attention. From his explosive performance in Private Parts, to his demure bastard character in Planet Of The Apes, to rescuing that snoozefest Sideways; Paul Giamatti is there to save your movie. But not even Paul Giamatti could overcome this script.

All this movie needed was a couple of unpredictable twists and turns and it could have been more than just a stuffing-your-face-with-popcorn mindless summer action movie. But it just refused to do that and we are stuck with yet another movie where the Rock doesn’t get a chance to show off his comedy chops and Paul Giamatti just goes to waste.

Rating: 1 ½ out of 5

+George N Root III is a drive-in movie fanatic who loves all movies. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or email him at If you are Paul Giamatti, then just email George a “hello” message and you will make his day.

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