donderdag 17 oktober 2013

Today's News: Dwayne Johnson versus earthquake

Another post of mine on MovieScene:

The user comment left behind by someone that read this newsflash isn't wholly incorrect: this does bear a fair bit of resemblance to 2012. Problem is, that film was basically the ultimate disaster movie, featuring everything from devastating earthquakes to giant volcanic eruptions and humongous tidal waves, so how could you hope to impress a post-2012 audience with "only" an earthquake? Simple. You add a star. As is the case in most disaster movies, the star of the film is the disaster itself, while the cast is only meant to guide you through it to add some human drama. That's why casts of disaster movies usually, with very few exceptions, don't feature big name moviestars but only 'moderately well known' actors instead, often with the addition of older actors that have slowly but surely fallen out of favor with the public's immediate interest (as was done all through the Seventies with classic actors of the Thirties, Fourties and Fifties). None of the actors in 2012 were genuine moviestars. But now Dwayne Johnson gets to stand up to an earthquake, and currently he's undeniably a hot star, with a fairly wide audience appeal. So people that don't care about Johnson get to enjoy the tremors (which probably won't bring The Rock down), while Johnson fans will care less about the actual catastrophe, but simply crave to see their hero back in action. You wonder why studios don't employ big names in this type of epic film more often. It may have something to do with the bad reputation of disaster movies (also thanks to the Seventies), that so far generally told stars they've reached their expiration date. Maybe Johnson can debunk that much maligned 'genre curse'.

In other ways San Andreas seems an overly standard disaster flick: epic shots of ruin and destruction coupled with standard family drama throughout (an estranged family too, that no doubt finds new strength due to their trials). I doubt Johnson can change much about that routine. Especially if it's brought to us by Brad Peyton, who delivered quite a similar story in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, except against a fantasy backdrop. Even in 3-D though, I doubt San Andreas will outboast 2012 in terms of scope and awe.

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