This last weekend we watched San Andreas, with Dwayne Johnson. While on the one hand, yep, it’s a disaster movie and you know what that means… on the other hand, it’s a really solid disaster movie, that doesn’t stretch out the tropes too much.
One thing I can say about disaster movies is that they make great popcorn movies – as in, there’s thrills, adrenaline, amazing effects, and somewhere along the line that can mean that tropes are relied on heavily, audience expectations that you feed on purpose – or subvert on purpose. So I’ll get to those after the jump.
But the one thing I want to say as a general, non-spoiler review: the destruction and mayhem in San Andreas is really solid. There’s no bad guy, no monster or aliens or evil corporation. It’s not even much of a social commentary, unless you count “man it would be great if we could detect earthquakes before they happen.” No, it’s just a massive, act-of-God disaster movie, without far-reaching world-destroying effects – but you know things wouldn’t ever be the same again. The effects were great, you got to see all kinds of things just fall apart. In other words, this was a fun movie. Now on to some analysis below!
As Holly mentioned yesterday, we got plenty of movie watching in on our flights to and from Australia. I watched a great Australian science fiction film (Predestination) that I am going to talk about later (it comes out in the U.S. January 9th, it looks like – I recommend it!). I also watched a pretty miserable Australian science fiction/comedy called The Infinite Man (which I would NOT call a comedy…), and maybe I’ll talk about that too at some point.
But today I wanted to talk about Godzilla. We had been reluctant to see this film, and with the number of LitFlix we had going in May and June, we just did not make it to see this movie on the big screen. And it’s the sort of movie that probably begs to be seen on a big screen, with big monsters and all… instead we watched it on the tiny, tiny airplane screens. Such is life!
The most obvious comparison is to the 1998 Godzilla, but I can easily say this movie was better, and move on. I think instead I’ll make some less obvious comparisons to the movie, because after all, it’s Comparative Geeks! And because I’m not sure this movie stands on its own in my mind, it makes me think of too many other things. So spoilers ahead for 2014’s Godzilla!
It’s been a bit since we did a Science Fiction Today post… so here’s a fun one. How about the end of the world?
Armageddon, the Apocalypse, Ragnarok, the Eschaton… these names and more could be thrown at it. I feel like I have grown up in an era when we’ve half expected the end – at the year 2000, in 2012, any number of times around and between. When we’re not expecting it for real, we seem to be thinking about it in fiction – in science fiction, in horror.
Maybe it’s the EMP Museum that got me thinking about it. They talked about how the current problems of the world tend to bleed into what happens in our horror stories – like the original Godzilla in the advent of the Atomic Age. So what are some of the things we’re worried about right now? Here’s my list of 5 ways the world could end!
I read a great article over on We Minored in Film recently about last weekend’s boxoffice, with three bigger name sorts of releases coming out. One was The Lego Movie – our Valentine’s Day plan – and another was The Monuments Men, delayed and kind of out of Oscars contention because of it. But the third we saw last weekend, as you may know from Holly’s LitFlix on the subject. We saw Vampire Academy.
I don’t see much reason to mess with Kelly Konda’s review and analysis, but instead want to say that it got me thinking. He lists a number of other genre young adult adaptations that have come out lately, and which have not done that well. Last year, and into this year now, has seen these attempts at starting up a franchise and trying to make the sort of money that the Twilight or Harry Potter series made. Yet the movies that did well last year weren’t the first in their franchise: they were the second, with Catching Fire and PercyJackson.
And it’s too soon to know what will happen with some of these franchises: will they continue on with Ender’sGame? Vampire Academy ended with a lead-in to the later books. Beautiful Creatures? City of Bones? But while it’s too soon to know about these movies, there are some more recently – but far enough back – that we can be pretty sure they completely failed to spin off the rest of their series, failed to launch a franchise. So here’s five stories that failed to keep going!