San Andreas

A massive earthquake hits an unknown fault line in southern Nevada, causing a chain reaction along the San Andreas in California that will have disastrous effects on the nation’s most populous state. Fortunately for L.A. Fire and Rescue helicopter pilot Ray Gaines, he’s good in a crisis, and he’s put in position to single-handedly save his loved ones while the world is literally crumbling around him.

Disaster movies are nothing new in Hollywood, and while the formula for the unfolding events is quite predictable, it’s the underlying story and execution that takes them to the next level. That’s where this one shines. The family element is extremely well done, and the back story that’s revealed isn’t forced down the audience’s throat—it’s a slow reveal that makes it more believable. But make no mistake, it’s the earthquakes that are the true stars of this production, and the CGI work is fantastic. Sure, the story is predictable and far-fetched, but it’s a fun ride.

The video encode is very good and features bright colors, consistent contrast, and deep blacks. The color timing is skewed toward orange and teal, which allows the image to pop at the expense of accurate skintones. I noticed a couple of instances of compression noise, but these were few and far between.

This Dolby Atmos (True HD 7.1 core) has everything you want, with clear and intelligible dialogue, ample LFE, and a plethora of discrete effects flying at you from every direction, complimented by onscreen cues. Examples include the opening scene with a car hanging precariously off a cliff, the destruction of Hoover Dam, and essentially the entire third act where San Francisco is demolished. Overhead effects are used to heighten the atmospheric effects of buildings crumbling around you. This is a demo showpiece from start to finish.

Supplements include various making-of featurettes, eight deleted scenes, a gag and stunt reel, and an audio commentary from director Brad Peyton. Also included in the package are a DVD and UV Digital Copy.

Back in the late 1990s, you couldn’t walk into an electronics store without seeing a demo of Twister touting the advantages of DVD. Well, if Dolby were smart, they’d ensure that surviving electronics chains have an Atmos room installed and use San Andreas as their demo disc. While the film won’t be winning any Oscars for its screenplay or acting, it will certainly be in the running for sound editing and visual effects, and deservedly so. Be sure to check it out in Atmos!

Studio: Warner Bros., 2015
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos/True HD 7.1 core
Length: 114 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario

pw's picture

Looks like a terrible movie.. How about a review of Evangelion 3.33 this came out in the US (finally) after a 2 year wait..

mikem's picture

This is one of the best action dramas I've seen. The audio-video on bluray is reference quality. The pace and action is very engaging and never leaves. From beginning to the end it is a show stopper. If you want to show off your HT system San Andreas is sound of the very best in sound design.