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November 28, 2015
San Andreas 3D Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
28/5/201530/9/2015Village RoadshowBrad Peyton
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
MVC/AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD MA 5.1MDwayne Johnson

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Dwayne Johnson stars in San Andreas.

If there is one thing that is certain about San Andreas it's that the film delivers exactly what you would expect - large scale destruction when one of the world’s most famous faults causes a massive earthquake. We're fans of Dwayne Johnson here so were keen to check the film out because of him, but the other reason was that much of the film was shot on the Gold Coast in Australia - literally minutes away from my home. Oh, I love disaster films too!

After the infamous San Andreas Fault gives, triggering a magnitude 9-plus earthquake in California, a search and rescue helicopter pilot Raymond Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) and his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter. But their treacherous journey north is only the beginning. And when they think the worst may be over…it’s just getting started.

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The earth opens up along the San Andreas fault.
So this is a disaster film, and there's no denying that this is one massive rollercoaster ride as we follow Raymond trying to rescue his family as the world around him crumbles. His performance here isn't award worthy, but is on par with most of his other films. Fortunately the supporting cast including Carla Gugino, Paul Giamatti, Ioan Gruffudd, Alexandra Daddario and even Kylie Minogue are all fantastic in their roles.

It must be said that the visual effects in this film are astounding - the Hoover Dam crumbling, skyscrapers falling apart and collapsing, and the massive tidal wave will have jaws dropping. With so many visual effects, and if you have the means, we certainly recommend viewing the 3D version of this film as it adds even more punch to the spectacle.

Perhaps our biggest disappointment is the predictability of it all. Of course the couple facing a divorce will end up back together. Of course the asshole boyfriend will get what he deserves - even though there are a few close calls first. Nice guy scientist will die saving an innocent person and the list goes on. While it may be predictable in many situations there are still a few surprises in the film and we enjoyed the storyline nonetheless (besides, if we ruled out watching films due to predictability we'd never see another romantic comedy ever again!).

San Andreas is a fun disaster film that ticks all the right boxes despite being predictable for the most part. Visually the film really impresses with some amazing set pieces that can be up there with Roland Emmerich's epic disaster films such as 2012, The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day. If you liked those films then you'd do well to check this film out.

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Carla Gugino stars as Emma in San Andreas.
The San Andreas Blu-Ray which we received was the 3D set, which includes the film in 3D (For 3DTV's) on one Blu-Ray disc, and the 2D film on a second disc. We actually watched both versions, the 3D version first, and then the 2D version while writing the review. Needless to say you're likely to be impressed with either version.

Encoded using MPC MPEG-4 at the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio the 3D version of the film really adds a level of immersion and excitement to the film with some wonderful use of 3D during the destruction of the city with buildings collapsing and some narrow escapes. Having said that the film was converted in post and not filmed natively in 3D so we did notice some level of "flatness" to some background elements at times. Still, it's not enough to become a big disappointment. Fortunately we didn't notice any major issues with ghosting, nor even smaller ones. Colour reproduction is superb while the transfer exhibits excellent levels of detail and clarity even in the darker or underwater scenes.

Looking at the 2D disc and the AVC MPEG-4 video is also presented at 2.40:1 aspect ratio of the original theatrical presentation and as with the 3D version the clarity and sharpness of the video is superb with a little more vibrancy to the image given there is no need for the 3D glasses.

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Destruction in this film is jaw-dropping.
We did have a bit of an interesting time with the audio on this release, and it's something we're happy to either be corrected on, or will investigate further in future. While both discs contain English Descriptive Audio, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at 448kbps, it was the primary English track which had us a little puzzled.

On the 2D disc we had a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track which is an absolute cracker with frequent, active use of surround sound channels and plenty of work for your sub-woofer as well. Dialogue is given good prioritization and remains clear even in the busier scenes. When we switched to the 3D film however the audio was only playing back in our system in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps - we couldn't get the lossless track to play. Quite bizarre indeed, but we're happy to report that even this track was pretty impressive sonically.

Subtitles are available in English for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Greek? Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish. We sampled the English track and it was accurate to the on-screen dialogue with no major issues noticed.

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This tidal wave scene is jaw-dropping in the film.
Upon starting this disc we had a trailer for Pan (2:30), but there is some content related to San Andreas with the highlight being an audio commentary by the Director. So let's get into what's included with this release (the bonus content is on the 2D Blu-Ray disc).

Commentary by Director Brad Peyton: A solo commentary is often pretty tough, and this is Brad's first effort apparently. It's a pretty good effort as he discusses many aspects of the film including where various shots were filmed (most of the film was shot on the Gold Coast in Australia, but there was some location shooting in Los Angeles as well), the various actors and characters they play, which parts of scenes were real sets or locations, and which were visuals effects, and so much more. It's a pretty fine effort worth listening to.

San Andreas: The Real Fault Line (6:23/HD): This featurette looks at creating the massive earthquake scenes including a 5-minute single shot by Carla Gugino and using one of the largest water tanks in the world (on the Gold Coast mind you!) to film a scene with a building sinking into the water.

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Paul Giamatti is superb as usual in San Andreas.
Dwayne Johnson To The Rescue (9:24/HD):Dwayne Johnson has proven himself as a great action star, and this featurette focuses on his performance in this film including his stunt work including a rapel 150feet down a mountain, a large underwater sequences and other work. Of course there's a bit of gushing and praise from other cast and crew but there's plenty of on-set footage which makes it worth a watch.

Scoring the Quake (6:13/HD): This nice piece focuses on the score composed by Andrew Lockington and how he worked with the director to create memorable, emotional, music for the film. Of most interest is the way they used a broken piano and played some music through a synthasizer to give that raw edge to the music.

Deleted Scenes (4:40/HD): These eight deleted scenes are presented at 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec, but only with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio at 448kbps. Still, they are pretty complete (except the last one which is still greenscreen) although there isn't a great deal of content in these scenes that should have been kept in the film.

Deleted Scenes with Commentary from Director Brad Peyton (4:40/HD): The same scenes as above with the director discussing what the scenes were, and why they were cut. Worth watching them again for insight into their removal.

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Flying over the city destruction...
Gag Reel (1:22/HD): Typical mucking and goofing around on-set with some amusing moments.

Stunt Reel (2:56/HD): Stunt work is one of the most under appreciated aspects of films (and indeed we're highly supportive of an Academy Award for best Stunt work), and this featurette shows some raw footage of the stunts in the film. It's definitely worth a watch, and would love to see more of this on future Blu-Ray discs.

San Andreas is a fun disaster film that is pretty predictable for the most part, but with a gorgeous 3D presentation, some fun characters and big action set pieces with some jaw-dropping visual effects, this is a great film to just sit back, relax and not have to think too much. Fans of Dwayne Johnson should also love this film.


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.