Catastrophically crumbling into the disaster genre.
Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson), The Los Angeles Fire Department search and rescue helicopter pilot, is tasked with disaster rescue after an earthquake hits near the Hoover Dam, destroying it. An even larger series of earthquake shake the entire state of California soon afterwards. Ray is informed his soon to be ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino) is in danger in LA, therefore immediately changes direction in order to save her. In the meantime, Ray’s daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario), is trapped in a car park in San Francisco by her mother’s current boyfriend Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd). Ray and Emma head to San Francisco and will do everything they can in order to save their daughter and those with her.
With several similarities to The Day After Tomorrow, San Andreas is packed full of your typical disaster movie clichés and sticks close to the ground with regards to its conventions. Whether that is a good thing or not, is up to you. But of course, destruction is obviously not enough for such a disaster movie. We are once again presented with a heroic protagonist, who, of course (my feminist side is kicking in) is male…But nonetheless, The Rock makes a charming leading man and does a great job. With those bulging, shiny muscles, he is able to perform things your everyday fireman can’t, such as simple things, like tearing the door off a car. That’s just how ‘The Rock’ rolls. Daddario also does a good job, though her ‘salon quality hair’, which stays immaculate throughout everything that is going on, is somewhat questionable (typical Hollywood for you!). She attempts to survive in San Francisco with her brand new, (who she has only known for that of 10 minutes), love interest Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), and his little brother Ollie (Art Parkinson), who is comedic in a cute child sense. As for Kylie Minogue’s ‘star appearance’…it only lasts a matter of seconds (“she should be so lucky!”). The plot is generic, but not as dreadful as some of the critics are making it out to be – it contains some heartfelt moments and a nice share of scenes that emphasise the strength of humanity, people helping others without having to think twice, for example.
Ultimately, San Andreas is a wake-up call. It doesn’t expand on the disaster genre or incorporate anything fresh, but nevertheless, it is a decent disaster movie. I feel there could have been more build up to the earthquake, and the destruction scenes could have lasted a little longer for more effect. Towards the end, it felt slightly rushed. Regardless of the timing, San Andreas was frightfully realistic and the CGI was certainly up to scratch. And if the whole thing just isn’t your kettle of fish, then Dwayne Johnson may just win you over with his flashy white grin and his enthusiasm to sell this media product, regardless of how run-of-the-mill that product is.