San Andreas full movie review - A Faulty Disaster- Minor Spoilers
San Andreas is like that magazine you keep on your toilet for bathroom reading; you've read it repeatedly to the point to where you've memorized the contents, but no matter how many times you've read it you keep it around for its purpose to passively entertain you while you evacuate your bowels.
This is what San Andreas is: Passive entertainment?its plot is recycled and predictable and contrived, but it provides just enough unoriginal, but flashy, entertainment to keep its audience interested. In other words, this will be the movie you will begrudgingly watch on cable, when there is absolutely nothing else on to watch.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson portrays Ray, a tireless rescue helicopter pilot and recent divorcée. After the Hoover Dam is destroyed by an earthquake, he's forced to renege on a weekend trip with his daughter, Blake, who in turn decides to accompany her newly minted architect step-father, Daniel Riddick, to his place of employment located in San Francisco. While there Blake meets two affable British brothers, Ben and Ollie, and of course, a romantic subplot is appropriately initiated between Blake and Ben before the world goes to hell, fire and brimstone. Meanwhile, mother and ex- wife Emma is having lunch with Daniel's sister portrayed snobbishly by Kylie Minogue; Lunch is cut short when the San Andreas fault ruptures sending a powerful earthquake through Los Angeles sending Miss Minogue and other characters we're not meant to care about falling to their deaths while Emma aimlessly runs around scratch- free with all hell breaking loose around her impassively screaming, "Oh my God!" like some panicked modern-day valley girl who can't access a WiFi network on her iPhone. Once the earthquake hits San Francisco, Blake is abandoned by her cowardly stepfather only to be heroically rescued by Britain's finest, Ben and Ollie, who use a rusty, old carjack to free Blake from the grisly death of being flattened like an IHOP pancake. Upon seeing the destruction transpiring below through the window of his helicopter, The Rock cocks the People's Eyebrow and turns the helicopter around to save the day.
Oh yeah, I forgot?Paul Giamatti plays this really smart guy who teaches at CalTech University that is attempting to figure out how to predict earthquakes before they occur. He serves the purpose of informing the general population of California how screwed they are and mostly hides under tables screaming at others to do the same because obviously that is the safest thing to do when an earthquake of 9.5 magnitude befalls the local landscape.
Shortly after turning his helicopter around, Ray randomly finds Emma standing atop a mountain of rubble which used to be the Sky-rise restaurant where she was dining with Kylie Minogue. From here, the disaster caused by the split of the San Andreas Fault plays second fiddle to an overly predictable, substandard search and rescue story. The concerned mother, Emma, cries, "What about our daughter!? What about Blake!?" and Ray stoically replies, "We'll find her." This embodies about 85% of the stock dialogue between these characters during the search and rescue mission for their daughter which represents the second half of the film. During their quest, they crash a helicopter, they're held up by gun wielding looters, almost drive off into the San Andreas split, sky-dive from an airplane and jump a tsunami in a motor-boat with barely a bruise or scratch to show. They go through hell, and we as the audience are supposed to care. What I found exasperating was the general lack of awareness towards the countless numbers of others who lost their lives during the same disastrous events that our protagonists experience. Sure, we're shown a few, quick shots of frightened civilians running for their lives and wide-eyed aghast facial expressions before the forceful impact of a surging tsunami or collapsing skyscraper, but it isn't enough to profoundly affect even the most empathetic of movie viewers. You dismiss these unfortunate souls with submissive indifference, place your focus on the upper middle class family whose sole concern is locating their daughter and blindly accept the contrivances associated with achieving that mission's objective.
This film is laughably bad and in that respect, I'll give it some credibility. There were moments in San Andreas in which I facetiously chuckled when I most likely was supposed to wiping a poignant tear from my eye. There is a scene in this film towards the end when one of our main characters is presumed "dead" which is meant to be one of those "edge of your seat" emotional, tear-jerking moments where you already know the character is going to outlandishly pop back to life, say "I'm OK!" and the main characters wipe the nervous sweat from their brow replying, "Boy, that sure was close", while ignoring the plight of millions of others who lost their lives and loved ones. Anyways, there is a line delivered during this moment in the film which is delivered so terribly that it put me in state of noticeable uncontrollable laughter. A middle aged couple sitting nearby quietly and sternly admonished me with a, "That's not funny!" I tried to hold it together for them, but once that character popped back to life, I was back to laughing like a sadistic misanthrope who just witnessed somebody trip and fall over a pothole. There other moments in this film that will also result in a giddy giggle or an irritated grimace due to its reliance on absurdity which wholly serves as the only main motive for seeing San Andreas.
There is nothing original about this film as it is basically a recycled version of other disaster-related films, except this time, we have earthquakes representing the catalyst for mass-scale devastation instead of volcanoes, asteroids the size of Texas, global warming, etc. Overall, San Andreas is a "faulty" disaster of a film.