BY Molly Congdon
The infamous San Andreas fault is a continental transform fault that extends about 810 miles through California, and forms a tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. It divides into three segments, each of which carries a different degree of risk for an earthquake.
In 1953, geologist Thomas Dibblee astounded the scientific establishment with his conclusion that hundreds of miles of movement could occur along the fault. Thus forms the seed for our latest big-budget disaster film.
At the beginning of “San Andreas,” it’s a normal day that quickly turns disastrous when that notorious fault triggers a record-breaking (and obviously devastating) magnitude 9.6 earthquake.
As Earth’s mouth rumbles open, the tall glassy buildings of Los Angeles start to crumble and collapse like they are made of papier mâché. Fires erupt on the tops of remaining structures like a flame on a match and smoke clouds the air in a thick dusty gray mist. And, as if that wasn’t enough to deal with, simultaneously a tsunami threatens the San Francisco Bay Area, and a chasm forms between these monstrous disasters. The Golden Gate Bridge snaps in half like spaghetti before being thrown into a pot of boiling hot water.
It’s a pretty impressive sight to see, especially in the safety of your cushy seat in the movie theater. I can only imagine what the 3-D version would be like; it would probably be worth the money.
Ray Gaines (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), an LAFD search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, must navigate the destruction from Los Angeles to San Francisco to bring his estranged wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), and their daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), to safety. Nice of him to cut and run on the citizens of his city who pay his salary in their greatest moment of need, but family comes first.
The Rock (no pun intended, I’m sure) has his work cut out for him in this action-packed thriller. As usual, he has a presence about him — that could have something to do with his take-no-guff attitude or his mountain range of muscles — but he simply wasn’t enough to mold this movie into one of the greats. Alas, it’s another film revolving around cataclysmic events that is all about the effects and not so much about the other aspects that make movies worth dishing out $12.50.
The movie is literally dripping with action (I mean, it is a disaster flick); it definitely doesn’t lack excitement, just substance. The plot was extremely predictable (not to mention completely unrealistic), most of the dialogue is flimsy cheese and the character development is severely lacking. It kind of ruined the whole I’m supposed to be utterly horrified by what I’m seeing aspect for me, though you might disagree.
Unfortunately for “San Andreas,” watching it rekindled my recollection of “The Day After Tomorrow,” when a father (Dennis Quaid) risks everything to save his son (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is stuck in New York City when an epic icy blizzard strikes. Gaines does the same for his daughter, scouring to save her as he makes his way up the coast, from Los Angeles to San Francisco — minus the snowshoes and down jacket.
One thing is for sure, it really makes you want to move to California!
“This is the type of movie you want to see on the big screen. I really enjoyed the action, but the story was lacking.”
— Wendy Crannell