HOLLYWOOD—Disaster movies are quite fun. Notably because they take the idea of the extreme and throw every possible facet in the audience’s face. The latest flick to be unleashed to the audience is Brad Peyton’s “San Andreas” starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
The first thought that popped into my mind when I saw the trailer for this movie is what in the world has Roland Emmerich cooked up this time? The director has been responsible for such disaster flicks as “Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow” and “2012.” Those flicks resonate at the wicked effects that weather related events can have on our future.
The narrative of the movie takes focus in the state of California which has been known for having earthquakes. There has even been buzz that in the near future the state could suffer an earthquake so catastrophic that it could cause the Golden State to split from the other states and fall into the Pacific Ocean.
Johnson portrays Ray, a Los Angeles Fire Department search and rescue helicopter pilot. His personal life is not in the best place as he finds his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) wanting a divorce, and his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) heading to college in the fall.
“San Andreas” slowly ramps up the action, as an earthquake in Nevada is only a hint of the chaos that is headed in our characters direction. This is expertly predicted by seismologist Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti). If the spectator is looking for a narrative masterpiece, “San Andreas” does not deliver; this isn’t a tale that we haven’t seen before where our protagonist becomes the hero the world needs during a desperate time.
Ironically, this flick echoes that same sentiment seen in many disaster flicks which involve keeping the family unit in tact. Johnson plays hero rescuing his wife from a situation where in normal circumstances she would have been a goner. The special effects for this movie are on a grand scale; it’s an absolute treat to watch this chaos unfold on the big screen. I’d argue the 3D effect is not as effective as the studio and filmmakers may have predicted.
The movie does heighten the fear of weather related events like earthquakes. California already experienced a bit of devastation with the 1994 quake, but this flick might exaggerate the possibilities, which the viewer is all too aware of. The fun of “San Andreas” is getting immersed into the chaos and connecting with our primary protagonists in my opinion: Ray, Emma and Blake.
The film is a visual spectacle on a scale unlike anything I have seen on the big screen in quite some time. “San Andreas” proves with technology a mediocre movie can be excelled to new heights.