San Andreas: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Stars in Run-of-the-Mill Disaster Movie
Alexandra DaddarioCarla Gugino...
A cataclysmic catastrophe. An estranged family in peril. Indescribable destruction. Thousands of deaths. A mad scientist who predicted it all. One humble hero who saves the day.
Have you seen this film before? Come on – just no, it’s ok. This is a safe space.
Named after the tectonic fault line that runs through most of California – a line that many seismologists believe will cause a massive earthquake in the near future in the West Coast are – San Andreas is unoriginal and downright cheesy, and there’s nothing in Brad Peyton’s production that you haven’t seen before. Written by Carlton Cuse, Hollywood’s latest disaster movie is heavy on the CGI and destruction and light on everything else.
The plot is simple. Devoted LA Fire Department Search & Rescue helicopter pilot, Ray Gaines (Johnson), utilises his various skills to save his daughters after a series of devastating earthquakes, all the while facing divorce from estranged wife, Emma (Gugino). The metaphor here isn’t the most subtle you’ll ever see.
In fairness, there’s a certain pull to the impressive visual effects and the sheer level of destruction, but the heart of the film – a father’s relentless battle to save his children from the grips of an unreasonable mother and her devious boyfriend – is rendered completely uninteresting thanks to the trite interactions between its two-dimensional characters.
The only person who comes out with any sort of standing is the larger-than-life lead. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s career has been peppered with bemusing role choices (see 2010’s Tooth Fairy) but his body of work as an action star continues to gain momentum, with solid turns in the Fast & Furious franchise. Despite the deep-seated faults of San Andreas, Johnson’s natural charisma carries him though relatively unscathed and his role cements his strength as a leading man. It bodes well for his upcoming role as D.C. superhero, Black Adam, in Warner Bros’ Shazam!, scheduled for release in 2019.
Johnson’s future prospects aside, San Andreas typifies the modern Hollywood disaster movie – for better and for worse. The visuals are quite something, but it’s all a bit hollow and there’s little satisfaction in its conclusions.