Posted May 27, 2015 by editor in Film Reviews

San Andreas Review


Oh my God. These three words are uttered so often during the turmoil that the cast of this film go through that it starts to lose all meaning, if you were able to believe them in the first place. In a similar vein to The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, San Andreas sees the east coast of the United States crack under the pressure of its rock plates, bringing the largest recorded earthquake the Earth has ever seen.

And so follows 2 hours of close calls and near misses as our heroes run away from constant and unfathomable chaos. These heroes consist of Dwayne Johnson, a helicopter pilot with a huge amount of rescues attributed to his career. We’ve also got his divorced wife, the daughter who loves him so, and the boyfriend of the ex-wife.

Carla Gugino plays Emma, the wife of Johnson’s Ray Gaines (his name is literally GAINZ), while Alexandra Daddario of True Detective fame plays Blake Gaines, the daughter who Johnson has brought up to face any possible scenario because plot. There’s also the appearance of Ioan Gruffudd as the architect who is seeing ex-GAINZ.


Though no disaster film is complete without the scientist who knows everything, Paul Giamatti’s earthquake specialist Lawrence says pretty early on that “scientists don’t know everything”, trying to explain that us, with our NASA and our Instagram, somehow failed to notice a further edge on the plate below Las Vegas. Oh well, everyone makes mistakes.

You can’t fault anyone on screen, as they do everything to the best that they can. Indeed, there are some great actors on the screen here. It’s what they are given to work with. Every trope is thrown at the team, every cliched line, traumatic back story and anticipated conclusion is hauled into San Andreas, and if anything it’s a testament to the writers for getting it all in there.

Lines like “you gotta take a look at this” as a disillusioned student stares at a lot of intimidating red dots on a computer screen are the bread and butter of San Andreas, and even Dwayne Johnson’s natural charisma can save it from disaster (pun intended). And, while some of the hovering shots over San Fran and the Hoover Dam are a joy to watch, and work in the 3D, other shots are lost on it.

The entire film is stuff falling over, but this can get lost in the madness of the 3D visuals. It’s tough to appreciate it when the 3D is actual chaos, and not just tying to convey the destruction. This, coupled with the in-your-face American flag at the end of the film is a little to much to swallow.

But San Andreas isn’t without it’s merits. Johnson does put in a good effort as the leading man, and does well to carry the film, while Daddario steals the show as his clever daughter. Albeit, at times her know how is shoved down your throat, but all in all she gives the standout performance. But, these and Giamatti’s never listened to but always correct scientist aren’t enough to save the film.

San Andreas does what it says on the tin. It brings a huge amount of disaster and a leading man out to save his family. My one query is whether Mr. GAINZ got fired for taking a government helicopter to save his daughter? Oh well, I’m sure we will find out, as the film is left open for there to be a sequel. I know… Oh my God.

2 Stars



Chris Droney