We know, we know, we’ve had a slew of disaster movies in recent times and some of them have proved to be quite a disappointment.
Take the cliche-ridden “Poseidon” for example. The movie was so bad that it was nominated for a Razzie Awards in the Worst Remake or Ripoff category. To be fair, the producers aimed to sell the movie for its special effects as it was jam packed with so many CGI special effects that the audience can’t help but be awed by it. Guess the producer got what they wanted then, as they were nominated for an Oscar in the “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” category.
But let’s not forget “The Impossible”, the 2012 film which was based on real events that happened during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. “The Impossible” was a completely opposite of “Poseidon” (though both movies showed you what the sea is capable of if you dare to incite its wrath), as it focused more on the characters than the special effects. The movie told the story of the Bennett family when they were separated because of the tsunami. The characters were well fleshed out, and the acting got so real at times that I thought I was experiencing the aftermath of the tsunami too.
“San Andreas” is neither here nor there. The movie exists for the sole purpose of showcasing the many talents of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, which it definitely did. Don’t take that as a sign that the movie is not worth watching, because if you’re looking for something just to entertain yourself, this is it. No complicated plots that require you to squeeze your brain juice, but also not too much action that it gets your eyes crossed.
The movie begins with a heart thumping scene, where a random teenager, Natalie (Morgan Griffin), tumbles down a cliff while driving up a winding highland route. Fortunately, she is miraculously saved by Ray Gaines (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). You see, Ray is a helicopter pilot from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Search and Rescue Team, and based on the conversations in the movie, you get to know that he is awesome at doing his job.
You get a bit of family development during the 1st half of the movie, where the audience find out that Ray has a close relationship with his daughter Blake (played by Alexandra Daddario) even though his estranged wife Emma (played by Carla Gugino) is seeking for divorce. Why? You’ll find out further into the movie, where familial relationships get touched on and unexpectedly, it makes you feel for the characters.
Fast forward to the climax, the Earth (okay, not the whole thing, only from Los Angeles to San Francisco) starts moving because of a shifting tectonic plate. Shockwaves start to emit and the earthquake causes mass destruction, destroying human-built structures and causing tsunamis. People start to get hurt, human lives are lost, and our main family gets separated.
“San Andreas” tells the story of Ray who travels through one end of the disaster zone to another end, all in the name of reuniting his family. You will also go through Blake’s turmoil as she struggles to find a way to see her family again. Throughout the journey, you get to witness the street smarts of Blake, who actually acts as the saviour rather the usual damsel in distress. Instead, her traveling companion, Ben (played by Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and Ollie (played by Art Parkinson) are the ones who needed saving.
The movie is pretty straightforward, with a standard plot that you will find in every disaster movie. Here’s the formula: Family experiences internal problems, family drifts apart, family gets separated during disaster, family goes through the healing process, family ends up with a happy ending. It’s the same for “San Andreas”, but what makes it different from the rest is that it does not try too hard to be something that it is not. It positions itself as a light entertainment movie and that’s what you get with it.
If you enter the theaters expecting to watch a mind-boggling and earth-shattering movie, prepare to be disappointed. “San Andreas” is not that kind of movie, and it does not intent to make you think it is. If you enter the cinemas to just have fun, you’ll be thoroughly entertained for 2 and a half hours.
Oh, Ioan Gruffudd (Dr. Reed Richards from the 2005 “Fantastic Four” movie, in case you didn’t recognise the name) makes an appearance as Emma’s boyfriend/soon-to-be-husband Daniel Riddick. Nothing much there, but I guarantee you that you will start to develop strong feelings towards the character halfway through the movie. Not going to reveal if that’s a positive or negative thing, so go watch the movie if you want to know ;)
Watch the trailer here:
Released on 29th May 2015, “San Andreas” is now showing in cinemas nationwide.