“San Andreas” may be visually entertaining, but the script is a hollow shell with only one premise — CGI-generated earthquakes are fun to look at on a big screen.
The thin plot pits Ray Gains (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), a gifted rescue pilot who is separated from his wife Emma (Carla Gugina), against one of the most destructive earthquakes to hit California, all while dealing with the loss of his oldest daughter, his wife’s new boyfriend, Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd), and the distancing relationship with his younger daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario). In the midst of Ray’s family moving away with Emma’s new boyfriend, each member experiences the devastating earthquake brought on by the San Andreas Fault and must race out of the city to survive.
The bottom line is that this forgettable film is filled with cliches that weaken its one strength —the visual effects. The film should be commended for its visual appeal, but that cannot compensate for a poor, predictable script in which the entire family is bound to survive the disaster. Moviegoers who love action films will not be disappointed with the realistic earthquake scenes, but, even they may grow bored since most of these scenes are reminiscent of previous disaster films, such as “2012.”
As predicted, it is the disaster that reunites the estranged husband with his family, as it reveals he is the man who truly cares about them. The script even goes so far as to make the new boyfriend a complete coward, not caring about the family’s safety, just in case it wasn’t apparent enough that Ray was the better man.
Ultimately, action film lovers will enjoy the backdrop of watching the destruction of California once again, but toward the end will wonder if it would have been better to simply watch an actual earthquake for free on PBS.