San Andreas Film Review

Film Review by Jarred Tito                                                                                                      
San Andreas

The Premise
In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his estranged daughter.

The Review
I have heard the term, ‘Disaster Porn’ being thrown around in at least two separate circles regarding this film but didn’t really know what it meant so I thought I’d google it. [Noun: When the media puts horrific or tragic images on a 24 hour loop then refers to the events portrayed as an "unspeakable tragedy."]

Right from the get go this Hollywood block buster sets out to destroy any disaster movie competitors, past or present then leave them in its wake by creating one of the most catastrophic, earth-shattering, city leveling, sky scraper destruction movies of all time. “As destructive as a Godzilla movie but without Godzilla” was my first impression. Yes this movie sounds like Disaster Porn.

The movie starts as it intends to finish leaving you on the edge of your seat wondering if anyone or anything, for that matter, will survive. A reckless teen drives her car across the Hollywood hills when she is struck by debris from a minor tremor sending her and her car into a spectacular head long tumble for what seems to be an eternity down the side of a cliff that might challenge even Godzilla’s immortality.

Incredibly, she and her mobile phone manage to survive virtually unscathed. But will that matter as she is left teetering over the final part of the cliff’s deadly edge? I was sure that she was a goner but luckily for her I don’t yet fully understand the complete and utter fantasy power of New Line Cinema and its Hollywood ‘just in the nick of time’ protocols. It’s a Bird…No! It’s a plane… No! It’s the Rock! AKA Dwayne Johnson, “I’m just doing my job, ma’am” helicopter pilot extraordinaire ‘Ray’ the rescue guy here to save the day. Chief Raymond “Ray” Gaines (Johnson) manoeuvres his chopper into previously unchartered and helicopter unfriendly spaces that would make stuntman Evel Knievel soil his pants. He then charges a lackey with the responsibility of pulling the teetering teen to safety. Unusual for the main action hero to be resigned to mere flying duties? Unless, of course, you’re Tom Cruise in Top Gun or Harrison Ford in the Millenium Falcon or Ray Gaines from the CA Special Rescue Unit.

Needless to say, it’s not long before “Ray” is forced to exit the chopper and rescue both the teetering teen and the now, ‘hanging by the seat of his pants’ lackey. Like Frank Poncherello from the popular 1970s tv show ‘CHiPs’ (Californian Highway Patrol) Ray’s cool head and handsome looks take charge of the desperate situation and in true suspenseful form he completes an impossible rescue just before the car plunges into the rock valley below. Luckily the car didn’t explode when it hit the bottom or I would have thought I was watching an episode from CHiPs. By the way, hovering a large helicopter directly over the car while it teetered over the edge of a cliff didn’t seem like the best course of action. Wouldn’t the extreme wind generated by the propeller have blown the car over the edge? Cripes Ray!

I don’t want to spoil the plot of this not so complicated disaster story so I won’t go into any other ‘seat of your pants’ rescues except to say that “Ray” is kept rather busy throughout the movie as he and his ‘ex-wife’ search for their daughter who is lost in the city San Francisco which is collapsing around their feet as the raging San Andreas fault line takes its toll.

The movie does include other semi-heroic characters besides Ray like Caltech Seismologist ‘Lawrence Hayes’, who manages to warn the city of San Francisco ‘after’ the first destructive quake hits and then again, moments before the second and most destructive quake hits. Then there’s Ray’s wife, Emma Gaines (Carla Gugino) who needs rescuing before she helps rescue their daughter Blake Gaines (Alexandra Daddario…step aside Megan Fox), is also rescued quite a few times before she herself can go onto rescue Ben Taylor (Hugo Johnston) who rescued her earlier on in the picture who then has to rescue his brother Ollie Taylor… and so the rescue list goes on.

There are a lot of rescues during this film - and all bar none are just in the nick of time. Strange that…but then earth quakes are strange.

The Verdict
If you’re into rescue movies and have a fixation with the destruction of large buildings and cities then this is a must see for you. The computer generated images of buildings being destroyed are honestly the best that I have ever seen in a movie and are more severe than the Japanese and American Godzillas put together. The destruction in this movie must have left the good folk of San Francisco, which have seen this movie, a little ‘shaken up?’ The CGI is that good.

The story-line is basic as is the drama, but I guess this film’s real star is the earth quake itself. (Sorry Dwayne.) The humans in this film are entertaining at times but I think the quake took the cake…or should I say ‘shook the cake?’

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 28th May 2015
Rating: M – Contains offensive language
Duration: 114 minutes 
Genre:  Action
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino, Colton Haynes, Archie Panjabi, Will Yun Lee, Kylie Minogue
Director: Brad Peyton (Cats and Dogs, Journey 2)

The Extras
Due to the Nepal earthquake, the film's marketing has been changed to help people know what to do in the case of a deadly earthquake. The people behind the film are also going to donate a very large proceed to help Nepal and the earthquake victims.

San Andreas is the name of the tectonic fault line that runs through most of California. Seismologists have been predicting for years that California is due for a massive earthquake caused by this particular fault.

Universal Studios Florida remodeled their "Earthquake" ride to make it a parody of movie effects. The ride is called Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride... Starring You! (2008) In it, riders participate in a movie called "Mutha Nature". At the end, everyone is rescued by Dwayne Johnson.

Although they play a father and daughter, there is only a 13 year age difference between Dwayne Johnson and Alexandra Daddario.

Notable earthquakes that have occurred on the San Andreas Fault include:

1857 Fort Tejon earthquake: About 217 miles (349 km) were ruptured in central and southern California. Though it is known as the Fort Tejon earthquake, the epicenter is thought to have been located far to the north, just south of Parkfield. Two deaths were reported. The magnitude was about 7.9.

1906 San Francisco earthquake: About 267 miles (430 km) were ruptured in Northern California. The epicenter was near San Francisco. At least 3000 people died in the earthquake and subsequent fires. The magnitude was estimated to be 7.8.

1989 Loma Prieta earthquake: About 25 miles (40 km) were ruptured (although the rupture did not reach the surface) near Santa Cruz, California, causing 63 deaths and moderate damage in certain vulnerable locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Moment magnitude was about 6.9. The earthquake also postponed Game 3 of the 1989 World Series at Candlestick Park. This quake occurred on October 17, 1989, at approximately 5:04 P.M. PDT.


2004 Parkfield earthquake: On September 28, 2004, at 10:15 A.M. PDT, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the Parkfield area. It was felt across the state, including the San Francisco Bay Area.