San Andreas: Still Fun Despite Not Being 100% Seismic Accurate

San AndreasIt’s almost summer 2015, but it wouldn’t be another year at the movies without the obligatory disaster film, would it?  No way!  This time out we have the heavyweight Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson leading the pack.  And while the trailers, with the exception of the slow, melodic take on “California Dreamin,” didn’t do much to whet my appetite for this one I was just hoping for at least some senseless fun.  Is that too much to ask?  If I could leave the theater this past Tuesday night with a few giggles had, then it would all be worth it.  Plus, I owe my girlfriend big time for dragging her out of the house against her will assuring her both Tomorrowland and Jupiter Ascending wouldn’t be that bad.  So I guess you could say, I felt trapped under guilt when I received the press invite for this one armed with the knowledge that she really wanted to see San Andreas.  And here we are.  Let’s chat about the chaos, mayhem, destruction and FX down below.

So as I already mentioned up above, San Andreas is an action-adventure “disaster film.”  It’s directed by Brad Peyton and written by a whopping four screenwriters as I guess you can say it went through a lot of rewrites to say the least.  That reminds me of the old joke how many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb.  Haha.  I digress.  In addition to The Rock, San Andreas stars Watchmen‘s Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Giamatti, Ioan Gruffudd and even singer Kylie Minogue.

San Andreas is set in California.  Duh!  Filming took place in both Australia and San Francisco.  And so you probably also guessed that this has to do with a devastating earthquake.  If you did, good job!  You’re a winner!  Nothing gets by you!  So in our story here, The Rock is a Los Angeles Fire Department rescue-helicopter pilot (say that ten times in a row really fast).  He and his ex-wife, portrayed by one of my favorites, the lovely Carla Gugino, defy hell and high water to leave Los Angeles and make their way up to San Francisco to find and rescue their daughter (Alexandra Daddario).  I can attest that even with no traffic that drive is at least six hours.  Haha.

 So where oh where do we start here?  I can go with the Harry Knowles approach and spend about 25 paragraphs or so getting my bearings together to no avail or I can just tell you the following straight up.  San Andreas was NOT the “disaster” film I thought it was going to be.  Surprisingly, it was pretty fun!  Was it 100% seismically correct?  Of course not!  However, that did not stop me from enjoying the hell out of this one like it was a delicious plate of biscuits and hot gravy, the complete opposite of how I felt sitting through that pig trough called Tomorrowland last week.

In San Andreas, my beloved Southern California is rocked by a powerful magnitude-9.1 quake followed by even stronger magnitude-9.6 in colder Northern California.  This all happened courtesy of the San Andreas fault line.  However, many residents of the state were lucky enough to heed the warnings of Paul Giamatti’s seismologist character, who just so happened to invent a technology after tragic events occurred in my other beloved state of Nevada that can predict earthquakes before they happen.  Now I hate to bust your bubble, but I researched this all and found the following two statements as it pertains to catastrophic events that happen in this film.  First, U.S. Geological Survey seismologists say earthquakes this large are near impossible because San Andreas fault is not long or deep enough.  And second, Seismologist Susan Hough said that earthquake-prediction technology hasn’t advanced as far as it is depicted in this film.  “We wish it were as simple as the movie portrays.  It isn’t.  Researchers have scoured every imaginable signal trying to find reliable precursors, but nothing has panned out,” Hough said.

So despite San Andreas‘ cookie cutter story and familiar plot lines, the chaos, destruction and somehow believable acting of The Rock and Paul Giamatti make for a fun time here.  I’ll get to the latter two in a moment, but quite frankly we have to be honest with ourselves here.  We come to these types of film to see the chaos and destruction of it all, whether it is believable or not.  There’s something about major cities getting wiped out that make us sick people smile, as long as its on the big screen and not in real life of course.  So in this respect San Andreas won’t disappoint.  There are plenty of holy sh1t death defying moments harmoniously mixed with the ridiculous ones to balance this one out.  I also got a kick while watching this thinking about how certain scenes were filmed or how the effects were pulled off.  While they weren’t always spectacular looking, for the most part it was technically sound.  The 3D adds a separate layer of depth to the picture, but nothing missed should you select to entertain yourself in a 2D only screening.  The 3D option is just out there to make some extra cash.  Who can blame the studios?  I can’t!

The little kid in me who wants to see things get blown up all the time kind of sidetracked me up above.  Let’s get back to talking about The Rock and the rest of the supporting cast for a moment.  Make no doubt about it, The Rock and Paul Giamatti’s charisma usually always makes for a fine product, but listen up guys.  You have some serious eye candy here with newcomer Alexandra Daddario, formerly of the Percy Jackson films, True Detective and the ONLY good thing about that wretched Texas Chainsaw 3D movie.  Alexandra simply sparkles on the screen, but other than her mad MacGyver tricks of the trade, her character is pretty wooden (I have a joke to insert here that I am refraining form making).  Probably the only one not really doing it for me was Carla Gugino, who not only looked different in this, but was kind of one-dimensional.  It was great to see Ioan Gruffudd get some screen time in this one.  He played the one character everyone wanted to see die in the film and I loved it!

So there you have it folks.  For all of you who were bored to tears last week in Tomorrowland, San Andreas is the perfect cure for those pre-summertime blues.  It has action, destruction and peril, damsels in distress and even a well placed F-bomb.  What more can you ask for?  I know.  I know.  You’re thinking story.  Don’t overthink this one folks.  It’s a disaster story following one family.  Go with the flow.  Fall in love with the humor and ridiculousness of it all.  And by golly, wipe that stupid grin off your face and have a good time with San Andreas.  That’s what these movies are made for.  And truth be told, I’m even more scared than ever about moving to California one day.  It’s not the economy, lack of job or the low social class I belong to that frightens me now, it’s those damn earthquakes that will rock your world out there!  Be careful peeps and enjoy!

San Andreas Movie Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

Comments are currently closed.