By Laurie Coker
Earthquake, Towering Inferno, Twister and Poseidon Adventure are just a few of a long like of disaster movies. There is little fresh about recent cataclysm showings, expect perhaps for special effects. Time has given directors opportunity to create big as life images of earthquakes, floods and dystopian worlds. Computer imagery put the earth and all potential catastrophes in the hands of any willing filmmaker. What computers can’t do, however, is write worthy stories or choose a quality cast. San Andreas, starring Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino is a nonsensical mess that defies science, presents a preposterous premise and does little except laughably entertain in its unabashed, brazenly idiotic two hours of run-time. San Andreas is perhaps best described as a fun film to trash.
Johnson plays Chief Ray Gaines, a rescue specialist and helicopter who is estranged from his wife, Emma (Gugino). His daughter Blake (young beauty Alexandra Daddario) is about to head off to college. His ex has a new beau (Ioan Gruffudd) and he obviously wants his family back. Ray and Emma split because one of their daughters drowned on a river-rafting trip with Ray. This is the predictable foundation on which San Andreas rides. We get a reporter, a seismologist (Paul Giamati) and a few superfluous characters, but little more and then the earth quakes. Hoover Dams collapses starting a chain of fast moving of events and computer generated devastating happenings unfold. California crumbles and San Francisco stand to suffer the most damage.
To say that San Andreas is a preposterous would be giving it far more attention than it deserves. In fact, writing this review gives the film more attention than it warrants, but I digress. As far as CGI goes, director, Brad Peyton, offers some pretty impressive stuff. It is just all so asinine and coupled with faults (pun intended) in science, realism and storyline the movies serves more as a point of ridicule rather than of entertainment. One would argue, however, that an ability to ridicule something is entertainment.
Had I not seen her in others films, I might poke more fun at Gugino, but she can act, just in this she looks as over the top and foolish as everything else. Johnson does what he does best (look physically impressive) and tries his hardest to show a range of emotion, turning an already hokey film hokier. It is the kids in the film who perform best – put there to bring in younger audiences. Gruffudd is all but wasted, and honestly his actions and ultimate ending are overtly predictable like the rest of this grievous sap-fest.
San Andreas, rated PG-13, will not go down as the worst in its genre, but it won’t find itself anywhere near the top. Even my eleven-year-old grandson said he thought it was completely silly – also stating, that Ray should have save far more people than just his wife and daughter and a few others. Holes abound in more than just the shifting tectonic plates. I am placing a D+ in my grade book. It is mockery worthy.