“The Earth will literally crack and you will feel it on the East Coast.”
Directed by: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Paul Giamatti
Synopsis: Know-it-all scientist Lawrence Hayes (Giamatti) spots seismic shifts of an unseen scale a little too late, leaving Air Rescue Pilot Ray on a dash to save his daughter’s life, and thousands of San Franciscans fighting for their own.
The most annoyingly English, Englishman ever. The cowardly new step dad. Mr. Science, who can’t spot the biggest earthquake of all time coming. The all-conquering hero, naturally portrayed by Dwayne Johnson. It’s by the numbers, cliché-ridden, large-scale destruction in San Andreas!
Any half-hearted attempts at making sense of the movie’s science through Paul Giamatti’s seismologist Lawrence are abandoned at around the halfway point, along with the character himself, who’s underdeveloped, underused, and a criminal waste of Giamatti’s talent. I can let the science go – we all came for the chaos, right? – but such blatant lack of direction for not only Giamatti’s character, but most others in the film as well is just plain frustrating. It’s a theme which reoccurs far too often.
As ever with disaster movies, there’s a strange satisfaction to be gained from seeing world-famous landmarks torn to pieces, and it’s those moments which provide the film with its strongest points. There are genuine moments of cinematic spectacle and hair-raising devastation. It’s just that as engaging as the destruction is, everything else in between the quakes and tidal waves is markedly dull.
Rating (out of 5):