San Andreas is a disaster movie through and through. It hits all the regular beats and uses common troupes of disaster flicks to deliver an entertaining movie experience. San Andreas is fun, thrilling, and over the top. While it’s not a movie I would see in theaters again, this is the type of movie that will play on cable networks for years to come.
The plot of San Andreas is simple. There is an extraordinary pilot who is having family issues. The long, overdue San Andreas Fault earthquake happens. Then the extraordinary pilot is thrust into a series of events to save his family. Yeah, it’s pretty generic stuff. However, San Andreas is not quite as dry as it seems.
The Rock (A.K.A. the extraordinary pilot) is actually really good and provides a great performance by his standards. Normally Dwayne Johnson exhibits qualities of The Rock persona in all of his roles. Yes some of that persona is present; however it is more below the surface. This performance felt more believable and less Rock-like. The central story is about Dwayne Johnson’s character, his daughter and her amazing friends, and his wife. This is the focus and everything else in the movie is peripheral.
An area of missed opportunity in my opinion was the seismologist team. Yes, they played a role in advancing the singular plot. However, there were never any ramifications for the team after the initial minutes of the movie. Essentially each of their scenes can be sums up as “It’s about to get real” and “We are all going to die.” It just seemed like it would be easier to suspend disbelief if the team that was in the same state as the main characters also experienced something other than tremors.
One area San Andreas really excels is its suspense. There are sequences in the film were I began to care about what happens to the main characters and feel for their safety. While the series of natural disasters was predictable (It’s a disaster flick), the danger each character encountered was still enthralling. As events escalated, I became invested in their struggles and needed to see who could make it out alive.
San Andreas is not a deep or engaging film, but it is fun and entertaining. This movie is mindless entertainment. Sure there are a lot of scientific reasons that go against several plot elements in the film. However, it is a movie and not all movies need to be taken seriously. It is over-the-top, but maybe it can raise awareness for earthquake safety. Movies are forms of entertainment and this film delivers entertainment.