Earthquake disaster movie San Andreas delivers a big budget special effects spectacle, however it fails to register on any other level. Director Brad Peyton’s film looks good but after a while the CG-created mayhem bores to the point of tedium.
Dwayne Johnson is Ray, a Los Angeles Fire Department Air Rescue pilot who springs into action to save his family when a huge earthquake erupts along the San Andreas fault. Ray swoops from Los Angeles to San Francisco to rescue his estranged wife (Carla Gugino and Alexandra Daddario) as the west coast of the US crumbles around him. Meanwhile, Paul Giamatti barks out basic scientific exposition, Ioan Gruffudd plays a self-serving billionaire (simply because the movie needs a bad guy) and Kyle Minogue pops up for all of a minute.
The disaster movie is a Hollywood staple that has always delivered big stars out of their depth when catastrophe strikes. From Burt Lancaster and Dean Martin in Airport, to Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in The Towering Inferno to the earth-shaking world destruction of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, disaster movies have always built character and then delivered destruction. Irwin Allen and Roland Emmerich had an understanding of character but Brad Peyton doesn’t care about such things – he has ‘The Rock’ in a helicopter and that’s all he needs for the set-up. However, Dwayne Johnson is criminally underserved in a role that gives him very little heavy lifting to do on an emotional or a physical level. Alexandra Daddario fares much better as Johnson’s daughter, caught up in the mayhem when the earthquake strikes.
San Andreas is fun on a very basic level – there’s no emotion behind the special effects. You know that Dwayne Johnson will save the day and there’s little peril for anyone who isn’t a background actor. The special effects are admittedly very spectacular but mass destruction has never been so boring.
A director’s commentary, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes chunks deliver all you would want from a Blu-ray of San Andreas. However, like the film, everything on hand here is all a bit hollow.