2 Pages of Dialogue
Stars: Dwayne Johnson (“The Rock,”) Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson, Archie Panjabi, Paul Giamatti and Will Yun Lee
Director: Brad Peyton
Scriptwriter: Carlton Cuse
Composer: Andrew Lockington
Cinematographer: Steve Yedlin
New Line Cinema/Warner Brothers
Rating: PG 13 for action and devastation scenes and be aware of scenes that may cause vertigo
Running Length: 120 Minutes
What if the San Andreas Fault (Western United States) would become active again and flex its muscles a great deal (human muscles are flexed a great deal in this film.) This is the premise of the movie: the “what if” becomes reality and several states could separate from the United States to become their own floating island. Wow, on the Richter Scale, this is about a 10? Can anyone predict this? In the film, scientist Dr. Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) and his associate, Dr. Kim (Will Yun Lee) do, but not in time.
There have been other earthquake films, including the Charlton Heston/Ava Gardner “Earthquake” (1974) that are coherent compared to “San Andreas.” The basic plot in “San Andreas” has Dwayne Johnson (“The Rock”) as Ray, a Los Angeles Fire Rescue 'Copter pilot, estranged from his wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), who is now dating wealthy Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd from television’s “Forever.”) Emma and Ray’s daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is the one needing rescuing throughout this movie that is like “The Perils of Pauline.” For each situation---tsunami, fire, falling objects, being trapped, etc.---Ray says a curse word (audience cue for another action scene) and away they go. There are so many cliffhangers in this film the word, itself, loses meaning. It is good to see Archie Panjabi ("The Good Wife") in the movies and here, she plays a TV reporter, but isn't given much to do. Child actor Art Parkinson steals his scenes as a pre-teen who can't wait to date girls.
Acting? The actors faced the camera and said their lines, dramatically. With the exception of a scene early in the film concerning the scientist, Dr. Kim (Will Yun Lee), which was good, but this type of acting did not continue through the movie. The soundtrack was appropriately loud, and one single had the audience’s attention and that was “California Dreaming” sung by Australian singer Sia Furler. As far as special effects, they are actually a bit cheesy and editing wasn't good, either. “Godzilla” or"Pacific Rim" seemed better in the disaster mode. There are clever touches, though, such as using a city tourist guide to find locations when streets are covered with rubble.
I was disappointed. Somewhere there is a family story, but it doesn't quite come out. Also, what could have been a what-do-do in case of an earthquake becomes a no-matter-where-you-are-you-are-doomed scenario. If Ray isn't in the vicinity, you are lost.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner