Breathtaking special effects, human weaknesses and dramatic acting are typically exhibited in disaster films and “San Andreas” showcases them. While “San Andreas” brings an upcoming issue to the screen, it falls short of originality, making this yet another typical disaster movie.
The stage is set for the movie by starting off with search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, Ray Gaines, played by Dwayne Johnson, saving a teenage girl from falling to her sudden death after veering off the road. The film then goes to show a typical day in California, until the notorious San Andreas fault line triggers a 9.8 magnitude earthquake, the largest in recorded in history. Once the quake hits Ray Gaines must save his wife and daughter before he loses them again, this time to death instead of divorce.
With high hopes to watch a scientifically correct disaster movie, I was extremely disappointed. Not only did “San Andreas” provide incorrect facts such as saying the earthquake will be 9.8 magnitude when scientists expect it to be between 8.0 and 9.0, but they also portrayed extremely dangerous things to do during an earthquake and tsunami. At one point Blake Gaines, played by Alexandra Daddario, tells others to follow her inside of a faulty building aftering hearing the news of the approaching tsunami. This resulted in her and the others becoming trapped as the rooms filled with water.
Despite all the buildup for this movie, I was let down not only by the scientific incorrectness but also the message the movie sent. Ray Gaines, an experienced search-and-rescue pilot, spends the entire movie searching to save his wife and daughter, basically putting all of his skills to waste. He could have been saving others along the way, but he only focused on saving two people’s lives.
I give “San Andreas” a B-. I appreciated how the director, Brad Peyton, brought a current issue to the screen, but was immensely disappointed in the scientific incorrectness and the moral message. I left the movie dissatisfied, wondering what happened to the thousands of people Ray Gaines had the capability to save but chose not to.