Dwayne Johnson or “The Rock” is the name which unconditionally brings the audience to the multiplexes. Just like he saves the day for characters on the screen, he does the same for the producers of a movie. It should be the main reason why this movie, which has absolutely no relation with the Grand Theft Auto game that has the same name with one of its installations, manages to make an early impact. Along with ‘Fast and the Furious 7’ which is still running in a number of theatres, The Rock thus has another movie to go with the big racing-heist franchise.
Ray Gains (Dwayne Johnson/The Rock) is a Los Angeles Fire Department pilot who is going through a divorce, as his wife Emma (Carla Gugino) has found new millionaire boyfriend, Daniel Riddick (Ioan Gruffudd). Their daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is the most affected one from the strained relationship between her parents after the death of her sister, but there is a disaster waiting to make things more twisted. As a huge earthquake and its aftershocks break havoc and begin to go through the skyscrapers, the three members of the family have to reunite and save themselves, with Ray on the lead. Two brothers, Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and Ollie (Art Parkinson) also go through the same journey towards safety through the devastated world.
So, the answer to the question about The Rock being able to save the day might be a certain yes almost every time, but one can’t say the same about this movie. The Rock is certainly the biggest boost to this movie which rides on his shoulders, considering him as the muscular saviour. The rest of the cast including the talented Alexandra Daddario and Carla Gugino got much less to do rather than to ensure their own survival all between this destruction or to inform and save others – there is also the third option, just to die and make the earthquake and the tsunami a grand success, for the disaster movie demands the same. Alexandra still plays a lovable character that attains a certain amount of heroism when facing adversity.
The movie is visually engaging with its destruction, as it is safe to say that the graphics did manage to score with the power of CGI. There are some big destruction scenes with ship crashing right into the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge, buildings falling on to each other, water coming into the city with full force, and above all, the realisation of the obvious truth that all this destruction is not the end, but only the beginning. Still, this is not close to the end of the world like in 2012, but the destruction still happens to be a lot, as if the apocalypse is not too far away. The movie rather comes up with too much of this display of destruction at the expense of the human side, and this lack of development might be a big blow to future disaster movies.
Despite everything beginning nicely and going on without much trouble, ‘San Andreas’ slowly goes a few levels down as the movie moves further towards that end where we know who all are supposed to survive. There is no innovation with the plot. The initial pick-up is not really there throughout the two hour run-time of the movie.
There are also too many similarities to 2012, with a family in trouble, two children (one already dead in this case), the wife having a new richer boyfriend, and the husband who is the hero leading the way. It also reminds the viewers of the family from ‘Taken’. You only get a man from the fire and rescue department this time, but he is still The Rock.
‘San Andreas’ might be a long awaited addition to the genre of disaster movies which haven’t had many entries for a certain amount of time, but the fact remains that there is so much destruction in those superhero movies which makes one wonder if there is the need for a separate genre for the same, especially when it brings nothing new expect for more destruction with slight changes. ‘Pacific Rim’, ‘Godzilla’, ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Transformers’ have been destroying so much of our world on the screen that the audience might end up wondering which one is the actual disaster movie. The destruction of skyscrapers in movies is rather normal these days.
‘San Andreas’ might be in bigger trouble with ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ and ‘Jurassic World’ coming up in the next two weeks. The big movies like ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, ‘Fast and Furious 7’ and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ might refuse to leave the theatres too. It is tough time for ‘San Andreas’, and there is little time for this movie to do something at the theatres. The Rock impact is there, but that will fade soon enough, because people are rather not thinking much about the end of the world as they were during the years 2000 and 2012. You might still like this depending on how much you were interested in 2012, and how much your perspective has changed since watching that movie.