In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his estranged daughter. Starring Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson, Carla Gugino, and Alexandra Daddario, this film addresses what might just happen should the big one hit California. To the credit of the marketing people for this film, they adjusted their promos to include information about how to prepare for natural disasters after the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal drove home the importance of doing just that. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Will S. comments, “…in this film the interplay between the action scenes and the family scenes keep you emotionally involved.” See his full review below.
By Will S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
I like this movie a lot. It is a good disaster film. San Andreas is directed by Brad Peyton and stars Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino and Paul Giamatti. While this movie is well done, it doesn’t quite compare with movies by the disaster movie king, Roland Emmerich. After seeing one of Brad Peyton’s other movies, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, I had my doubts, but he does a pretty good job here.
There are three reasons why I enjoyed this film so much. First, are the special effects. Special effects in a disaster movie can make or break it. In this film, the CGI is eye-popping. At certain moments, it feels like there is a little too much going on all at once. But at the same time, it makes you feel as if you are in an earthquake, which probably feels pretty overwhelming.
The second reason I like this film is the acting. The acting is pretty strong for a disaster movie. Sometimes in disaster movies, it’s all about stunts and action sequences. In this film, the acting makes you feel invested in the characters and you are really rooting for them.
The last reason I like this film is the story. Though corny at times, when adding humor or romance into the big earthquake scenes, the interplay between the action scenes and the family scenes keeps you emotionally involved.
There is a bit of a downside. The dialogue, characters and the some of the story are very predictable and filled with clichés. While some of the lines are clever, they often seem out of place. There are lots of pretty standard panic, action lines such as “Run,” “Hold on,” and similar. The main characters are well fleshed out, though some of the cast seems like simple stereotypes representing selfishness and greed.
They spend a lot of time showing the destruction of the earth quake and less on the aftermath of the quake, such as having the main heroes trying to survive riots, gas leaks, crumbling buildings, etc. With all the devastation, it is a bit dull seeing the Golden Gate Bridge collapse for the 1000th time in a disaster flick.
It is humorous that scientific accuracy is thrown out the window. For example, they say the earthquake is a 9.1 but, according to what I’ve read, that magnitude cannot happen on the San Andreas fault.
I give San Andreas 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. If you like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Paul Giamatti and disaster movies, you’ll like this one.