San Andreas: A Fault Destroys Our Cars, Plus a Lot More

Dwayne Johnson plays a Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot. This is definitely the guy you want saving you. Photo courtesy: Warner Bros. Entertainment

By Taylor Berrier

Buckle up, you’re in for one hell of a ride if you are seeing San Andreas this weekend on the big screen; extra caution to those paying the additional penny for 3D on those oversized jumbo screens. But over the years these pennies have grown into dollars, and these dollars add up. So we are forced to ask ourselves this very common question that we as consumers can’t possibly avoid in modern society, “Is it worth it?”

Eventually we find ourselves face to face with our friends in a heated argument trying to determine if one can even put a price on a person’s life. I don’t think we have any right to say how much value any one life has, but we love to see this played out in fiction and some one come up with a theoretical price, just for fun of course. Yes, all in the name of entertainment do we pay to see some of the same cinematic portrayals, whether it be disaster and desolation, or disease and pestilence, we’ve all witnessed in previous post-apocalyptic settings propagated by Hollywood (Day After Tomorrow, 2012, etcetera). In this particular instance, San Andreas caters to the fans of the former of those groupings.

***Spoiler Alert***

This is not about the earthquake itself. Or even a movie about earthquakes. The movie centers around Dwayne Johnson’s character, Ray, and his attempted rescue of his family: his ex-wife Emma, played by Carla Gugino, and his daughter Blake, played by Alexandrea Daddario.

The nerdy geologist from Caltech, Lawrence, played by Paul Giamatti, becomes almost buried entirely under the main plot of the movie, which essentially is The Rock coming to the rescue.

***End Spoiler***

Well, those weren’t exactly spoilers. It’s more of a disclaimer to the ticket buyer that if you are going solely to see the planet get destroyed with some computer graphics and 3D effects, then you will be vastly disappointed. Be aware, what you will get out of San Andreas is a uniquely put together film that involves a deeply emotional, soap-like story that attempts at tugging at the heart strings and tries to make you forget about the millions who had just died, and instead makes you feel happy for the handful that survived at the end

That being said, it’s hard to argue that the quake scenes of the monumental buildings tumbling down in dramatic fashion isn’t entertaining as heck. With the added adrenaline that comes almost autonomously with the Rock’s character acting and the suspense drawn from the many disastrous close calls that constantly build a top our protagonist’s shoulders, I’d dare say you have quite the cinematic experience.

However, I remained troubled by the ease of which death is portrayed in San Andreas. Though strangely, my thirst for destruction was not completely quenched. You don’t get any eye candy of anything but the state of California and a tiny portion of Nevada getting ripped to shreds. As the geologist Giamatti states in the film, “You will feel it on the east coast.” Sadly, those were not of any of the selected visuals used and aside from the dramatic stare Giamatti gives after his all-t00-brief PSA, I, being much closer in the midwest, was hardly shaken.

Overall, San Andreas offers more than what most would ask out of a disaster flick. This movie delivers every penny’s worth right back into the viewer’s pocket. It’s a roller coaster of intensity with action, suspense, and drama wrapped up tight to give a time bomb feel of tragedy. You will be moved, both figuratively and literally, by the performances of this great cast and the way they tell the story of San Andreas down simply to a singularity – subjectiveness. Only Hollywood can portray itself being destroyed in such a glibly swift manner.

Go see San Andreas this weekend, and if you’re a midwesterner, pray afterwards that they don’t make one of these where tornado alley is the center attraction, or even worse, a Twister reboot. Actually, that would be kind of cool with all the reboots going on this year. Afterall, San Andreas is able to teach us plenty of survival tactics that shouldn’t go unnoticed by any one living a life of paranoia that this might one day actually happen. And so, once more to close us out, the words of Paul Giamatti: “It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

Watch the trailer here: