The trailer of this film really captivated me. I remember watching it and thinking “I must see this right now”. I don’t even know why. It’s not like it’s unique, there are plenty of apocalypse/tsunami/earthquake/survival films out there (thinking of at least ten right now). Anyway, three days after its release date, I was sitting in the cinema, waiting for this “candy-to-the-eye” film to begin. Until a couple of guys decided to move at the last minute directly in front of me. But that’s not the point.
Overall, I loved this film. Yes, it was oh so cliché and there were moments when I was thinking “oh common that is so going to happen. Of course.” and yes, it was a typical Hollywood film when the disaster brings the family back together, but so what? You need a bit of that once in a while, especially when you’ve been watching Britain’s Got Talent for the whole week.
Anyway back to the point. The story centres around Ray (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), a helicopter-rescue pilot, divorced from Emma and desperately trying to keep his daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario) safe, whilst simultaneously shooting death glares at his ex-wife Emma’s (Carla Gugino) new boyfriend, Daniel (Ioan Gruffudd). In Nevada however, a strong earthquake breaks out on the Hoover Dam. Seismologist Lawrence loses his fellow colleague in the incident, and is desperate to warn people there is more to come: the whole San Andreas Fault is shifting, destroying major cities along the fault line. Ray is sent to Nevada to help, but he is instead forced to save Emma in Los Angeles, where the earthquakes have already begun. Together they must find their daughter in California, whilst fighting tsunamis, earthquakes and plain fear.
Cliché plot line, we all agree. But in a way you learn to love these characters and root for them, even though there’s the stereotype strong guy trying to save his family and the two naturally strong women who fight through extreme fear to do amazing things, such as parachuting out of a helicopter (fine, there was no other choice, but you’d have to be seriously persuasive to get me to do it).
Blake also befriends two Englishmen, with very posh accents, which I found quite amusing. And yes, even though there was a love story where the timing for the “romantic part” was absolutely appalling, I still think it was cute (difficult to enjoy the only light-hearted moment when the whole cinema was laughing).
But coming back to the special effects. Woah. I can’t even think of a word strong enough to explain how great they were. The tsunami, views from the helicopter of falling buildings and cities in ruins. But what also shocked me was the fact this can actually happen. This film can actually come to life. As the professor said at the beginning of the film “it’s not a matter of how, it’s a matter of when.”
But overall a brilliant film, cliché but good plot line, amazing special effects and likeable characters.