In the summer of 2014, my family and I were in San Francisco for a week because we were allowed to come with my dad on a business trip, and by where we were situated, some people were filming Terminator Genesis in the basement of our hotel, a movie that's still on my list of things to watch. I also heard from somewhere that The Rock was filming a movie there at the time, and I bet you it was this one.
Now, Dwayne Johnson plays a rescue lieutenant named Ray, but you need not know his character name. All the names of the people he plays in his films, Jack Bruno, Derek Thompson, Ray, whoever he was in G.I. Joe Retaliation and the Fast and the Furious Films, it's all the same to me. He stars alongside Carla Gugino who starred with him in Race to Witch Mountain which I'll review sometime. Basically, they have good chemistry, though Gugino's character Emma has just mailed divorce papers since she's now interested in a guy named Daniel played by Ioan Gruffudd. Oh, and she's in charge of Annabeth Chase. Or was supposed to be as Lawrence, played by Paul Giamatti, explains to a college course and to us the biggest real life earthquakes in the world that happened only 4 years apart and put both Japan and the U.S. to its knees, because of shifting tectonic plates, aftershock and the science that explains how the entire world can end up a giant rickety wave. And it will once again come to it's knees and Johnson has to find his family and get them out of the mess. I mean, when you are shooting a scene at the Hoover Dam, what do you expect is supposed to happen?
The movie opens up with a little, er, no, gigantic disaster of it's own, involving an innocent girl and didn't actually have the doesn't have the don't-distract-yourself-while-driving cliche even though I smelled it. And she SO couldn't have gotten luck like that. Couldn't the team have just used a ladder? That's what I was thinking about during the opening shot, but fortuantely, even though it doesn't fully sanitize itself, it doesn't stay on the completely flawed ground. One flaw I felt the movie had off the bat was that the family they have invented over these stars is not very interesting nor has original conflict, and this family works better when they are apart and trying to survive, mostly because these amazing special effects are there to throw them around. This probably would've been the most expensive movie ever made if a director like Michael J. Bassett who liked to use as little CGI as possible was in the chair. Trust me, the special effects bring real tension and look like an actual disaster with every building, up to the point where it looks like it was dangerous to film. It's gorgeous to see all the ways Johnson and whoever is with him can survive one one-more-second-and-we'd-be-flat-as-pancake stunt after another, and there's also a twinge of fortunate humour to lighten the mood when it seems that all hope is lost. One little flaw in the action though, is every disaster is exactly the same; after nothing happening for a while, there's a shake, things look bad, and things end up VERY bad. However, the movie makes up for that as it seems to try it's best to replicate The Day After Tomorrow with it's loud suspense and almost entirely succeeds.
So basically, there was not a single moment where I was bored with San Andreas, and I probably would've loved it if I didn't feel like I'd already seen it.