San Andreas Parent Review
It's everything you'd expect from a good old-fashioned disaster movie where thousands may die, but the core group always prevails thanks to a little ingenuity and a whole lot of perseverance.
California’s tourism board has some big names encouraging visitors to come to the state. But they might have to do some damage control after the release of San Andreas. This film is a classic disaster movie with a huge cast of characters that are crushed, drowned or otherwise killed in a massive earthquake that shakes up the entire western coastline.
Disaster movies have always had a certain appeal to audiences. But they experienced a hey-day in the 1970s with the likes of Towering Inferno, Airport and The Poseidon Adventure. Since then films such as Dante’s Peak, and The Day After Tomorrow and The Core have kept the genre alive. Now, true to form, San Andreas will have audiences shaking in their seats as a swarm of tectonic plate movement destroys everything from the Hoover Dam to the downtowns of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The story focuses on three groups. Ray (Dwayne Johnson) is a burly rescue-chopper pilot pulled into action after the dam breaks. Then, mid-flight, he gets a call from his estranged wife Emma (Carla Gugino) because she is caught on the top floor of a teetering building in Los Angles. Flying to her location, he snatches Emma from the rooftop just as the structure implodes. Safely inside the hovering helicopter, the pair gets another call. This one is from their daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) who is sandwiched between two heavy cement slabs in a parking garage in the core of San Francisco. Turning northward, Ray and Emma set off to find their teen and her two friends, brothers Ollie and Ben (Art Parkinson and Hugo Johnstone-Burt). This young trio tries to make their way to the highest point they can find in the city and send out a signal to Ray.
The third group is a collection of seismologists at Cal Tech who have been developing a computer program to predict earthquakes. Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) is the frumpy, bespectacled professor who heads the project. Yet in spite of the group’s intense efforts even he is gobsmacked by the precision with which the program works when the tremors unleash their power.
Like all good disaster movies, the fun (if you can call it that), is guessing who will be the first to go. Unfortunately rich businessmen are a sure fire target for falling objects. Kids and dogs on the other hand are usually safe. Thanks to special effects, Mother Nature’s acts looks remarkably convincing—though extremely sanitized. There probably isn’t more than a ketchup bottle’s worth of blood effects in this entire movie! Unfortunately the same can’t be said about profanities, which include one strong sexual expletive from an irate mother.
However the lack of blood (except for one gory depiction of glass impaled in a man’s leg) doesn’t mean this production isn’t full of devastation as buildings tumble, explode and rain debris down on people in the street. Characters fall to their deaths, are engulfed in flames and drown in a huge tsunami that floods the city.
It’s tense. It’s chaotic. It’s everything you’d expect from a good old-fashioned disaster movie where thousands may die, but the core group always prevails—thanks to a little ingenuity and a whole lot of perseverance.Directed by Brad Peyton. Starring Alexandra Daddario, Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino . Running time: 114 minutes. Updated May 13, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in San Andreas here.
San Andreas Parents Guide
More About the Movie: Learn more about the San Andreas Fault.
Talk about the movie with your family…
It isn’t often that an architect comes to the rescue. How does Ben use his engineering knowledge to solve a problem in this movie? Is it important to see people use their wits and intelligence in a crisis situation? What abilities does Blake have that helps save the group she is with? What kinds of skills might you need in a disaster situation? How can you prepare? Why is Ollie’s San Francisco guidebook more helpful than an online map?
What does this film imply about scientists? Does our society fail to heed warnings from the scientific community? How are cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco preparing for earthquakes? What would be the physical, economic and global fallout of such a huge event?
Why are audiences fascinated with disaster movies? What, if any, entertainment value does this genre have for you?