Directed by Brad Peyton
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, out now
After earthquakes destroy areas of Nevada, Los Angeles and San Francisco, helicopter pilot Ray Gaines must find his daughter who is lost somewhere in the devastation…
I went into San Andreas fully expecting it to be a full length embodiment of The Ultimate Disaster movie trailer from the nearly 40 year old Kentucky Fried Movie, and being realistic, in many ways that’s what it is. Every trope (or is that cliché?) is present and correct, with couple divorcing and being brought together by the tragedy, children managing to survive against unbelievable odds, complete rewriting of local geography (San Franciscans will probably have as much fun with that side of it as Brits have with stories set in London – although the subject matter is perhaps a little too close to home for them!).
But what makes it work is the fact that it’s taken seriously by the cast without it ever becoming so serious it’s comic, the relationships are given enough time to grow to become credible, and you do start to invest in the characters. It helps that there are some of the most stunning special effects that I’ve seen in a movie in many years – they’re powerful enough on Blu-ray and a 42” screen, so must have been overpowering in the cinema!
Warners have given the film a solid treatment for home release over and above the standard gag reel and deleted scenes. Director Peyton provides an genuinely interesting commentary that covers both the technical and story sides of the film; there’s a six minute feature on the effects (which could easily have been ten times the length!); a look at two key sequences featuring Dwayne Johnson (who, it has to be said, effortlessly carries a lot of the film); and, much to my delight, there’s a short piece on the scoring of the movie.
Verdict: A surprisingly enjoyable and entertaining disaster flick. 8/10