In the beginning, we are introduced to the Rock’s character Ray. We get to see him in his element as a strong and capable rescue chopper pilot and then a bit later we get to see the softer side of his character as he sat reminiscing about happier times with his family, reminiscing brought on by him being served divorce papers. We are also introduced to Dr. Lawrence Hayes, Executive director for Earthquake studies at Call Tech and his colleague Dr. Kim Park who travel to Hoover Dam in Nevada in order to test the predictive quality of their technological innovation that has been designed to predict earthquakes. Unfortunately, as they find out it is very effective, an earthquake strikes the county, and Dr. Park loses his life but not before heroically saving a young girl. It is this event that sets up the movie and sets certain events in motion. This event causes Ray to be unable to drive up to Seattle with his daughter Blake, because he has to be on duty. Amidst all of this he learns is soon-to-be-ex-wife Emma is moving in with her new boyfriend, Daniel, though she and Ray are not officially divorced. Ouch! Anyways, soon-to-be-stepdad now needs to fill in for Ray and take Blake to Seattle (which of course does not sit too well with Ray) after a brief detour to San Francisco first, where she meets a hot British guy Ben, and his little brother Colin.
1st thing I learnt: Little siblings have more game than their older siblings and are great wingmen.
However, the quake at Nevada proves to be no one time event and another earthquake erupts. Despite his crushed heart, Ray has to go and save soon-to-be-ex-wife from the earthquake (quite handy to know someone who has a helicopter at this point, eh?). While all of this is happening, soon-to-be-step dad abandons Blake in a parking garage after the latter gets stuck in a car. To be fair to soon-to-be-step dad, he almost got his foot chopped off while trying to get help for Blake, so he probably wasn’t thinking straight. Right?
2nd thing I learnt: During a crisis (especially in the movies) chances are when someone says they will be back, they won’t be.
After Ray saves Emma (using the helicopter he’s supposed to be saving other people with I might add) his trapped, abandoned daughter calls him to let him know that she’s in trouble. Dad tells mom “we’re going to get our daughter.” Turns out hot British guy Ben and lil bro have that covered for the moment as they return to save trapped abandoned daughter, after Ben realised she was in trouble after noticing douchebag Daniel walking away form the scene in a daze.
Remember when I said we should have sympathy for soon-to-be-stepdad because he almost dies? I take it back. The guy is just a douche. He ruthlessly throws a guy who was holding on to a pillar to keep himself safe from the earthquake, into the mêlée in the street during a second eruption, so he (Daniel) can use the pillar as his own safety net. But no worries, karma eventually caught up with Daniel dies a death suitable for a douchebag.
3rd thing I learnt: Under the table, door posts, pillars and anything sturdy are safe places to be and things to hold onto during an earthquake (although this one didn’t stick as I promptly bolted outside when Barbados had a tremor a few weeks after I watched the movie).
Following the earthquake a tsunami hits and persons run helter skelter trying to avoid it (4th thing: it is most definitely pointless to attempt to outrun a tsunami). Ray and Emma move heaven on earth to find Blake and they eventually do. She, Ben and Colin are taking cover in one of Daniel’s architectural masterpieces (oh the irony).
5th thing: During a tsunami or upon warning of an incoming tsunami, always try to make it to high(er) ground.
However, before they can be reunited the building collapses further into the water, leading to Blake getting trapped. She is trapped underwater for what seems like 5 minutes, and resigned to dying the same death as her sister all those years earlier decides to give up and falls unconscious. Ray, not resigned to losing another daughter the same way as the previous, tries all he can to get her out. He eventually does but she isn’t breathing. Before he has the chance to perform CPR properly, he Ben and Collin realise it isn’t safe in the building and Emma uses the speedboat they used to get to Blake to get them all out. Then, Ray performs CPR on Blake repeatedly. This scene was very moving, as Ben, Ollie, and Emma gave up on Blake being resuscitated, but Ray kept trying and she eventually wakes up.
6th thing I learnt: Having your brain deprived of oxygen and lungs filled with water for several minutes isn’t as life threatening as originally thought.
Overall it was a pretty decent movie, more than a little predictable and cheesy at times, but it was a good watch, especially providing some useful tips on what should be done during an earthquake or a tsunami (hold on to something sturdy, get to higher ground somehow) many critics of the movie stated that the magnitude of the quake should have cause much more damage than it did and maybe for the technical folks that may be an issue but it wasn’t for me. I enjoyed the back story of the family and I also particularly enjoyed the toughness of the daughter in the film who learned a few tricks from her father about safety in natural disasters.
However, while I am a sucker for happy endings in films, I think how this show ended with the daughter being resurrected like Lazarus was a bit over the top and unrealistic. Ok, we get the producer’s play on irony by putting daughter #2 in a similar if not the same position that killed daughter #1. We get that the father had to overcome his demons and guilt over not being able to save daughter #1 to save daughter # 2 but really, really? No one would have and should have a 1) survived being underwater for so long 2) survived without air to the lungs and blood to the brain and if 1 and 2 by some miracle of God did happen the person would have had some form of brain damage, none of which occurred.
Despite this, San Andreas is definitely a movie that I would recommend for anyone. The main plot is undoubtedly about natural disasters and we can learn useful survival tips from it, but I believe the movie is equally about a family’s journey from overcoming a past tragedy to avert another and finding their way back together.
Movie Rating: 7⁄10