You may have second thoughts booking that holiday to California after watching this disaster movie that imagines the infamous San Andreas Fault finally separating thanks to a series of devastating earthquakes.
Not to worry, though, as boffin Paul Giamatti is on hand to warn everybody about how bad the quakes are going to get, and helicopter rescue pilot Dwayne Johnson is zipping through the skies, rescuing his ex-wife (Gugino) from a crumbling skyscraper in Los Angeles before dashing off to save their daughter (Daddario) who has been left squashed in an underground parking garage by Gugino’s cowardly millionaire boyfriend (Ioan Gruffud) in San Francisco.
Filled with impressive CGI special effects – the falling buildings, swaying bridges and an exploding Hoover Dam are amazing to watch – this spends little time on characterisation and actually features very few characters at all, thinly sketched or not. While classic disaster flicks like The Towering Inferno, Earthquake and even The Day After Tomorrow had a few main core characters, they all also boasted a supporting cast you emotionally invested in (who didn’t cry when Fred Astaire was handed Jennifer Jones’s cat at the end of The Towering Inferno?), whereas here it’s really only Johnson and his family (and two British brothers played by Aussie Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Games Of Thrones’ Art Parkinson) who get any screen time at all. Unless you count Kylie Minogue’s bizarre five minute appearance as a bitchy woman who hilariously goes through a rooftop restaurant door to discover there’s nothing to step on but air.
With the two women mainly there for The Rock to rescue, this is his film from beginning to end as he flexes his facial and body muscles (though not necessarily his acting ones – as the Charlton Heston-esque hero, all he has to do is be manly and say ‘Oh my god’ a few times). Of course, if you’re a fan of Dwayne’s, that not a bad thing, and there is something quite comforting about knowing that the whole world may crumble, but he will still be standing there to the bitter end.
Is San Andreas suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Some of the main characters – especially Daddario – are in near death situations but nothing that should scare the over-10s.
This is a 12A certificate film and does feature the (not seen) deaths of some minor characters, and tense scenes.
Younger children may be upset/worried by the depiction of earthquakes and tidal waves.