Ambitious Canadian director Brad Peyton, after a sweet adventure aimed predominantly at the younger generation (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, 2012), has shot a real Hollywood blockbuster. He personally contributed to reviving and even refreshing the once popular action subgenre – the so-called disaster movie. In such films, according to the old custom, the script is mostly reduced to a stereotype, composed of added melodramatic elements, possibly enriched with a couple of more suggestive dialogues, usually heartbreaking content.
The tendentiously set concept is used to provoke at least a little sympathy with the victims of some (un) expected natural disaster. That is why pathos is always welcome and is often exploited in shocking film stories in order to more easily win more attention, and even affection, especially with the sentimental part of the audience.
The author of the screenplay, Carlton Cusa, approached the adaptation of the joint story, written by two collaborators: Andrea Fabricio and Jeremy Pasmore, in a strictly zigzagged manner. The structure of the narrative is based on the idea of what could happen to the inhabitants of California if a crack in the ground (or a fault as experts say, ie geologists say) called San Andreas were activated and thus caused terrible consequences. Manifested tectonic disturbances of greater intensity inevitably lead to a cataclysm, bringing enormous destruction in which human lives are destroyed in an instant, including rich flora and fauna, and material damage is measured by enormous sums of money.
At the center of the story is Ray (Dwayne Johnson), a former military pilot who now flies a helicopter for the Los Angeles Fire Department. As a member of the special unit, he is always ready and ready to engage in emergencies, when it is necessary to react quickly in order to pull out life-threatening people. A favorite among colleagues and appreciated by his superiors, Ray is trying to suppress the painful fact that he lost his daughter on rafting a couple of years ago under tragic circumstances.
Persecuted by a deep sense of guilt (he saved so many people from certain death, and he failed when it was most important to him), Ray became estranged from his family. Relationships with her husband Emma (Carla Gugino) have cooled down to the point of divorce. He desperately sought solace in his time spent together with his second daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), selflessly passing on his own knowledge and acquired survival skills in extreme conditions and under dramatic circumstances. Members of a dysfunctional American family will have the opportunity to get closer again and unite in the fight for naked lives, when nature shows its evil temper…
If I remind you that about $ 110,000,000 was invested in the production by renowned film companies such as Village Roadshow Pictures and New Line Cinema, it is not difficult to guess what was the bait for avid film lovers here. Lots of CGI effects, carefully balanced during the entire duration of the film (close to two hours). During the breaks while the ground is at rest, melodramatic segments are inserted, with a clear intention to shyly point out the audience’s map of inflated emotions. I emphasize shyly, because the characterization of the main characters is consciously neglected.
Realistically, human destinies are only of secondary importance here and serve as a necessary dramaturgical basis in the explicit depiction of catastrophe scenes. The shots in which the ground disappears underfoot and simply swallows everything in front of it really seem fascinating and encourage a feeling of helplessness.