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“san andreas” movie review

San Andreas

As I sat on the edge of my seat, biting my nails and shaking my head, at a screening of San Andreas in San Diego the other night, one thought kept going round and round in my head:

Why the hell did we ever move to California?

San Andreas is  poised to be the big summer blockbuster but, although I do love a good disaster movie — remember The Poseidon Adventure? The Towering Inferno? — this one struck a little too close to home.


In San Andreas, Los Angeles and San Francisco — my coastal neighbors! — are pretty much decimated by a 9.6 earthquake. The devastation and carnage are so horrifying, I can’t imagine why the filmmakers felt they needed to add 3-D to the mix. To me, those glasses put an extra layer between the audience and the screen, making it feel like they were going for the big effect rather than making it personal and really zeroing in on the humanity of this tragedy.

That point was made even more obvious by the fact that the whole story revolves around Ray (Dwayne Johnson) and his wife (Carla Gugino), who’ve recently split (get it?!) and need to find their daughter (Alexandra Daddario) in order to repair their broken (get it?!) marriage. I mean, people are dying by the thousands but they’re barely even acknowledged here. They’re simply background to Ray who takes off in a helicopter to save his own family.

Oh, did I mention that RAY IS A FIRST RESPONDER?

Yet the only ones he responds to during this catastrophe are his family members. That doesn’t feel very heroic.

It’s devastating to watch people simply disappear as the Earth cracks, the Golden Gate Bridge falls into the sea, skyscrapers tumble to the ground. Bodies are thrown around as carelessly as specks of dirt, buildings come crashing down like Legos. It’s especially sobering to watch all of this in light of the tragedy in Nepal.

I think part of me wanted to see this movie in order to learn what to do if an earthquake hits — because the prevailing theory is that, as the Cal Tech seismologist (Paul Giamatti) says in the movie, “It’s not a matter of ‘if;’ it’s a matter of ‘when.'”

In fact, the whole idea is so disturbing that, after just watching the trailer, Michael headed straight to Amazon and ordered disaster emergency kits for us and for my parents.

In the movie, people are told to “Drop, cover and hold on” indoors, and crouch down and brace themselves against a wall outdoors. This is solid advice, and you can find more of it on the Prepare and Help link on the movie website.

I’ll be curious to see what others think, and whether the consensus is different depending on where you live. Will Californians take it in stride or start packing? Will East Coasters laugh and say the West Coast is finally getting what it deserves? (Having lived on both coasts, I can tell you that’s just jealousy talking.)

As a New Yorker turned Southern Californian, San Andreas freaked me out. So, although I find Sia’s soundtrack cover of California Dreamin’ beautiful and totally haunting, I’m staying positive and believing, like Maureen McGovern sang in another disaster movie, “There’s got to be a morning after …”


  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I want to see this because of The Rock. He’s so handsome….swoon.

  2. I know I want to see this but I don’t know why. Disaster prep pros in the Bay area hope people will do as you did after seeing it..

  3. Yep, earthquakes completely freak me out. The Rock freaks me out a bit too so I am just not sure I can get myself to watch this one. Funny but I don’t like seeing movies about horrible things that really could happen to me so now that we live in Southern California that includes earthquakes and shark attacks. Great review though!

  4. I don’t care for big disaster movies, they scare me more than scary movies. I prefer a good spy movie for a summer blockbuster.Isn’t there another Mission Impossible coming out?

  5. I Like your point of view on this movie and your eview. I admit I only accepted my invite for the chance to see The Rock on the big screen but once in i was actually glued to the screen.

  6. This is way too scary for me…I think I’d never, ever visit Calif. again if I saw it. Yes, I’m a chicken.

  7. I think my husband would love this movie. I can’t do too intense. It’s just too much for me!

  8. Do you recommend seeing it? I was waiting for your review of this one and Aloha. Our family was going to see it tomorrow. Good idea?

  9. This sounds terrifying, especially the real life ramifications and especially in light of Nepal’s double quake. But I’ll bet the movie will hold my interest for at least two hours!

  10. Eeeek! In my former life I founded and ran an earthquake preparedness company (from 1987 to 1993). Made a small fortune and learned all I needed to know. Sold it and moved to Colorado. Duh! Love the Rock (in more ways than one) but not sure I want to venture to this one. Maybe a payperview?

  11. I will most likely feel the same way you do about him not saving everyone because my nature is to save everyone. I love the Rock so I will probably see the movie and I will probably start praying everyday that it never happens to my California friends and family.

  12. I don’t remember who was telling me about this, but I didn’t really pay much attention when they were. Glad you posted this. Now I want to see it.

  13. I didn’t want to see this anyways- natural disaster movies not a favorite seeing how I live in Hurricane Alley.

  14. aimee fauci says:

    Sia is an amazing artist. The video makes me want to see it.

  15. I couldn’t even imagine watching this if I lived near the supposed mess. Kudos to you for that!

    I love the (old) Poseidon Adventure! Gah! Still love it! I’m not so much into disaster movies at this point, but I like the points you made… primarily how UNheroic Ray is played.

    Cheers to NO disasters in your area. Ever!

  16. I haven’t seen the Rock in a movie in forever. I don’t like disaster movies that much, but sometimes they surprise me.

  17. I love The Rock, what a handsome man! I can’t wait to see this movie, it sounds really exciting!

  18. These movies tend to be a bit over the top for me. But he is handsome!

  19. I love the rock. No matter what he’s in I have to see it. So, I’ll definitely be watching this one!

  20. I confess that I have a copy of Lucifer’s Hammer by Niven and Pournelle that I read whenever I am abysmally depressed. Disaster novels cheer me up, so maybe I should try watching them when I am down in the dumps.

  21. I did see the trailer for this movie. It is pretty crazy that a city is in such close proximity to a fault line.

  22. I really want to see this movie because I love Dwayne Johnson! He’s a really great person and actor; sounds like it will be good!

  23. Oh man, I would love to see this. It looks great.

  24. I can’t wait to see this. My husband and I were thinking about seeing it tomorrow!

  25. Add me to the list of ladies swooning over The Rock! This does look like a great movie!

  26. I’m going to pass on this movie. No need to make me even more anxious. I’d like the link to your emergency kits though.

  27. I love the Rock I’m slightly obsessed with him there isn’t a movie he’s done I haven’t seen yet.

  28. Looks like a great movie. I bet it will be one well worth seeing.

  29. i have not heard of this movie, I like the :”Rock” I will have to add it to my movie list.

  30. Rachelle J says:

    I’m not going to run to the theaters to see this one, but I do plan on renting it. Natural disasters can be scary, but they are also part of life, you know the risks of where you live.

  31. I am sure it will be a hit. I can’t wait to see this movie when it comes to the theater

  32. It looks like a great movie! I just saw the first preview the other day and never caught the name of the movie!

  33. Oh my gosh! I can’t even imagine! I probably would have had the same reaction in your shoes! LOL! I can’t watch movies like that, but since I had to sit through the preview whilst waiting for the Avengers to start, I will say it did look like a good movie.

  34. Dudes are going for the action. Lol. the 3D glasses is a plus for them I am sure

  35. Can’t wait to see this – I like THE ROCK

  36. I think this sounds like a great summer blockbuster type movie! We’ll definitely be seeing this one in the theaters. Dwayne Johnson and Paul Giamatti are familiar favorites and the storyline will certainly have me on the edge of my seat! lol

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