Also starring Carla Gugino, Archie Panjabi, Ioan Gruffudd, Kylie Minogue (!), and Paul Giamatti as Paul Giamatti. Directed by Brad Peyton, 2015.
Meanwhile, a group of scientists have developed a method of predicting earthquakes, confirmed and tested during the tremblor that took out the dam. They realize that Nevada was just the beginning- and that a whole cluster of enormous quakes are going to be hitting the San Andreas fault from Los Angeles all the way up into San Francisco.
When the quakes begin to hit, Ray first saves Emma from the roof of a crumbling building in downtown Los Angeles. Haunted by the memories of Mallory, a second daughter who tragically died, Emma and Ray unite and head north to save Blake-- just in time for the second round of severe quakes to hit San Francisco. Lots of buildings crumble, there are explosions, and a tsunami sends a container ship tearing through the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is one spectacular scene, almost thrown in as an afterthought, of Market Street buckling, then a chunk shearing straight upwards, and a BART train careening into the open air out of the subterranean cross-section as it rises from the depths. I was pretty much jumping up and down in my seat with unbridled glee when that happened.
The film ends with everyone safe and happy (well, the main characters, at least, who gives a fuck about anyone else, right?), and relocated to FEMA camps in the Marin headlands. Someone asks "now what?" and someone else answers "we rebuild," as a grotesquely large American flag unfurls from one of the remaining cables of the Golden Gate because AMERICA. Although going by a friend's comments, especially in the context of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, it may have been more accurate to respond "we let China rebuild."
In the film, Blake teams up with Ben and Ollie, a pair of English brothers who really picked a bad time for a vacation in San Francisco. They first flee from Daniel's office at 555 California Street to a "nearby" electronics store in order to connect with Ray via landline, since cell communications have been taken out by the first wave of quakes. They break into (but don't loot, because that's what bad guys do) what is pretty clearly to me Sky Dragon Appliance at 1128 Grant Street in Chinatown. They connect with Ray, who instructs them to get to the highest ground possible- aka Coit Tower -so he can rescue them via chopper. And that's where this movie gets ridiculous.
"We need a map!" Blake barks. Why? I immediately asked myself. Coit Tower is like, five blocks away.
I guess they didn't find that map, because the next time we see Blake, Ben, and Ollie, they're passing by an intersection where the street signs read "Greenwich" and "Hyde"- about a mile in the opposite direction of Coit Tower. It's there that they see Coit Tower (again, in the distance, because they've been walking away from it instead of towards it), which is still standing. But Telegraph Hill, upon which it rests, is in flames, so it's a no-go. Quick, where's the second-highest point in San Francisco? Ollie consults his trusty guidebook and informs them it's Nob Hill. He then launches into a book-fueled lesson about the history of Nob Hill, how 'nob' is short for 'nobility', and that it's locally known, derisively, as 'Snob Hill.' While all of this is true, I have to wonder how on earth they got a British character to talk about 'nobs' for five minutes without touching upon the simple fact that for Ben and Ollie, they may as well be saying 'Cock Hill.'
One thing I found myself pondering midway through the film was the casting of Ray's daughter, Blake. The upcoming Cameron Crowe movie Aloha has been taking a lot of flak for casting Emma Stone as Allison Ng, a character with a Swedish mother and a Chinese and Hawaiian father. Audiences are upset, and rightly so, that evidently no Asian/Pacific Islander actors could be cast in the part. In San Andreas, we have in actor Alexandra Daddario a young woman as ostensibly Caucasian as Emma Stone, who is meant to be the child of Dwayne Johnson, a man of mixed Black and Samoan heritage. Perhaps it didn't get as much publicity because Daddario, as Blake, is secondary to the comically over-proportioned action sequences; while Stone's iteration of Allison Ng repeatedly emphasizes her native Hawaiian heritage as a point of both pride and authority central to her character. Either way, it's disappointing, to say the least, that in 2015, in a world where Olivia Munn, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Kelly Hu, Shannyn Sossamon, Sanoe Lake, and hundreds of as-yet-unknown acting talents are available, Hollywood still chooses to stick with exclusively white actors.
Daniel's office is in the large high rise at 555 California Street. This building overlooks the intersection of Kearny & California, where James Bond drove a fire engine between two cable cars in A View To A Kill.
Also featured in A View to A Kill was the Lefty O'Doul drawbridge in China Basin. Since then, the Giants' AT&T Park has gone up nearby. Along with the Lefty O'Doul bridge, AT&T Park is a featured location in San Andreas- it's the best spot Ray and Emma can find to parachute into the city. It's an interesting, although perhaps not deliberate, commentary that the ballpark is still standing and relatively unfazed by the tremblors in San Andreas, given that 1989's real life Loma Prieta earthquake disrupted game three of the World Series between the Giants and the Oakland A's, causing minor damage to both the A's Coliseum in Oakland and AT&T's predecessor, Candlestick Park, in San Francisco.
You should be able to find your way to the Golden Gate Bridge without too much trouble. Once you cross that bridge, it's also relatively easy to find your way to the Marin headlands, where FEMA camps are set up at the end of the film (cause, sure, why not), and where you can find spectacular views of the Golden Gate bridge (the best time to go is at sunset, especially if you can catch a clear, fog-less evening).
Authenticity: 5/10- A lot like the bridge-and-tunnel folks you see milling about the city in Giants gear on game days. Seemingly familiar, and yet completely clueless about the actual city and its workings.
Cathartic Satisfaction Score: 10/10- Haven't we all harbored a secret desire to burn something we love to the ground? No? Just me? Okay, then. Forget I said anything. Awesome tsunami though.
Overall: The action is over-the-top, the dialogue is laughably melodramatic, and very little in this film makes sense once you scratch the surface. But complaining about that is like complaining about how fake the rocks look in Space Mountain. You're there for a hell of a ride, so shut up and hang on.