Poor humanity; it has a lot to face this summer. Along with sentient robots and hybrid dinosaurs (both manmade) the non-manmade forces of nature will also conspire against Earth in the upcoming disaster tentpole San Andreas. And not since 2011’s disappointing Battle Los Angeles has the Golden State taken such a beating. Though in this case, that beating will come in the form of a massive earthquake.
Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a rescue-chopper pilot and the California landscapes as themselves, the film posits a chilling, all-too-possible reality in which the infamous San Andreas fault finally splits in two and unleashes a magnitude 9.0 quake. In its aftermath, Johnson’s Ray must journey across the state to rescue his estranged daughter and, of course, a few in-distress civilians along the way.
Continuing the trend set by previous trailers, the third theatrical preview once again warns that everything will ‘fall apart’. And as Paul Giamatti’s character ominously predicts, “We can’t stop it. We can’t prepare for it.” Thus, much like other large-scale disaster flicks, such as The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, San Andreas is not so much about defeating or stopping a threatening antagonist – in this case, the quake – as it is about coming together to survive.
With his signature charm, charisma, and muscles, Johnson is most fit to lead the effort for communal survival and, ultimately, prevent humanity from collapsing along with the rest of the state – and potentially, the globe.
That being said, the film itself also risks collapsing under the weight of unoriginality if it simply reuses some of the tried-and-true tropes of past disaster movies. So far, with its haunting soundtrack and beautiful yet disastrous CGI visuals, San Andreas certainly seems to be an engaging and exciting adventure, but can it be anything more?
Probably nothing much more. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering summer popcorn blockbusters usually aim to provide fun, momentary rides rather than lasting experiences. However, with the father-daughter dynamic serving as the film’s emotional anchor, San Andreas could very well stay grounded and memorable despite any destruction overkill. And seeing as the film shows no signs of including capes or cowls, audiences may flock to the theater looking for a (temporary) break from superheroes this summer.
San Andreas hits U.S. theaters on May 29, 2015.