2015, Brad Peyton (Republic of Doyle) -- cinema
No, you should expect a ton of characterization when seeing a movie about an epic earthquake(s), but, while I am not dissing The Rock, it is kind of ironic that the most amount of acting comes from Dwayne Johnson, known mostly for gleefully flexing his muscles, and Alexandra Daddario, known mostly for her beautiful, bright blue eyes and, well let's be honest here, her boobs. Seriously, Google Image Search her and the top 3 will contain a certain scene from True Detective. And these two play the extreme range of any character in the entire movie.
San Andreas is about the fault, that mostly unseen crack between the Pacific tectonic plate and the North American one. It shifts, it moves and all of California shakes. The movie is about the Big One, the shifting of the crack from LA up to San Francisco, causing the biggest earthquakes in history. Paul Giamatti, the scientist, is desperate to convince people it's going to happen. And it does. That's his role, talk science stuff and look concerned. Meanwhile, rescue ranger Johnson abandons his post to pluck his wife off a tower, to fly to San Fran to find his daughter. He has already lost one daughter, years earlier, and he will not lose another! Watch Dwayne emote this grief, by staring into space not a trace of it crossing his face! The pain! Daddario is said plucky daughter, having been abandoned by mother's jerk BF Ioan Gruffudd (don't worry, he gets splatted soon enough), leads a pair of british guys to higher ground, awaiting her father's rescue. She is practical, tough and who could say no to those blue eyes. Definitely not fate, because, as expected Dwayne and his wife just randomly run into her, even in the shambles that San Francisco has become. Insert terrible Michael Bay style rah rah, unfurling flags, we will rebuild ending.
You cannot help but mock these movies. When you think about them, they fail on so many aspects. Logic, character, plot always fail. But what draws you in is the ... death & destruction. Yeesh, bleak enough? What should draw you in is the survival against tough odds. The effects do look damn good, and it is a bonus point, that most is background material as we focus on getting our main characters from point A to point B. I enjoyed the movie a lot, but I doubt it will end up on my shelf next to 2012 and Deep Impact.