"California’s Worst Nightmare"
What You Need To Know:
SAN ANDREAS is a competent disaster movie, but tries to be too big for its own good. A major benefit is that experts say the San Andreas fault is ready for a big earthquake. However, the movie doesn’t elicit the same fear that 1990s movies like TWISTER and DANTE’S PEAK do. That said, SAN ANDREAS has plenty of exciting moments from beginning to end. The movie also has some positive Christian content. However, some characters are flat and some moments are unintentionally laughable. There’s also a constant stream of mostly light profanities in SAN ANDREAS, and some strong obscenities. So, extreme caution is advised.
(BB, C, Pa, PP, LLL, VV, S, M) Strong moral worldview about a family reuniting during a large natural disaster, with strong, sometimes overt Christian, redemptive elements and references including healing and forgiveness are coupled with strong moments of sacrifice, several churches are seen, a group of people pray the Lord’s Prayer at the end, woman says “Thank God,” some immoral pagan elements, and movie ends on a patriotic note, and the hero is a courageous first responder; 15 obscenities (one “f” word and several “s” words), two GDs, a couple profane references to Jesus, and about 26 light profanities; no gratuitous violence, but strong destruction violence, with multiple cities being nearly leveled, skyscrapers topple, boulders crush people, a man’s foot is impaled with rebar, another man’s leg gets stabbed with a giant shard of glass, people nearly drown, a man is seen on fire, and countless other deaths, plus people are seen with bleeding cuts, scrapes and bruises; no sexual content, but a reference to “second base,” and kissing between married and non-married people; no explicit nudity, but college girl in a bikini, and women wear cleavage-bearing tops; no alcohol use; no smoking or drug use; and, a cowardly man abandons a girl, but he finds his comeuppance.
SAN ANDREAS is a disaster movie about a family trying to survive when the 810-mile San Andreas fault running through the spine of California gives way and causes massive death and destruction. SAN ANDREAS has some exciting moments and good special effects, with some positive Christian, moral elements, but some characters are flat and some incidents unintentionally laughable. The movie also has a lot of light profanities and some strong foul language, so extreme caution is advised.
Ray Gaines (Dwayne Johnson) is a Chief for Los Angeles Fire and Rescue. His marriage to Emma has fallen apart since their youngest daughter died in a rafting accident. Ray has plans to drive his college bound daughter Blake to San Francisco for a volleyball match, but a terrible earthquake in Nevada forces him to cancel his plans with Blake. Instead, Emma’s new boyfriend, Daniel, the rich owner of a skyscraper, offers to take Blake to San Francisco instead.
En route to Nevada in a rescue helicopter, Ray receives a call from his wife, Emma, in downtown Los Angeles just as the city’s hit by a devastating earthquake. Ray turns his helicopter around and goes to Emma, whom he saves from falling skyscrapers just in time. Meanwhile, Blake in downtown San Francisco also faces danger, but is aided by a young British man named Ben, and his younger brother, Ollie.
Ray and Emma make their way to San Francisco to save their daughter and maybe even their relationship. What they don’t know is that things will get a lot worse before they can make it to their daughter.
SAN ANDREAS is a competent disaster movie, but tries to be too big for its own good. A major benefit the movie has is that experts say the San Andreas fault is ready for a big earthquake. That said, the movie doesn’t elicit the same level of fear and excitement that 1990s movies like TWISTER and DANTE’S PEAK do. The CGI destruction is impressive, but the contrived obstacles become utterly ridiculous, like those in the 2009 disaster movie 2012. The family’s struggle to reunite isn’t anything new and doesn’t offer much levity, but the sentiment is appreciated nonetheless. If SAN ANDREAS could have grounded itself in its characters more, increasing the emotional stakes, the movie would be much more involving. For instance, the daughter’s character is purely two-dimensional and offers nothing to the movie other than the fact that she needs to be saved.
SAN ANDREAS doesn’t take lightly the devastating destruction it shows. Only a few jokes are inserted. In fact, SAN ANDREAS at times plays like an expensive PSA, including moments where a geological professor played by Paul Giamatti stares into the TV cameras warning of the impending earthquakes, nobody cares because California really doesn’t have very many destructive earthquakes. These moments were received with more laughter than the movie’s actual jokes at the reviewers screening MOVIEGUIDE® attended.
Ultimately, it’s the viewer’s expectations that will determine his or her enjoyment of such a movie as SAN ANDREAS. The movie has plenty of exciting moments from beginning to end. So, those looking for a thrill ride probably won’t be disappointed. However, the movie has a constant stream of mostly light profanities, and some strong foul language. So, extreme caution is advised.