Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
San Andreas Fault earthquake
earthquakes in the Bible
increase in earthquakes throughout the world as prophecied in Scripture
courage in the face of great danger / bravery
importance of helping other / self-sacrifice
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
What does it mean to be “the husband of one wife”? Answer
|Featuring:||Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson … Ray
Carla Gugino … Emma
Alexandra Daddario … Blake
Colton Haynes … Joby
Ioan Gruffudd … Daniel Reddick
Matt Gerald … Harrison
Archie Panjabi … Serena
Will Yun Lee … Dr. Kim Park
Art Parkinson … Ollie
Vanessa Ross … Disaster Resident
Kylie Minogue … Beth Riddick
|Director:||Brad Peyton—“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” (2012)|
Village Roadshow Pictures
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
“Where will you be. Who will you be with.”
Chief Ray Gaines (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is the leader of a helicopter search and rescue team in California’s San Fernando valley. Separated from his wife Emma (Carla Gugino of the “Spy Kids” franchise) his hopes of one day reuniting with her are dashed now that she’s seriously dating millionaire industrialist Daniel Reddick (Ioan Gruffudd). Ray’s last connection with his ex is his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) but instead of spending time with dad she is now on a stopover in San Francisco having tagged along for the ride with her mom’ new boyfriend before beginning College in Seattle. Ray of course does not believe his life could get any worse.
Lawrence is a CalTech Professor, played with critical gravitas by Paul Giamatti, and he believes he has finally discovered a way to predict earthquakes and, after a devastating one at Nevada’s Hoover Dam confirms his research, he concludes that perhaps the biggest quake in history may be headed their way.
Blake, while in San Francisco meets and befriends Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his younger brother Ollie (Art Parkinson). Little does she know that she will soon need their help, and her theirs, as the major earthquake everyone fears will hit California one day, finally arrives.
The San Andreas fault-line, mostly invisible to the naked eye, reveals itself as the region’s tectonic plates shift and collide causing widespread destruction throughout the West Coast in the form of collapsing buildings, homes, streets and bridges. No place seems to be safe and in the midst of this chaos Ray, already in the air, is determined, against all odds, to find and hopefully save both his wife and daughter.
Similar to “2012” in that in the middle of calamity the film is really just focused on a small group trying to survive, cutting down greatly on the suspense factor, “San Andreas” is as large in scope as you can imagine a film about the ‘Big One’ should be. The special effects are, for the most part (more on that later), awe-inspiring especially the gigantic tsunami, an unexpected but welcome addition to an earthquake film. In fact, the two real stars of the film are the special effects and the always likable Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Not a family movie there are several areas of concern that call for consideration first.
Violence—Thousands of people die on-screen, while most are crushed by debris they also perish in a variety of ways including; burning, mass drownings-one of which is seen up close and realistic making it all the more heart wrenching as well as people falling from swaying/collapsing buildings. Blood is seen infrequently and mostly accompanying injuries such as glass being lodged in a leg, a waitress and others bleeding from their wounds. One victim is seen alive but impaled through his foot before he meets his fate. Looters with guns are seen at the beginning of the quakes to be taking advantage of the situation and one even holds up his gun to someone’s face. The deaths in the film mostly take place from a distance or ‘en masse’ but this does not make it any friendlier a film for children whose parents, I hope, will exercise prudence and protect their young and impressionable minds from this horror.
Language—The Lord’s name was taken in vain about 27 times: God (4), Jesus (4), Go*d*** (3), Oh My G_d (16). Other words include hell (2), sh** (12), as*h*** (1) and the f-word once when Emma spits it out in anger over the phone. Unnecessary in the disaster films of Hollywood’s past, some of which were exceptionable films by the way, the PG-13 rating can now be counted on to give license to foul language not permissible at home.
Sex/Nudity—Kissing, the few opportunities that allowed this, was light and brief. Ray’s daughter Blake is seen in a bikini by Daniel’s pool early on and later the director does not seem to miss an opportunity to focus on the tops of several of the female characters, sometimes from a downward angle, however nothing untoward in any respect happened in the film. There was also an instance of mild sexual innuendo when Ray mentions ‘2nd base’ in a joking manner when landing at a stadium.
Professor Lawrence admits that all that can be done now is to “pray for the people of San Francisco,” but in fact no one is ever seen praying. The film did not give us a chance to see somebody praying which, given the circumstances, would be the most natural, not to mention best, thing to do. The ‘power of prayer’ is, after all, promised to those that are His.
“Ask, and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7
Daniel Reddick has a company, money and all the power that comes with it but, based on what he valued most during this emergency, little else. The Bible warns us of the utter futility of valuing earthy possessions as well as the rewards of living a life pleasing God.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
Likewise, Daniel is given multiple chances to prove his worth, and yet each time he chooses instead the cowardly path. The Word of God speaks clearly on this subject but perhaps none so strongly as from the last book of the Bible that attests to the fate of those that are lost forever who are led by, interestingly enough, the cowards.
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
Although Ray and Emma are separated their relationship is an amicable one, a rarity seen in movies today, and when the quake first hits he doesn’t hesitate to go to her aid. Ray is still taking his commitment to her seriously, and he is living up to the self-sacrifice that the Apostle Paul wrote about when he said,
Emma narrowly escapes death by listening to Ray when he tells her to “Just get up against something sturdy.” Though he wasn’t talking about himself, he might as well have been. Emma might not even want to admit it but her ex is the rock that will see her through this trial just as in reality the Rock, that is our God, will see us through anything this world deigns to throw at us if we only trust Him.
“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, , and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“San Andreas” is, admittedly, a ‘B’ movie since it contains many of the requisite components of one; lightweight characterizations, predictable relationships, clichéd dialog, improbable escapes, expected resolutions and heartbreaking farewells. However, it is also a thrilling ‘B’ movie with large scale 3D effects that are impressive to say the least, contrasted against small scale CGI effects (i.e. Helicopter, speedboat maneuvers, car falling) that are at times laughably much less so. Visuals combined with solid performances by the star leads (The Rock, Gugino, Giamatti) make this a fun ride if not an overly deep one that I can recommend to fans of this genre to see, but the repeated misuse of our Lord’s name should sour the experience for many Christians.
Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Moderate to heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild to moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.