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San Andreas

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Disaster Action Thriller Drama 3D
1 hr. 54 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
May 29, 2015 (wide—3,777 theaters)
DVD: October 20, 2015
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

San Andreas Fault earthquake

earthquakes in the Bible

increase in earthquakes throughout the world as prophecied in Scripture

protecting family

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

courage in the face of great danger / bravery

importance of helping other / self-sacrifice

FEAR—What does the Bible say? Answer

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Issue of pain and suffering

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

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

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Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on Christian Answers—full-length motion picture.

failing marriages

divorce in the Bible

What does it mean to be “the husband of one wife”? Answer

Featuring: Dwayne “The Rock” JohnsonRay
Carla GuginoEmma
Paul Giamatti
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
See all »
Director: Brad Peyton—“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” (2012), “Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” (2010)
Producer: Warner Bros.
Village Roadshow Pictures
See all »
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.

Objectionable Issues

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

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

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,

“As for husbands, love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)

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.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—This movie was amazing! Very intense and even much better then I even expected they could pull off for a movie like this. I don’t like cursing in movies, and it certainly was NOT heavy (pertaining the comment above in the review), there were only about 5 curse words (only 1 F Bomb and 2 G.D.). And they were rather modest in showing off the women’s bodies, they could have been way worse with this, and there was no sex or nudity, except a few cleavage shots while they were struggling for their lives, but again it could have been a lot worse.

As far as the action, it is absolutely on the edge of your seat the entire time; if you can see it in 3D, do. The graphics are unbelievable, and it actually looks very real, even though the scenarios, of course, are hard to believe, but you don’t watch it for that. It was a little tough, for you felt like you were there, especially even the first 10 minutes of the movie. They did not show much blood or graphic gore, a lot of people did die, but they would just get hit with a cement block or swept away by water, and then you didn’t see them again. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Stephanie Smith, age 40 (USA)
Positive—I’m a sucker for great special effects. The special effects are the star of the show here. This is pretty much “2012” centered in San Francisco. I detected one “F” word, but I’ll admit, I got so caught up in the effects and the story and the characters that I really can’t remember other bad language, though I’m sure it was in there. I liked this movie, it was exciting and well done, and I cared about the main characters. Plus, I really felt I got my money’s worth. I wouldn’t take a little kid to this movie, it may be too intense. And if they see it, you’ll never get them to go to California, ever!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Maggie, age 68 (USA)
Positive—Loved this movie! It is very entertaining, and the special effects are great. There is a little language, but if a building were falling on you, most people would utter a curse. In other words, it was realistic without being over the top. Bottom-line: a feel good disaster movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
C. Nelson, age 55 (USA)
Positive—“San Andreas” grabs you from the very beginning with a terrific opening sequence rivaling any I have seen in an action adventure movie in quite some time. The great direction, cinematography, and use of CGI make up for the screenplay that has a few moments of corn in it. The cast is good led by a strong performance by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Paul Giamatti, right on the heels of playing the foil in “Love And Mercy” (the Brian Wilson story), lends his fine acting chops as the CalTech professor. He has a good track record, as I can’t think of a movie that he has been in that I didn’t like.

I don’t know why, but it seems every PG-13 movie of late has the obligatory f-word one time. In this case, it wasn’t necessary, as it is in most cases. You have already read about the other profanity issues of the film, so I won’t go into them. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jeff, age 58 (USA)
Positive—Great movie for kids. For adults, you must have a crush on The Rock or appreciation for special effects. The serious dialog with The Rock can be borderline funny to watch. I think they need somebody from above the camera for those emotional scenes to shoot The Rock with a squirt gun right in the eye. Maybe the same for that movie wife of his, too. Avoid eating corn or cheese before this movie, because you will be served plenty of it during the movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Dagnabbit, age 53 (USA)
Neutral—First, you must see this movie in 3D… not 2D. It’s the action and special effects that makes this movie what you’re gonna love about it. It’s a hold on to your seat and makes you yell “oh no” over and over. It’s watching quake after quake after quake and seeing people run for their life and escaping with near misses.

What you ponder about the movie afterward is how unrealistic this movie really is. My friends, when buildings fall down on you you’re not going to outrun it. The Rock did a good job, though, and I was glad to see it. Me being over 50 remembers “The Poseidon Adventure” and “Earthquake” in the 70s. Remember surround sound? Oh how technology has advanced. 3D, my friends, 3D.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Rockinron Corino, age 52 (USA)
Neutral—This film was amazing. I saw it yesterday. It was intense. However, I do want to touch on issues of immorality. In the film, Emma got mad at Daniel for leaving Blake. THIS SCENE WASN’T MORAL AT ALL, especially since she cursed and seemed to be using revenge. I don’t think Daniel should have been killed, and I think that nothing bad should have happened to him, whether emotional or physical or anything else, and I am getting this from being forgiving. It is important to always be forgiving, and Christ calls us to do this. And nothing bad should happen to him, anyway. And there was cursing.

However, this movie was mostly positive, especially since there were people praying, although I’m not sure if they were praying to God, and mentionings of God, and of prayer once, or more then once. There was other interesting moral things in the film, too, like rescuing, and people being nice to each other, as well as other things. This film was awesome, and I plan on maybe getting it on DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Stephen Jacewicz, age 19 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—This movie was great. Great effects and action. There is one scene that involves prayer but isn’t stressed. At the tents at the end for the wounded etc., they briefly show a prayer group. There were many uses of the Lord’s name in vain. I mean, you should never say that, but cut them a bit of slack. If you were in a 9.6 earthquake, you will probably scream OMG. If not, I applaud you.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Tyler, age 13 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Neutral—Haven’t seen this film but it reminds me of “2012”. Same special effects and all that, probably won’t see this one.
David Rodriguez, age 63 (USA)
Neutral—This sounds like a movie my husband and I would love to see, but we will not do so. God asked us to make a commitment that we will not support movies that use God’s name in dishonor. This movie could easily have been made exactly the same but omitted the profane use of “God” “Jesus” and “Lord”. There was no advantage to them for having used this kind of language. The same people would have gone to see it plus some that didn’t. Please join us in this commitment so Hollywood gets the message.
Myra Mansfield, age 56 (USA)

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