by Sam Robinson
Rated M. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario. Directed by Brad Peyton.
San Andreas isn’t just a disaster movie, it’s a movie disaster.
Rolling out in summer blockbuster season, the disaster epic sees Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson starring as Chief Ray Gaines, a Los Angeles rescue helicopter pilot whose marriage is at breaking point. He spends his day job rescuing people from imminent death, but finds it hard to save his marriage. That is, until, a devastating earthquake hits California and Gaines accompanies his wife to rescue their daughter Blake (Percy Jackson’s Daddario).
Could the biggest earthquake the world has ever experienced be just what it takes to reunite this family? That is the question being posed to us here. And, due to a rather unimaginative script – the ride to the conclusion is rather dull. As a film, San Andreas is quite stilted, filled with cliches and predictable dialogue. It happily enters cheesy territory, but the cheese is overshadowed by the tragedy of the earthquake, and the two don’t sit well together. In the lead-up to the earthquake the obvious is pointed out – one character even shows us the tallest, strongest tower in San Francisco. Hint, hint!
I know that disaster movies are meant to be a fun escape where we watch property get damaged at ridiculous proportions, but I feel like San Andreas goes one step too far. The destruction here is relentless. ‘It’s just a movie!’ I hear you cry. Yes, that’s true. The problem though, is that this disaster is posed as reality. There’s no Godzilla stomping around, no Sharknado spinning ashore, even last year’s Into the Storm didn’t take itself seriously. But here we have a film based on the San Andreas Fault, releasing one month after devastating earthquakes in Nepal killed thousands. It’s too close to home.
Sure, Warner Bros. weren’t to know about the Nepal earthquakes when they planned the release, but it’s only four years since the Japan tsunami of 2011 and countless other natural disasters where real people died. Yet, crowds will happily go to a cinema and pay to see people get crushed by concrete blocks, thrown by waves, and wait for The Rock to rescue his daughter – while passing by thousands of helpless, suffering people. This is entertainment, and there’s not even a moral take away message. San Andreas just didn’t sit easy with me.
We live in a world where natural disasters are part of reality. We see them time and time again, and we cry out for answers. But is this the world God created? And what hope is there?
“It’s not a case of if, it’s a case of when…”
The Bible tells us that due to our sin, the world that we live in is fractured and in a state of decay. Romans 8:20-22:
‘For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.’
Earthquakes happen because this world is no longer as it was made to be. And all of creation looks to the hope of a new tomorrow. For those who trust in Christ, we look forward to the day when he will return to make all things new. He will restore this world to a place without natural disasters, without fear and without death. That world will be so good that it should spur us on to share the good news of Jesus with all our friends and family – so that we can share in that hope together.
Look, this movie isn’t really worth watching on the big screen, but if your friends are keen, go along and ask: Where is our world headed? It could make for a really great opportunity to share Jesus with them.
San Andreas is a mindless, predictable action flick that strikes a little too close to the bone. I’m giving it one-and-a-half out of five stars.
San Andreas will be released in cinemas everywhere later this week.