San Andreas

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
San Andreas Movie Poster Image
The Rock can't quite save clichéd, violent disaster movie.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 40 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Teamwork and caring for others (especially family) are valued and modeled, even if there are also quite a few examples of people not helping each other -- and/or saving themselves.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ray is a heroic search-and-rescue helicopter pilot. He spends the entire film using all of his skills and knowledge to save his family and a few others. His daughter is strong and self-reliant. But some characters are just out to help/save themselves.

Violence

Constant rampant destruction -- collapsing buildings, rubble, people getting crushed (or nearly crushed). Tsunamis and flooding, with characters drowning or nearly drowning. Helicopter crash. Countless innocents killed (albeit pretty bloodlessly), as well as a notable supporting charater. A metal spike goes through a foot, and a shard of glass gets stuck in a leg, with bleeding. A man on fire. Gun pulled. Punching. Various minor cuts and bruises. References to the main character's daughter dying in an accident.

Sex

A young man and woman kiss. Young woman shown in a bikini and tight-fitting tank top. Estranged married couple discusses their relationship.

Language

Infrequent language includes one "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t." Also "a--hole," "goddamn," and "oh my God" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism

Pepsi can. Shots of AT&T Park with ad banners visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that San Andreas is a disaster movie about a huge earthquake in California. For anyone who's scared of earthquakes (particularly folks living in California), it could be a disturbing or even terrifying experience. There's rampant large-scale destruction: tumbling buildings, people being crushed/nearly crushed, floods, people drowning, etc. There are countless (mostly bloodless) casualties, though some blood is shown -- notably when a metal spike goes through a foot and a shard of glass winds up in someone's leg. A gun is shown, and there's some fighting; a supporting character dies. A young man and a young woman kiss; she's also shown in a bikini and a tight tank top. Language includes one use of "f--k," a few uses of "s--t," and some other words. While massive destruction and disaster are the main points of the movie, there are underlying messages about teamwork and helping people, and the main character is a heroic pilot who risks himself to save others.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11, 13, 15, and 18+ year old Written byTheTrueParent May 29, 2015

The film shows heroism and compassion for other lives

The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) shows great compassion for people as he pilots to save his daughter but also others in California. San Andreas is a fult line in Calif... Continue reading
Parent Written byDan G. May 29, 2015

Lots of violence and crude language make this unsuitable for children

A movie about major natural disasters could be expected to show a lot of serious danger, death and mayhem. And this movie delivers. There is a lot of terrible... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old May 29, 2015

Great but extremely violent action thriller is not realistic, bloody, fun, exciting, terrifying, and awesome.

This very violent action thriller is about a man named Ray. Ray is a helicopter pilot and trained for search and rescue. Then a earthquake company notices that... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byStaticmonkey May 31, 2015

Earthquake

Commonsensemedia always writes their review for the people who have never seen violence in their life.14 is way too old for this movie.There are positive role... Continue reading

What's the story?

Los Angeles Fire Department search-and-rescue chopper pilot Ray Gaines (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) once lost a daughter in a river rafting accident, and now his wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), is divorcing him. Ray still has a good relationship with his surviving daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario), though his weekend with her is canceled when a big earthquake rocks Las Vegas. A scientist (Paul Giamatti) studies the quake and predicts that an even bigger one is going to strike all of California, along the SAN ANDREAS fault. While he tries to warn the world, Ray and Emma team up to rescue Blake from a crumbling San Francisco before it's too late.

Is it any good?

Despite some truly sensational visual and sound effects -- and despite The Rock's undeniable star power -- San Andreas relies early and often on a pack of disaster movie cliches. Director Brad Peyton and Johnson previously worked together on Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; it's possible that helped them develop a good working relationship. Or maybe Johnson simply knows how to act in the context of massive visual effects; either way, when Johnson is onscreen, the movie settles into comfortable silliness.

Otherwise, San Andreas crams exposition, coincidence, and bad shortcuts into the mix with half-drawn characters, and it's hard to care. Even an acclaimed actor like Giamatti can do little with his severe, warning-filled dialogue, and Ioan Gruffudd is stuck in the role of Emma's new, cowardly boyfriend, whose sole job seems to be to raise a cheer from the audience when his death scene comes. In the end, for better or for worse, rampant destruction wins the day.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about San Andreas' violence. What's the appeal of disaster movies? The enormity and frequency of massive-scale destruction can be overwhelming. Is this kind of violence more or less upsetting than gory horror movies? Why?

  • Is Blake a role model? She's shown to be smart and resourceful, but would her character be as compelling if she wasn't also depicted as attractive? What's the take away from that? Does she represent an unrealistic female body image?

  • Are there stereotypes in the movie? If so, how are they used? How are they avoided?

  • One of the movie's themes is the importance of family. Does that come through amid the chaos and destruction?

  • How does this movie compare to other "disaster movies" you may have seen? Why has this genre always been so popular? Do you think a disaster like this could occur? If so, is it better to try and prepare or better not to worry about something we can't control?

Movie details

For kids who love action and adventure

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate