An Open Letter to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Regarding His Movie, San Andreas

Dear Mr. Johnson,

Or, if you prefer, Mr. Rock.

I love your movies. I really do. So it was with great anticipation that I awaited the opening day of your latest cinematic venture, San Andreas. Not just one mega earthquake, but TWO?! Disaster porn at its finest! How could I resist?

Now, having sat through 114 minutes of stunning CGI, heart-pounding suspense, and emotional turmoil, I can say that I truly enjoyed the thrill ride that is San Andreas.

HOWEVER…. Although I applaud your team for bringing awareness to basic emergency response practices (e.g., when cell towers go down, land lines will likely still work), I must take issue with several events that transpired on screen which are just…well, wrong.

  1. Don’t dive head-first into unknown waters. Ever. Don’t even JUMP in. I don’t care how hyped-up you are to enact a rescue. If you plunge pell-mell into the murky depths, only to brain yourself on a submerged chunk of concrete or snap your leg on an unseen hazard, the Rescuer suddenly becomes in need of rescue himself. Instead, slide in carefully and cautiously. You’re welcome.

  2. Don’t stand on the edge of a crumbling cliff. Seriously. When you screeched up to the newly-exposed ragged edge of the San Andreas fault, CGI chunks of the collapsing roadway were falling away right in front of you…and then you took yet another step toward the abyss?! Just…don’t.

  3. The Triangle of Life? Yeah, that’s not a thing. Paul Giamatti’s character’s repeated use of “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!” was brilliant, but your dash to the side of the San Francisco ballpark stadium along with a multitude of citizenry? No. There is just no way to predict which portions of a building or its attached structures will fall during an individual shaking event. Even outside, your best bet is to heed the words of your costar: “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!”

I cannot comment on the feasibility of racing a boat up the vertical face of a cresting tsunami, the wisdom of jumping out of an airplane using a parachute that was packed by a complete stranger, or the physics of performing a last-minute abort of a helicopter autorotation maneuver. I can, however, say that for sheer entertainment value, San Andreas is definitely a summer blockbuster.


Kathleen Starmer

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