Friday, August 20, 2010

Title:  2012
Format:  Netflix
Category:  Disaster/Action Adventure/Thriller/Apocalypse
Rating:  B

Description (from  Disaster movie maven Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow) crafts this apocalyptic sci-fi thriller following the prophecy stated by the ancient Mayan calendar, which says that the world will come to an end on December 21, 2012. When a global cataclysm thrusts the world into chaos, divorced writer and father Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) joins the race to ensure that humankind is not completely wiped out. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, and Oliver Platt round out the cast of this end-of-the-world thriller.

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2012 wasn't meant to be a comedy, yet I couldn't stop laughing.   This over-the-top movie attempts to make you stretch your imagination and believe the impossible.  But it just goes too far.  And I'm sorry to all the Woody Harrelson fans out there, but this movie lost all credibility as soon as I saw him.  Yet, despite its ridiculousness, I found 2012 entertaining.  Not thrilling or edge-of-your-seat exciting, but definitely entertaining.
I think the movie was just too ridiculous to be a great film.  I'm just supposed to believe that John Cusack is such an amazing driver that as California collapses into the Pacific Ocean, he's able to escape in a limo with considerably minimal damage to the vehicle and its passengers when you take into account all the chaos around him.  And then, a plastic surgeon who's had a couple of flying lessons in a single-engine plane can pilot a dual-engine plane and fly a relatively smooth course through falling buildings.  And of course, there's my favorite impossible and ridiculous moment of the whole film.  Crazier than the "Ark" concept and the whole "crust-displacement" theory.  Supposedly you can outrun a super-volcano in a clunky, old motor home!  Despite being a speed-challenged vehicle due to its anti-streamlined design, it can magically find the horsepower to outstrip a super-volcano of epic proportions!  Apparently all I need to survive the end of the world is a limo, a plane, and a motor home.  And let's not forget the compassionate Tibetan monk and/or one billion Euros.  They come in pretty handy too.
Am I having fun picking on this movie?  Absolutely!

Of course, as in all disaster movies, there are lots and lots of character deaths.  Some make you feel sad, some mad, and a couple you're even okay with.  Like the jerky Russian guy.  You're not too upset with his death.  In dying, he kind of redeems himself.  Other characters just get killed because their storyline isn't interesting anymore.  The character I felt the worst for was the plastic surgeon.  He flies them out of California, helps pilot the jet that gets them all to China, and really loves his girlfriend and her kids.  But he got in the way of the romantic subplot, so after surviving California's collapse, a super-volcano, and a trek through snowy China in nothing but his sweats, he dies a stupid, pointless death.  It's like, "You're a great character, but if you live, John Cusack will never get back together with his wife, so... bye-bye!"
Finally, what is it with Roland Emmerich and disaster movies?  I actually feel a little sad for him.  He's covered aliens, global warming, and now the End of the World.  What's left... swine flu?  Everything else has been done, unless he decides to remake his own favorite films (Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, Earthquake... are we seeing a pattern here?).  And I can't help but wonder if he got his start with Steven Spielberg.  Both of them love to hate the government.  In all three of Emmerich's disaster flicks, it's the little guy (usually a scientist) who's the hero, and the government is the big bad wolf, either trying to cover something up or refusing to listen to reason.  It's the Spielberg formula!
So after reading this review, it would be easy to think that I totally disliked 2012.  But I didn't.  The special effects were well done, the dialogue wasn't horrid, and the kids were really sweet.  I watched from start to finish, never turned it off or fast-forwarded, and actually found plenty to enjoy in this movie.  Probably for different reasons than what the director intended/wanted, but with this movie, you should be happy people watched/liked it at all.  B


  1. Roland Emmerich retired from the disaster flick genre on account of his view that he's exhausted it.

    For your reading. *nod*

  2. Good review--entertaining use of language. This tipped it for me. I'm going to rent the movie, no matter what Steve-O says. I love a good mock-movie.

    By the way, this is Janeen. Feel free to check out my blog, although it's still in a fairly unfocused stage. Also, mind if I link to yours?


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