Review: 2012

From the guy who takes great delight in killing us all, the dial is turned to eleven to give us the disaster movie to end all disaster movies.  That’s a good thing.

Roland Emmerich, writer/director of Independence Day and the Day After Tomorrow (yes, I’m ignoring Godzilla), has decided to take a cue from the Mayan calendar and throw everything at the planet at once in 2012.  Plot? What plot?  This movie is about surviving volcanoes, floods, destruction and death.   Wheeeeee!

Like it matters.  John Cusack, a writer/limo driver, is trying to build a relationship with his ex-wife Amanda Peet, his kids, and their new stepdad.  Chiwetel Ejiofor is the doomsday scientist who’s trying to fight bureaucracy embodied by Oliver Platt, while attempting to bed the 1st daughter, Thandie Newton.  Throw in Danny “I’m too old for this $#!*” Glover as the President, some Tibetan monks, an aging jazz band on a cruise ship and some slimy Russians and you got yourself a movie.  Their lives intersect as everyone tries to survive the end of the world as predicted by the Mayans thousands of years ago (who, by the way, couldn’t predict the demise of their own culture).

This is definitely a movie where you know what you’re going to get.  With a resume of destruction, director Emmerich is very good at moving what little story there is along to get to the next “wow” moment.  And there are a lot of those “wow” moments.  Whether it’s the escape from California, the escape from Las Vegas, the escape from…you get the idea. You are bombarded by some very impressive special effects that really give you the sense that this is the end of the world.

Acting?  Really what do the actors have to do here?  RUN!  Cry.  RUN!  Die.  Take off.  I swear half this movie is made up of planes taking off rather than any actual dialogue.  And when the dialogue does happen, it’s either over-dramatic melodrama or a cheesy line to signify something is going to happen (ie. “I feel like we’re being torn apart” – cue chasm opening up between said actors).  But for this movie, who cares.  The only real job the actors have is to give a sense of urgency and terror and they cover that no problem.  Plus Woody Harrelson as a nut job conspiracy theorist who’s actually correct is pretty great.

Unfortunately at 2.5 hours, this one is a bit long but you’ll have to get comfy because this one is worth seeing in the theatres.

2012 Rating:
 3 stars – good movie, take a friend. Come for the destruction and stay for the carnage.  If you like your disaster movies extra damagey, you’ll love it.

Coming Attractions:
Kick-Ass (release date: April 16,2010) – Another comic book movie? Yes.  Does it have the Nicholas “kiss of death” Cage in it?  Yes.  HOWEVER!  It’s directed by the guy that did Layer Cake and Stardust and is based on one of the funniest, violent graphic novels in years.  Worth a look.

Randomly Recommended
The Thirteenth Floor (1999) – Roland Emmerich decided to take some time out from his usual fare for this sci-fi movie on alternate realities and virtual space.  No big names but don’t let that get in the way of a decent renter.

Towering Inferno (1974) – I have to go old school when it comes to disaster movies.  I only saw this recently and it was great.  Get this – Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.  Faye Dunaway and William Holden.  Now, light up the building they’re in.  The Poseidon Adventure was first but this was the one that got me hooked on disaster flicks.

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  1. I have to say I was pretty disappointed in this movie. The special effects were good but that escape from California scene was ridiculous…even for me! In my opinion the best part of this movie was Woody Harrelson’s character’s video animation of the coming events. Oh and the line, “That’s a big plane”…”It’s Russian!”

  2. Woody was awesome. Have you seen Zombieland yet? If you haven’t, you should. As for 2012, do you like disaster movies in general? Isn’t it suppose to be ridiculous? (i.e. Winnebago car jumps in 2012, running away from frost in The Day After Tomorrow). What disaster movies did you like? Too many questions?

  3. Of course I have seen Zombieland!!! I would NEVER miss a zombie movie! I like disaster movies, and I thought Day after Tomorrow was way better. I know it’s supposed to have very little story line and just big dramatic scenes, but I just felt this was a disappointment. Some other disaster movies I liked: Deep Impact, The Core and Soylent Green (though you can argue this isn’t a disaster movie).

  4. If I manage to commandeer a rowboat (in case you missed it…it’s raining a lot), I may head to the theatre for this one. This genre provides the perfect opportunity for the big screen and big sound and I certainly don’t expect to be analyzing my existence or questioning the our society in any way. I expect to be wowed by the special effects and possibly clutched my seat in fear.

    If I want moving dialogue, and broad spanning landscapes full of arty imagery…I can watch that at home.


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