Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
What's it about
A man struggles to emotionally reunite with his estranged family during a full-tilt geological catastrophe.
Is it good movie?
John Cusack is a slacker dad who is straining to maintain a good relationship with his kids, who seem to like their mom’s new boyfriend a lot better. This slice of life drama is ramped up to 11 as giant solar flares bombard the Earth with brand new nuclear particles, thus heating up the earth’s core and causing massive and global crust destabilization (pseudo-science: ftw!). The world literally falls apart and tsunamis of biblical proportion take care of whatever is left standing, and JC (haha) goes to Herculean lengths to keep bricks and ocean off of his family. Many other mini-dramas unfold as well, concerning scientific and governmental officials attempting to create schematics of the impending destruction and to mitigate as much of humanity as possible, which all culminates in an egregiously preposterous conclusion (think "ark").
This movie does not just defy probability: it knocks it down and pisses in its face. Every single contrivance to keep Cusack and Co. alive during the apocalypse is based on eleventy-hundred occurrences happening with split-second precision and zero tolerance Cannonball Run-type maneuvers. Seriously, during the big escape from certain death scenes, such as when Cusack is driving a limo through a collapsing building or a Russian dude is flying a jetliner at ground-level of an icy mountain, I kept looking down to see if I was holding my Wii remote. And forget about the drama: every single non-SFX scene is dripping with schmaltz and shoves the melodrama down your throat with criminal disregard for your intelligence (as a for instance: the coast of Cali is almost 900 miles away from Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, yet it is treated like a day trip).
Yes, 2012 is a feast for the eyes. Not only does it sport a big name cast (Cusack, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Danny Glover) but the destruction scenes are breathtaking. The problem is, we’ve seen it all before. And mostly in Roland Emmerich’s previous films. He took the idea of the Mayan calendar’s expiration date (a fact only mentioned in passing in the film) and glibly used it to make a movie where the whole world goes boom, a cottage industry for the man. And things do go boom, and how. If you didn’t get enough catharsis from watching major cities go poof in Independence Day or The Day After Tomorrow, you certainly will here. Whole neighborhoods disappear into ground faults, the seas reach out like greedy hands to scoop up everything in their path, and Yellowstone Park erupts into an A-bomb-quality mushroom cloud. The real question is: can it hold your attention for TWO AND A HALF HOURS?
It couldn't mine.
Video / Audio
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, and needless to say it looks beautiful.
Audio: Two 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks, in English and French, with optional English, English SDH, and French subtitles. I guess if you’re Spanish you can go eff yourself. There is also an English subtitle track for the commentary.
Commentary with Roland Emmerich and co-writer Harald Kloser: This is a decent commentary track, even if both men’s hushed Teutonic voices wanted to put me to sleep. They give a mix of nuts and bolts and behind the scenes stuff, with enough good humor to avoid any dryness.
Alternate Ending: This stupid movie would have been exacerbated by this idiotic ending, where two people who had no business surviving do just that.
Deleted Scenes: There are five deleted scenes, which are just enhancements, nothing that really adds or subtracts anything from the plot. Chiwetel Ejiofor does punch Oliver Platt in the face, though. That was nice.
Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic: In lieu of a making-of piece, we get a ten minute doc with the cast and crew giving Emmerich a group handjob for being the second coming of Jesus Christ. But have no fear, Emmerich is perfectly fine being self-congratulatory on camera all by his lonesome.
”Time for Miracles” Music Video by Adam Lambert Oh dear god, I could not watch more than ten seconds of this thing. Did I miss the part where it turns out to be a joke? So bad its not funny, just bad.
2012 is a feast for the eyes, but a junk-punch to the intelligence. I would suggest it to those who have a big TV, and good sound system, and an off switch for the logic portion of their brain.