2012 (2009) dir. Roland Emmerich
Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson
By Alan Bacchus
You don’t go into a Roland Emmerich films expecting Steven Spielberg, you expect an adequate knock off with, hopefully, enough explosions and worldly destruction, to placate the shameless repetition.
...before I continue...to add some context, I actually liked ‘Stargate’ and ‘Independence Day’, was indifferent to ‘The Patriot’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, and ‘Godzilla’ and ’10,000 BC’ were unbearably awful and two of the worst pictures I’ve ever seen...
With these low expectations, miraculously ‘2012’ still manages to be even more awful than expected and will join 'Godzilla' and '10,000 BC' as part three of his trilogy of awfulness.
Roland Emmerich, this time at the helm of his own script shamelessly remakes Stargate, ID4, Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow with different actors and with different world monuments destroyed. His opening scenes are the same: somewhere in some remote part of the world, some lowly schmuck discovers a small detail which reveals the coming of a cataclysmic event in the near future. In this case, it’s a scientist in India who finds the liquid at the earth’s core is boiling which means the world is heating up and ripe for a massive series of apocalyptic disasters.
Meanwhile, another schmuck, a lonely everyman from the U.S., with relationship problems, either stumbles upon this evidence or has his own evidence to corroborate said disaster and fights to a) convince his estranged family to believe in him and b) overcome his own personality deficiencies to save the world from disaster.
In 2012, Emmerich uses John Cusack, in place of Jeff Goldblum, James Spader or Matthew Broderick and uses the random shifting of techtonic plates to be his ‘Godzilla/Alien/extreme weather force of nature antagonist. His baddies are the usual crop of idiotic governments suits who can’t see the field from the trees.
The film is anchored by a number of narrow escapes from worldly destruction scenes. In every case John Cusack finds himself either outrunning massive earthquakes and tectonic plate displacements via car, or piloting a plane off a runway, being torn apart by said tectonic plate shifting. And so Cusack and his group of innocents hop from one famous landmark to another escaping in the nick of time.
The third act is even more awful throwing us into a series of calamities and narrow escapes aboard a Noah’s Ark-like ship built to withstand the flooding and sail away the remainder of the world’s human and animal population to safety.
Two and a half hours later the film ends. Save yourself some time and just watch the trailer.
2012 is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment