Movie review: 2012

Roland Emmerich, the master baiter of the disaster porn genre, has ejaculated another epic of worldwide destruction upon eager audiences, but the result, “2012,” is nothing but a sticky mess.

More than anything, Emmerich’s latest opus feels like a blood relative of one of Irwin Allen’s cheesy flicks of the 1970s, movies like “The Towering Inferno” or “Earthquake,” where a poor actor like Henry Fonda got roped into delivering stilted lines and cowering in fear of whatever special effect raged behind him.

Here, the unfortunate victim is John Cusack, a respected actor who must have been tired of appearing in films with zero commercial viability or who wanted to buy a new yacht. To say Cusack looks pained to be in this junk is an understatement; his disdain for the material nearly drips from every pore.

Alas, Cusack stars as Jackson Curtis, a deadbeat dad/aspiring novelist who shows up to take his kids camping in a limo from his driving job. L.A.’s apparently being plagued by strange earthquakes, and somehow, while in Yellowstone, he tunes into the rants of a madman radio host (Woody Harrelson) who claimed this is the result of the Mayan prophecy predicting the end of days.

At the same time, the government is frantically trying to figure out how to solve the problem of shifting plates beneath the surface, which is the cause of the quakes and eventually, the destruction of the Earth.

Leading the charge on the scientific end is the black British guy using an American accent who isn’t Idris Elba (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who has been working with the President (Danny Glover, EMOTING with all his might) and his blustery supervisor (Oliver Platt, playing the bad guy caricature) to figure out a solution.

All this exposition is a tedious prologue to the real action – the mass trashing of the planet and the death of billions of people, which is handled in such a cavalier manner that it borders on disturbing. We’re supposed to be OK with what’s happening because Jackson and his family (ex-wife, new husband and two kids) are fine?

To say that “2012” stretches credulity would be a kind charge. This is the kind of movie where select characters find a way to outrun explosions, avoid meteor showers, fly airplanes in between buildings and other fantastic feats without breaking a sweat.

Just think if you saw something 1/10 as scary or tragic as what happens here. You’d literally be shitting your pants, but everyone here reacts like they smelled  a fart – bothersome for a while, but eventually you move on.

Another major flaw in my opinion is the fact that the film runs 158 minutes, an asinine running time for such a piece of throwaway entertainment.

The finale drags on and on, culminating in a series of ridiculous scenes where: A) the “bad guy” is the only person who is making any kind of sense, yet we’re supposed to be against him; B) a character makes the kind of heroic speech that’s only missing the slow clap for complete cornball effect, and C) everyone stands around, watching a monitor while a character completes a task, this despite their impending doom.

I’m not sure how many times Emmerich can go to this well, but he seems to be perfectly comfortable with creating a variation of the same film. I, however, am perfectly comfortable with not having to watch his dreck any more. I hope Cusack enjoys his boat.

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~ by Elliott on December 1, 2009.

2 Responses to “Movie review: 2012”

  1. Man, you sound angry. I think you need to write one of these movies, so you can buy a new yacht. The only person I was rooting for was the stepdad…oh and the dog (kidding!).

  2. Just the sheer ridiculousness of the trailer made me wary to see this movie…then I found out its the same director of the AWFUL Godzilla (US Version) movie with Matthew Broderick and that made me NOT want to see even more. Great reviews! Keep it up!

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