Review: 2012

This is all you need to see.

This is all you need to see.

The only reason anyone would go to see a movie like this is for the special effects. Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow – we all know the plot will suck and the science will be dodgy at best, but who cares, right? Let’s blow some shit up!

That’s why 2012, from the same director, is such an enormous disappointment. I could have forgiven their nonsensical explanation for the end of the world – neutrinos from solar flare activity somehow microwave the earth and boil the core – if only they’d given me more of what I paid for: disaster porn.

We do get to see Los Angeles break in half and slide into the ocean, a sight I can never get enough of. The lumps of burning magma from the Yellowstone supervolcano were very well done, I thought, as was the hemisphere-enveloping ash cloud. And I did enjoy watching a battleship named the USS John F. Kennedy slam into the White House, and St. Peter’s Basilica roll over a dense crowd of worshipers.

I can even tolerate one more Eiffel Tower breaking in half, Christ the Redeemer falling off the hill in Rio de Janeiro, and – just barely – the Sistine Chapel ceiling splitting open, the crack running, predictably, right between the almost-touching fingers of God and Adam, a visual so trite that it’s an eye-rolling cliché the instant you see it.

But I cannot forgive having spent over two thirds of a three hour movie watching the actors wince their way through a weak, cringe-inducing story even by disaster film standards. The characters and their conflicts are so shallow, I don’t even want to spend time detailing them here, but the climax of the movie consists of John Cusack’s character getting his family on board a multi-government sponsored ark built atop a mountain in the Himalayas (presumably to appeal to a Chinese audience). Do you want to see a movie about John Cusack trying to get on an ark?

The spectacularly bad writing makes it impossible to overlook the movie’s faults, a problem I had to a lesser extent with Independence Day. No amount of special effects can make up for a writer and director with so little respect for the intelligence of their audience. However much money they’ll make off of fools like me who’ll see a movie like this (at a matinee price) just for the effects, they could have made so much more, and won over a legion of fans, if they’d spent a little bit of time coming up with a decent story and characters with a little depth. I realize that actual insight is beyond their abilities.

To their credit, they hardly mention the Mayan calendar at all, and mostly steer away from any religious or New Age prophecy, though it couldn’t have made the movie any worse. My friend and I agreed that the animals gave far and away the best performances. One has to assume it’s because the animals were not subject to the script or to the director’s instructions. I particularly admired the chicken’s comic timing. But not enough to justify the $6 and three hours I wasted on this trash.

Watch the trailer on YouTube and save your time and money; this isn’t worth seeing on any screen.

One Response to “Review: 2012”

  1. Daniel Greenly Says:

    This movie was just far out ridiculous Hollywood nonsense.. It goes without saying that any plausible end of the world scenario is not going to play out like that.. The whole 12 21 2012 thing is basically populated by scare mongers who are looking to make money

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