2012… An Opinion My Reviews 11 DEC 2009

2012-theatrical-posterWe were warned.

Chantelle and I went to watch 2012 yesterday evening, and walking into it knowing that it was a disaster, end of the world movie, we got exactly what we were expecting – which is a great start as any movie that meets your expectations usually is. However, that still doesn’t mean I’m about to sing its praises just yet.

German director Roland Emmerich is certainly no stranger to big budget and disaster movies, having previously directed Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and Godzilla, and as per usual he brings his usual penchant for big budget CGI effects to the game and in so doing, brings some of the best visualized apocalypse sequences ever produced to the big screen for our viewing pleasure.

The movie is rooted in the Mayan belief that the end of world is to come about in 2012, and with the help of the ever popular Solar Flares and Earth’s Crust Displacement Theory science to back the prophecy, we soon find Earth teetering on the brink of total disaster. Although a secret held only be an elite few, science fiction author Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) manages to find out about the impending Doomsday scenario and soon finds himself in a mad race against time and Mother Nature herself in order to rescue his family and attempt to survive the end of the World… if that’s even possible.

In terms of acting performances, the always underrated John Cusack once again puts in a thoroughly likeable and believable performance as the optimistic Jackson and his performance is nicely balanced out with some gripping stuff from actors like Chiwetel Ejiofor and Danny Glover. Also included in the talented cast list backing the big guns up, you’ll find the names Amanda Peet, Thomas McCarthy, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson (he’s brilliantly funny as always!) and Zlatko Burić as the big comedic but dangerous Russian billionaire, Yuri Karpov.

As a disaster movie, 2012 certainly gets the tone and action right, featuring some of the best Doomsday scenario scenes you’ll ever witness, particularly when it comes to some of the low flying plane antics (a subway train falling from the sky!? How brilliant is that!) and cracked Earth scenes. It also manages to tie in its main theme of asking the question, given a life or death situation, would you make a selfless decision even if it means that you WILL die, pretty much throughout the entire length of the film, and in addition to this, lumps in a nice broken family interaction subplot to deal with as well, playing itself out nicely as the film hurtles steadily along.

However, there is a problem at this point. The movie screens for a ridiculously long 158 minutes and despite the breakneck pace of the story telling and the constant flipping between the two main story lines, the film begins to come across as tedious and long towards the end… in fact, make that VERY long. Which is obviously not a good thing because by the end of the movie you are fairly worn out, don’t care that much any more and simply put, have lost any kind of emotional attachment to the movie that you might have started developing in the first half of it. Sure it blends its action, drama and laughs well enough, but by the time the credits start rolling you are pretty much in a rush to get out, and quite frankly, will dismiss the film as not being particularly worth anything apart from its seriously cool special effects.

The music and sound effects are pretty awesome though.

So what does this mean for 2012 then? Well it certainly is a blockbuster worthy of seeing on the big screen at least once, pretty much the same as Transformers 2 was. However, that’s about it. There’s certainly no reason to see it again, or watch it on the silver screen when it does eventually appear on TV, and I’m pretty certain that people aren’t exactly going to be rushing out to buy it once it hits the DVD market. The film is a competent disaster flick with some amazing special effects and great acting performances, but its unnecessary bulky length cuts away at its hamstrings and brings the whole thing crashing down, turning it basically into one of those “that movie with the awesome special effects” type of movie.

Pity really, Emmerich got it right much better with The Day After Tomorrow I’d say…


Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_%28film%29

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.