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2012 (movie)

A film directed by Roland Emmerich

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Great FX But Nothing New Here.

  • Nov 13, 2009
  • by
Pros: Great FX

Cons: By the numbers Disaster Film script

The Bottom Line: There are some great FX sequences and a good cast, but sadly a by the numbers script.

Disaster films and Hollywood have enjoyed a long and successful partnership over the years as box office gold has been found in fictional disasters. Irwin Allen had a string of hits such as “The Towering Inferno” and “The Poseidon Adventure” which in turn lead to the films such as “Dante’s Peak”, “Volcano”, “Deep Impact”, and “Armageddon” who kept the tried and true formula of relatable, regular people forced to cope with extraordinary situations where they must battle against all odds to survive.

In the new film “2012” director Roland Emmerich follows up his other end-of-the world epics “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow”, with a story about the total devastation of the earth and all life upon it due to an increase of neutrinos from the sun heating the earth’s core causing the displacement of the Earth’s crust.

Keeping to the established formula of the disaster films, 2012 centers around a struggling writer named Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), who learns of the pending catastrophic events while camping at Yellowstone National Park with his children. The presence of forbidden areas and swarms of soldiers and scientists leads Jackson to believe that the local conspiracy radio host Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), might be right in his predictions that we are all on borrowed time, and that the increase in earthquakes and fissures along the fault lines are a very bad omen.

Unbeknownst to Jackson, and the majority of the world’s population, U.S. President Wilson (Danny Glover), and his fellow heads of state, are preparing for the coming tragedy. Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt) and a team of geologists lead by Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetal Ojiofore) are trying to determine exactly how much time they have to save what they can of humanity. Unaware that the fate of mankind is being decided by the politicians and those with money, Jackson and his children soon find themselves rushing to stay alive, with his ex-wife Kate (Amanda Peet), and her boyfriend in tow. Jackson learns of a plan to save select members of the population and pins their very survival on being able to arrive at what they hope is their salvation before time runs out.
Spectacular effects follow as Los Angeles and other cities are swallowed up by massive sinkholes and buried under collapsing bridges and buildings in some of the most amazing sequences of mayhem and destruction ever captured on film. The movie does an amazing job of showing the absolute calamity and chaos and does a passable job with the relationships between the characters. There are some nice supporting performances from Thandie Newton and George Segal. It is just a shame they were not given a bit more to work with. The cookie cutter scenarios that many characters faced seem to have been lifted from the book of disaster film plots.

I did not go into the film expecting realism, as I fully expect the world will go on as normal on December 22, 2012. However, I did have to note some of the absurd developments that strained any semblance of credibility the film may have had. One such scene had the characters being flooded and trapped for an extended period of time by water. Since their locale was near Mt Everest, I had to assume that it was not warm spring water they were submerged in, and had to wonder if hypothermia just went the way of most of the human populace.

Then again, we were dealing with a heated core that was essentially melting the earth’s crust. So maybe the water was warm.

As with all disaster movies, I do have to remember the audience is asked to suspend all disbelief, at least for 160 minutes. While the film does take some vast leaps of logic, there is enough good action, special effects, and strained levity to make this a good distraction, as long as you are willing to check your brain at the door and just enjoy the ride.
3 stars out of 5


Movie Mood: Action Movie
Viewing Method: Press Screening
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Plot

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More 2012 (movie) reviews
review by . April 05, 2010
posted in That's Beat
Let me just start by saying that this is why i love Lunch.  I've noticed that this film received some very favorable ratings but i personally didn't like this movie at all.  My disagreement with everyone on this movie, doesn't mean i'm right or wrong... just different opions.      This film is featured on my PayPerView so this weekend we decided to watch it.  In my opinion it was so bad that half way through it was wondering if there is a whole new genre of films …
review by . February 07, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Doomsday Revelation?! or Preservation?!
      You've got movies about airplane crash, movies about cruiseship sinking, movies about terror, movies about asteroid collision, movies about greed, movies about love. What do you have when they are all combined into a single movie? 2012!      We are forewarned about what will happened in 2012. Most of the world were living their lives as per normal and has not a clue. As audience, some had not, but when you have the internet at the tip of tip …
review by . November 12, 2009
Grab a melting pot, stir in some Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, The Posidon Adventure, Titanic and a little Dante's Peak for good measure...and what have you got?      2012 simmering your eyeballs.      BOOM!!!      Roland Emmerich is back on the big screen throwing more stuff around than toddlers at a daycare center juiced on too much red cordial.   This guy knows how to deliever a big, bad ass, destruct-o-rama, let me tell …
review by . November 16, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
A Disaster Movie That Follows Established Formulas...With a Heavy Dose of Steroids!
   Disaster movies are a dime-a-dozen in Hollywood. The approaching year “2012” has raised several speculations from the Mayan calendar to Nostradamus to the Bible code. Many believe that the year 2012 would hold special significance in the history of mankind, many think that something life-changing would happen and an epic catastrophe may cause mankind‘s extinction. Leave it to Hollywood to take advantage of the “2012” phenomenon with co-writer/director Roland …
review by . April 06, 2010
I happen to enjoy "bad" movies. The types of movies with over sized anacondas or crocodiles; the movies that leave me amused at the hilarity of the Hollywood industry. Thus I was interested in seeing 2012 (mainly because I actually did enjoy "The Day After Tomorrow"). I am also pretty fascinated by any movie that aims at explaining mysterious and mythological events (IE. Mayans "predicting" the end of the world in 2012).      2012 not only ruined …
review by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Lesson in Humanity
What is there to say about 2010? It's got action, drama, love, suspense and a big budget. A large comeback roll for John Cusak who's mainly known for small or obscure films in the 90's and being a part of the 80's movie revolution. The movie is loosely based on the Mayan prediction that in the year 2012 on December 12th the world will come to an end. Cusak who plays Jackson Curtis learns of this conspiracy on a trip with his children to Yellowstone and in looking for the spot where …
review by . November 22, 2009
You don't have to believe in UFOs to enjoy watching CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.  You don't have to believe in the whole global warming package to enjoy watching THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.  You certainly don't have to believe all the hype about 2012 to enjoy this movie.  IMHO, this is the best disaster movie I've seen in a really long time.  The characters are more than just cardboard, the dialog is decent, the special effects are incredible and the overall concept is very …
review by . April 06, 2010
There have been a few comments in reviews about this movie being a simple popcorn flick and how, should you detach your brain for 3 hours you will manage to enjoy this monstrosity. Simply, that is not true, unless you're actually willing to run the risk of you being made more of an idiot by watching this movie and thinking "hmm, that was an enjoyable romp". Perhaps I did look too much into this movie and wanted it to have a good storyline that would at least captivate me without having …
Quick Tip by . October 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I watched this on my iPad. Let's put aside just how idiotic the story is (why would you make heroes out of selfish people that put the lives of tens of thousands of other selfish people at serious risk?). The iPad video quality is amazing but if the very bad special effects were obvious on my Pad, just how badly did they play on the large screen. One of the worst movies ever for every possible reason.
review by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
For an action movie, this is sure to impress. The acting is decent, not top notch, but a good cast for sure. The plot keeps you guessing, and makes you think. The special effects are top notch however- I wish that I had seen this movie in the theater the first time, as I'm sure on the big screen its even better. Would be interesting to see a follow up of sorts.
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


2012 is a 2009 disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich. The film has an ensemble cast, including John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Woody Harrelson. The film will be distributed by Columbia Pictures. Filming began in August 2008 in Vancouver. The film was released on November 11, 2009.

Now this is how you destroy the world. Roland Emmerich's2012pounces on a Nostradamus-style loophole in the Mayan calendar and rams the apocalypse through it, gleefully conjuring up an enormous amount of Saturday-matinee fun in the process. A scientist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) detects shifting continental plates and sun flares and realizes that this foretells the imminent destruction of the planet. Just as the molten lava is about to hit the fan, a novelist (John Cusack) takes his kids on a trip to Yellowstone; later he'll hook up with his ex (Amanda Peet) and her new boyfriend (Tom McCarthy) in a global journey toward safety. If there is any safety. The suitably hair-raising plot lines are punctuated--frequently, people, frequently--by visions of mayhem around the globe: the Vatican falls over, the White House is clobbered (Emmerich'sIndependence Daywas not enough on that score), and the California coastline dives into the Pacific Ocean. Unlike other action directors we could name, Emmerich actually understands how to let you see and drink in these vast special-effects vistas--and they are incredible. He also honors the old Irwin...
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Director: Roland Emmerich
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 13 November 2009 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Runtime: 158 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures, Centropolis Entertainment, Farewell Productions
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