Another world destruction by director Roland Emmerich. After so many times doing pretty much the same thing in a few variation here and there, I’m beginning to think Emmerich might have some kind of a fetish for this ordeal. But for the impressive VFX, 2012 is just… way too long and the characters and their dialogue are way too absurd. 90th minute into the movie, you’re going to feel restless and you’d wish the world will end that evening so you won’t have to watch this movie any longer.
Never before has a date in history been so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments. “2012″ is an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors.
Let’s talk about some of the few things I think are decent about 2012. Of course, if you’re here to see some really cool CG VFX magic of streets caving in and building crashing down on each other and shots of people hanging for dear life, you won’t get disappointed, 2012 truly is the best quality in terms of disaster movie. For lack of a better word, it’s like orgy for your eyes, any natural catastrophe you can imagine is successfully realized. This movie does have a good amount of action/thriller. But after a while, you can pinpoint Emmerich’s pattern, he usually settles for making the good guys in the story struggle to stay one step ahead of the speeding earthquake or it’s all about that broken runway or the cracks on the road. I still stand by my opinion that 2012 would be perfect as a 3D simulation theme ride at either Universal Studios or a roller coaster Six Flags. They should tap into that opportunity because it’d be a fun ride.
Now storywise, screenwriters Emmerich and Kloser does a hit and miss. I enjoy their idea of having the average joe book/author of this time become the most influential and inspiring book/author in the days after the calamity is over with. It’s a nice touch, like it’s trying to tell us what the past world considered awesome won’t be seen in the same light as much anymore in the new world. It’s good that they unintentionally emphasize the meaningless of worldly materials, because when death is approaching, what’s important is not how many cars you own or the billion dollars you have. And it’s quite admirable to see the story makes even the bad guys appear to be genuinely good and selfless for just a brief second. Any father, good or bad, would sacrifice himself for the well-being of his children. At one point, there’s a show of that urban adrenaline superpower in the face of danger when one father tries to push his son to safety.
But throughout the entire movie, turning the destruction and global panic into the essence that separates who’s going to live and die or who’s the hero and the coward is both predictable, stereotypical and a bit exaggerated.
I can’t stand the speeches that Emmerich and Kloser have actor Chiwetel Ejiofor do, Danny Glover’s lines as the president are even worse. It’s over dramatic and poorly written. Not to mention Emmerich’s mediocre direction, it’s obvious why he likes doing disaster movies because he can’t tackle human emotion and powerful moments in an artful and uncheesy manner. Seeing USS John Kennedy warship with a massive tsunami slam into the white house is a sight to behold but the constant debate and bickering between Oliver Platt and Ejiofor or the father and son moment when we’re made to believe John Cusack is about to make himself a martyr, all of those aspects seem ordinary and nothing about them go straight for the jugular because the writing is weak.
158 minutes! Are you freakin’ kiddin’ me?! Some may call this Emmerich’s ultimate achievement, I call it a filmmaker drunk, obsessed and self-absorbed. Maybe if the story had been trimmed down, I could tolerate it and wouldn’t be so harsh but really, you can only take so much of this destruction before your mind starts to feel numb.
* Place the cursor on the image below to check my grade for this film