Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on November 13, 2009
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Written by Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser
Cast: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofer, Thomas McCarthy, Liam James, Morgan Lily, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson, John Billingsley, Ryan McDonald, George Segal
What a mess! I really had high hopes for this one, too, especially after having seen the trailer; cities crumbling, buildings toppling, and freeways collapsing, all in breathtakingly-detailed CG. But is that enough to sustain an entire movie? Well, maybe…if you cut out all the other parts. I’m a big fan of ‘end of the world’ movies, and was eager to see how this particular apocalypse would be handled, but when I sat down to watch the actual movie, and for the first time saw that Roland Emmerich wrote and directed, I knew I was in trouble.
Emmerich, who also gave us the equally-overblown Independence Day, seems to have a knack for lame dialogue, thinly-structured characters, inconsistencies, and plotlines that rely heavily on overt cheese-drama. Unfortunately, 2012 was no exception. Granted, the scenes involving falling metropolises and rupturing landscapes were indeed spectacular, and were almost worth the price of a rental, but everything else was by-the-numbers Hollywood claptrap. And at 158 minutes, that was a lot of clap to have to trap.
Which was too bad, because I thought the central premise was a great one: the world is besieged by cataclysmic earthquakes, flooding, and volcanic eruptions, and while millions try to survive the global destruction, thousands of others race to board giant ‘arks’ stationed in Tibet that will carry them to safety. And though John Cusack was one reason I wanted to see this movie—he played a science fiction writer trying to save ex-wife Amanda Peet and their kids—his presence here couldn’t save this one.
Nor could anyone’s presence, for that matter. And I know a movie of this sort needs to be big, but maybe it was just too big for its own good; if its story had centered on Cusack’s plight alone, and had a few other periphery characters involved for balance, who didn’t have cheesy lines and stories to hinder their progress, then perhaps I might’ve been kinder to it. Basically, the execution of it all was miles off the mark, and killed the film faster and more thoroughly than any mega-tsunami ever could. (3/10)