Nearly every culture and religion has prophesized the end of the world. The Mayan calendar named a specific date, – December 21, 2012. No matter the name – Armageddon, the Apocalypse, End of Days, Rapture – whatever you call it, it is feared by millions. In the movie 2012, the time is upon us.
Roland Emmerich has established himself as a masterful director of world destruction films with such blockbusters to his credit as 1196’s Independence Day and 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow. 2012 will join those ranks for no other reason than the fantastic special effects.
If there’s a national landmark hat hasn’t been decimated on film before, it is in 2012. From the perfunctory White House demolition to the destruction of the strip in Las Vegas, disaster of every kind engulfs the planet. Yellowstone National Park becomes the largest volcano in the world while the Hawaiian Islands are reduced to a floating blob of molten lava.
Shots around the world of capitals and cathedrals giving way to earthquakes and tsunamis are riveting stuff. Once the action gets going and it doesn’t take long for that to happen, you are mesmerized by the absolute and inescapable fate of millions.
John Cusack is his usual charming self. Jackson Curtis, a divorced, freelance writer, is trying to hang on to his relationship with his 2 kids, Noah and Lily. A planned vacation to Yellowstone National Park is cut short by the beginnings of Earth’s reaction to humungous solar flares.
Amanda Peet is believable as the ex-wife, Kate, who has remarried Gordon (Thomas McCarthy), a really nice guy. Oliver Platt is Carl Anheuser, a bigwig in the US government who first alerted the White House to the pending catastrophe after reading data compiled by Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Together they work to make sure there is a plan and means for mankind to escape though each has different ideas about how that should happen.
The acting is fine but the story line is less than believable. Riddled with holes and implausibilities, it strains the imagination. One scene has our hero fleeing as his home in California is disintegrating around him. While careening around falling buildings in a limousine that’s missing a door, no one falls out and the car makes incredible jumps over ever-widening gashes in the Earth. Another scene has him escaping a multitude of volcanic meteors across the terrain of Yellowstone as the ground crumbles beneath him in an RV. At breakneck speeds, he manages to keep the motor home upright and arrive at his destination without injury. Later, as their aircraft is running out of fuel over what they think is the ocean, they descend to discover that the ground has shifted so much, they are actually over the country they need to be and all looks bright and shiny again.
Don’t misunderstand. I loved this movie and it deserves to be seen on the big screen. But if you’re looking for a great storyline, this one will disappoint. If action and unbelievable special effects are what you crave, this is for you.