In ‘2012’ John Cusack plays a failed science fiction writer who has to fight, along with his estranged family, to survive the end of the world. Along the way his character has to survive every matter of peril that director Roland Emmerich throws at him.
Some spoilers may follow.
Here John Cusack is roaring down the streets of LA as the entire state of California crumbles beneath him. There John Cusack is escaping Yellowstone as the caldara explodes. Another time John Cusack has to drive a car down the ramp of a rapidly moving cargo plane in the middle of Tibet. Yet another time John Cusack has to hold his breath a really long time under water while he fixes something upon which a third of what is left of the human race is dependant for its survival.
Along the way we meet Woody Harrelson as a crazy late night radio talk show host, Danny Glover as an older, wiser version of Barack Obama, Star Trek’s Thandie Newton as his brainy daughter, Firefly’s Chiwetel Ejiofor as a scientist, Star Trek’s John Billingsley as another scientist, and Oliver Platt as a fatter version of Rahm Emmanuel. There is a Russian Mafioso, Amanda Peet, her new husband, two old guys (including a really old George Segal) on a cruise ship, a Tibetan monk, his factory worker brother, a French art expert, a Russian pilot, a Russian mistress, several children, and seven billion people, most of whom die in a spectacular manner.
Of course with this kind of film, ‘2012’ is not really about people, but about destruction on an epic scale. A number of landmarks, including St. Peter’s basilica, get trashed as the Earth begins to move in an alarming fashion. The entire state of Hawaii is set on fire. The Himalayas are inundated by a flood.
This being a Roland Emmerich film, a good after movie supper exercise is to notice how much material has been stolen from other movies and other stories. Just off the top of one’s head, one can spot Earthquake, the 1970s California gets trashed film, When World Collide, The Poseidon Adventure, Titanic, Independence Day (which Roland Emmerich also made), Deep Impact, The Living Daylights, a Bond film starring Timothy Dalton, and the Bible (both book and movie.)
Believing Christians will not like ‘2012’. Besides being based on a Mayan prophecy, a lot of Christian symbols get destroyed in the cataclysm, but very few of any other religion. Indeed the denouement of the destruction of the world definitely violates God’s promise to Abraham, though to be fair by that point the world is pretty much a graveyard anyway.
Even so ‘2012’, while not the best of the world gets destroyed movies, is certainly the biggest. Most of the two and a half hours running time is a lot of fun, but not excessively so because Roland Emmerich does not cause one to care about anyone who gets killed. That would just get in the way of grooving on all of the mayhem and mass death.
Source: 2012, IMDB