I don’t know how many times writer/director Roland Emmerich feels like he needs to destroy the world but if anything is to be said about 2012 it’s probably the most impressive looking disaster movie of all time. I was really expecting this one to suck balls but shockingly I found 2012 to be jam packed full of amazing effects and surprisingly good acting.
People call Roland Emmerich’s movies “Disaster Porn” and though I’ll admit he certainly goes overboard with effects, I found this chaotic outing had a compelling human side as well. The story follows a diverse ensemble of characters (as Roland’s film’s often do) dealing with that infamous date that the Mayan’s many years ago predicted would be “The End of Days”. This being brought on by solar flares sending neutrinos into the earth’s core, heating it up and causing the the earth’s plates to shift…. Translating to a bunch of giant tidal waves, erupting volcanoes and big ass fissures coming out of the ground. Now I don’t know if any of that makes sense, it probably doesn’t but I’m no scientist and frankly it didn’t bug me at all. I understood why people were all over the scientific inaccuracies of The Day After Tomorrow because global warming is actually something based in science but the “2012 Theory” is bullshit anyways, so who really gives a damn? This film isn’t trying to send some message it was clearly made for entertainment and that’s where it excels.
A lot of critics have been writing this one off as a bloated disaster movie that’s all spectacle and no true substance but I think too many are being blinded by the ridiculous premise. I think if you can just suspend your disbelief you’ll find that Emmerich truly and sincerely attempts to tell a good story in-between all this chaos. It’s not perfect but he always keeps it moving and even at 158 minutes this movie is never boring.
What I’ve always liked about Emmerich’s movies (even his bad ones) is that he almost always has an intriguing ensemble of characters often played by actors I’m quite fond of. You have the family struggling to survive including the always likeable John Cusack and the so-so but not terrible Amanda Peet. This is of course followed by all the government guys including; Danny Glover as the president, Oliver Platt as some douche and Chiwetel Ejiofor as a scientifc advisor and even though they’re all spouting out cliched sappy speeches they do a damn fine job. Oh yes and then you got the oddball characters thrown into the mix like Woody Harrelson as some wacko radio personality and George Segal and Blu Mankuma as jazz musicians on a cruise ship.
It’s an over the top experience but isn’t that what a disaster movie should be? In my opinion 2012 is Emmerich’s best after Independence Day and Stargate. It’s a thrilling, high adrenaline, experience and worth seeing in the theaters if you have about two hours and thirty-eight minutes to kill. It may not be as interesting as Sean’s theories on the end of the world but it’s a close second.