I walked out of ‘2012’ confused, bored, and practically numbed to the mindless destruction. Some end-of-the-world movies blow up a skyscraper and can call itself an epic. ‘2012’ transforms Yellowstone into a volcano, demolishes Los Angeles within 10 minutes and crushes the Vatican, all in the first half of the film. ‘2012’ is three hours long, and for each hour has a distinct agenda: The first hour “explains” the science behind the end of the world, the second is, well, the end of the world, and the third hour a (failed) attempt to become a movie with a “message”. Needless to say, the film tries to be intelligent by presenting some (admittedly) interesting moral dillemas, and yet it wants to be dumb enough for a 7-year old to understand it.
John Cusack stars as Jackson Curtis, a failed novelist who is camping with his family. Due to a massive solar flare, the end of the world is impending and Jackson will do whatever it takes to survive. A sub-plot involves the White House, and its efforts to preserve humanity. (I know the film was made in America, but you’d think a country other than us might bother preserving their species)
I am of two minds of the destruction on display in ‘2012’. On one hand, it is easily some of the best special effects ever made. Honestly, I have never seen such realistic, well-done visual effects. (Well, the scenario is ridiculous but the effects look real) How can you not admire the talent that went into making it?
And then again, there’s the senseless-ness with which the destruction is displayed. In one scene, the main characters charter a plane to fly out of a (sinking) Los Angeles. When they’re flying away, two large skyscrapers collide into each other and their plane ducks under the collision. Have the people who made this movie lost their minds? The main characters show seemingly no remorse that basically everyone they’ve ever known is dead. Showing millions of men, women, and children dying just for a “cool explosion” is stupid, immature, and goes above and beyond tasteless.
Not to mention the fact that ‘2012’ is ridiculously boring. Okay, Woody Harrelson being pummelled by a large volcanic eruption looks incredible once. But the explosions lose their “cool” factor after the first three. And there’s way more than three in this film. You feel numbed to all the death in the movie, but when you leave you just realize how tasteless it all was.
‘2012’ is about as over-the-top and corny as you can get. It is essentially one big contradication: It exploits the death of billions for the sake of a cool action sequence, and yet tries to present a message of “hope”, and most laughably, it tries to present a message.
Of course, people will see this film. The director, Roland Emmerich (director of ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Day After Tomorrow’) cannot make a good movie, but he makes big, stupid, crowd-pleasing ones.
‘2012’ is stupid, pointless, poorly acted, and yet masterfully executed in terms of production and visual effects. A contender for the worst of the year.