What can I say about 2012? The special effects are amazing… everything else, not so much. The script is horrible, most of the acting is cheesy and the film is waaaaay too long at two hours and forty minutes. There are so many things to snicker at in this movie, it’s difficult to know where to begin. The only reason the movie merits even a 4 out of 10 is because there is about a half hour of pure movie thrills that will leave you gasping for air. So roughly one-fifth of the movie is good. The rest is fairly awful.
2012 is simply about people trying to survive the end of the world. Director Roland Emmerich has plenty of experience with disaster movies. He directed Independence Day (his best film by far), Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow and clearly has an affinity for destroying the world. Really, how many times can one man include a scene where the White House gets demolished? It’s time to move on Roland. Perhaps you should revisit your sci-fi Stargate days. Don’t get me wrong. Emmerich blows things up with style, but it’s becoming a bit old and predictable.
2012 wouldn’t even be all that bad if it weren’t for the atrocious script by Emmerich and Harald Kloser. There are so many bad lines and ridiculous moments you’ll be stunned. I don’t even mean any of the action sequences. I’m always ready to suspend my disbelief when it comes to special effects magic, but it’s all the little things that begin to add up throughout the course of the film that takes you out of the fun of it all. A perfect example would be the use of cell phones. After the complete and utter destruction of their home and the state of California, Jack (John Cusack) and his wife are able to talk to each other on their phones. I’m pretty sure that the cell towers would be off line after a disaster of that magnitude.
I can’t even get reception when I drive on a certain part of the parkway. Who’s their coverage provider, Verizon or Sprint? One character actually makes a call seconds before him and his family are about to be swallowed by a three mile high tidal wave. Is this really the time to reach out and touch someone? I’m surprised they didn’t show him updating his Facebook status! Perhaps my favorite ludicrous moment is when Cusack and friends are taking off in a big jet as the airport around them is being destroyed. Again it’s not about the fact that they are able to take off amid all the destruction, I’m down with that, it’s the awful dialogue that accompanies it. As the plane is taking off, the air traffic controller is screaming at the pilot, telling him to abort.
“You do not have clearance, you must abort!”The airport is being swallowed by the Earth and this guy is telling them it’s too dangerous to take off. Would there really still be someone in the tower doing their job? Somehow, I doubt it. I can go on and on with examples, but you get the point.
Although skilled at visual effects, Emmerich has no real skill with actors. Some of the actors are just fine, but by and large, most of the cast turns in wooden, unbelievable performances. In their defense, there wasn’t all that much to work with as the characters are of the cookie cutter variety that you’ve seen countless times before; there’s the divorced guy who neglects his kids, his ex-wife and new boyfriend, the heartless politician and the selfless, compassionate president of the U.S. Pretty much the same characters that were in The Day After Tomorrow and every other disaster movie you’ve ever seen. Thank God for John Cusack who is quite good as the father trying to keep his kids and ex-wife safe. I will admit that I am a big fan of Mr. Cusack and always enjoy watching him. Woody Harrelson is also very funny as a conspiracy nut that isn’t quite as crazy as he seems. The rest of the cast doesn’t fare as well but again the script is terrifically bad. A special shout out to Oliver Platt as a slimy politician. I wanted to punch him in the face the whole movie so I guess he did his job.
As I said earlier, there are some really entertaining parts; the whole destruction of California sequence being a stand out here. It’s truly exhilarating. Unfortunately those moments are far and few between as the film gets bogged down by clichéd speeches about humanity and useless subplots. All in all, there is a good movie lurking inside this mess somewhere and perhaps you’ll find it if you can successfully turn your brain off for nearly three hours. If you can’t do that, you may find yourself wishing the world would end, just so you can stop watching 2012.