Review written on: November 15th, 2009

2012 Review

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: 2012 is not nearly as horrible as you may have read.  Pulling $65 million in its first weekend, it doesn’t seem like people are caring what reviews say, anyway.  Given my unhealthy love of John Cusack, I had to see the movie.  It looks like others had the same desire, as 2012 was number one at the box office this weekend.

Roland Emmerich’s known for primarily one thing: destroying the entire freakin’ planet.  Proof? He’s directed The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and Godzilla.  If you need more proof that this guy wants the planet to be destroyed, you need to get out more.  What better person to helm the direction of 2012?  None, I say.

For those of you living under a rock, here’s the rundown of what 2012 is about:

The planet is doomed.  It’s 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar, and they’ve predicted we’re all going to die.  Some scientist type folks discover that the center of the Earth is heating up too fast and that we’re all doomed.  The Governments of the world get involved, and begin a plan to save the human race.

That’s the summation of the film.  The actuality of the movie is that there’s tons of action, lots of destruction and a whole ton of amazing CGI effects.

I’ll admit that I didn’t think the movie was perfect, far from it.  But I didn’t have the expectation that this was going to be the next The Prestige or The Wizard of Oz or anything. I expected to have a good time watching things explode, fall apart, and a bunch of humans fight for their lives.  I got what I wanted.

I could have done without some parts, certainly.  I wouldn’t have objected if the movie was an hour shorter.  Would that have worked? Doubtful, given the importance of pretty much everything that happens in the film. But I still would have liked it to be a bit shorter.  Action type movies should be pushing three hours, especially mindless ones where you can doze off at times because you don’t have to pay attention to anything that isn’t exploding.

The ultimate message of the film is one of hope. It’s Hollywood trying to badger into our heads that humans are good at heart. (I feel like there’s a lot more of these movies lately than there used to be, which is fine. I’m just sayin’.)

I’m glad I saw this on the big screen.  However, doing so made me realize something: big screen films aren’t as impressive as Blu-ray discs are.  While the sound is still better than what most people have at home, Blu-ray is a far superior picture to what I’ve seen in theaters lately.  Movie theaters need to step up the game if they want to keep butts in seats.  While you certainly can’t compete with a big screen at home, watching it on a smaller screen with people you won’t be afraid to “shush” is certainly worth it. Price of tickets and snacks aside, watching at home is generally a more enjoyable experience, for me at least.

My wrapup: if you dig any of Emmerich’s films about the world falling apart, 2012 is for you.  It’s got everything you’d expect from seeing the trailer: the world falls apart, John Cusack is the everyman, the kids are adorable, a surprise spot by a wacky Woody Harrelson, and overall catastrophe.  What more do you want from a feel-good mindless film?  Check out 2012 while it’s still in theaters.  It’s not as bad as you’re thinking it’ll be.


One Comment

  1. A. Plicque on said:

    Mr. Emmerich’s doomsday films are hit and miss. The Day After Tomorrow had a far better pseudo scientific premise, plot and more interesting love stories in the boy for the girl and the absentee-minded dad finally coming through for the son. Independence Day was pretty much blow up and kill the bad-guy aliens fun, but Godzilla, despite a fairly strong cast, fell flat. Emmerich manages to get strong actors, again, but the plot of this film and some of the incredibly naive stances of scientists, politicians and ex-spouses were fairly stupifying. The film was an hour too long. Seeing the earth implode upon itself five or six times was enough. What sensible president allows himself to die and lets the unscrupulous bad-guy take his place? What scientist with two synapses in his head thinks that seats won’t be for sale if a flotilla of arcs has to be built to save humanity in less than three years? And again. How did they know where to PUT the darn arcs? There seemed to be 9 but only three were launched. Oh, the list is endless. The effects are truly mind-blowing and Cusack is hilarious and our stolid everyman, as Harrelson is our fruit and nut. This really does need to be seen on the big screen. I don’t care how crisp blu-ray is. Size counts in this one. It’s not awful: better than Godzilla, but far weaker than The Day. What Emmerich still needs to learn is, it’s not how big, long or how many of anything or anyone, but a tight, quality story that counts. This still appears elusive to him.


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