There isn’t much to say about why I chose to see 2012 last night out of all the other nights but I guess I needed a bit of excitement since I’m still on cold meds and its making my brain rather dull. I’m not sure how many people like to watch apocalypse movies but I like them a lot. I’ll explain more after a little synopsis. Plus, what makes this one more appealing is John Cusack doing this sort of movie? Interesting, no?
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Liam James, Morgan Lily
In 2009, Dr. Satnam in India urgently asks Dr. Adrian Helmsly (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to go see what he has discovered: that the Earth is heating up internally and that within a certain amount of years, it will cause the interior of Earth to melt and eventually displace the Earth’s surface causing the world to end. In 2012, word has broken out the end of the world is near as predicted by the Mayans. The world’s end is approaching. a divorced writer, Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), takes his children Noah (Liam James) and Lily (Morgan Lily) out for a camping trip at Yellowstone National Park to realize that something is going on and US Army is patrolling the area. At the same time, giant crevices are developing back home in California and his ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and her boyfriend are part of that. Through coincidence, he meets Charlie (Woody Harrelson), an apocalypse radio broadcaster (who seems a little crazy) and as events start matching up to Charlie’s words, Jackson fights against the elements to get his family away safely.
Such a long synopsis for such a simple idea. I’m still getting back into the review world. I’ve been taking it really easy in this area. There is no doubt that most of you would agree that when it comes to world apocalypse flicks, its pretty formulaic. You get the huge effects of mass world destruction usually on an uncontrollable environmental issue. The grandiosity of it could be one of the reasons that its enjoyable to watch. Usually, it comes with some cheesy dialogue and a lot of fancy terms explaining the scientific phenomenon thats happening. All that happens in 2012. It also points out that California will be its first target. 2012 was released in 2009 and around that same time, we all learned about the rising rumors of how December 27th (I think), 2012 would mark the end of the world. Some people believed it, some had their doubts and some just laughed at it. Personally, it didn’t affect me that much. I lived my life as I would, did the things I normally would because I already learned that making the most of everyday and being grateful was important. However, I get it. Its a scary concept to witness the end of the world.
Roland Emmerich is known (at least I know him that way) for all his big action and explosions and world apocalypse style movies. I mean, Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow and now 2012. All focus around some form of world ending, from aliens to environment. The man is good at what he does. I haven’t seen both of those other movies in a long time so I won’t be comparing it in this review.
Visually, this movie offers some over the top CGI and although a bit exaggerated, it does match up to the grandeur that this movie demands. Everything that happens is pretty captivating to watch. I can’t imagine the world crumbling like that. Its a bit crazy because things really turn south quickly. However, with a lot of these movies, the plot does lean on the thin part. I’m not saying that there are plot holes but things in these movies all end up with close to death but the most improbably situations always occur and most of the time, you can expect certain turn of events a mile away. Despite that fact, as it winded near the end, I felt like they had built it up to a good level of intensity. There was a sequence where it was pretty convincing.
2012 has a pretty impressive cast. For one, we have in the lead, John Cusack who is the guy on the run, figuring out what is going on with the world while trying to save his family and survive this crazy end of the world mess. As his ex-wife is Amanda Peet who I know I’ve seen somewhere but I can’t pinpoint where. The kids are not too bad actually. Sure, they both do some dumb things that movies like this like to lead the children to do but sometimes, it turned out to be intense but helpful, maybe leaning into the unrealistically brave. Plus, I just realize the son, Liam James, is the young Shawn from Psych (which I am currently binge watching) and the little girl was in one of my favorite movies, Flipped. So yeah, that really helped that I really liked the cast here also.
When we turn the table around and look at the political and government side, we have the leading scientist/environmentalist Chiwetel Ejiofor, the US President is by Danny Glover and we have the First Daughter with Thandie Newton, all of them are very good in their roles. Although, Thandie Newton had a very limited appearance in the movie, somehow she has a lasting image in my mind. However, I think one of the better roles was for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Adrian Helmsly. He challenged the authority and fought for saving the world in the a more morally correct way. He was very human, just as the US President was portrayed as well. Its usually roles like this that shine through in movies like this.
There really isn’t much else to say about 2012. I have this feeling that I might have enjoyed The Day After Tomorrow a tad more but this one was done very well also. My expectations are never high for these because the premise is very simple even with all the fancy scientific terms. I enjoyed seeing the cast on screen carrying out their roles and as the movie builds up to the great finale and finding salvation for all humankind, it builds on the intensity and delivers a decent ending. Thats all I really ask for in a movie like this: to be entertained and to be swept into the whirlwind of crazy and intensity of over the top CGI. Its had all that. If you’re into this sort of thing, I’d say its worth the watch 🙂
Are you into these end of the world flicks? Which is your favorite? What do you think of Roland Emmerich?