Archive for December 7, 2009

2012 Review

When you know a film is directed by Roland Emmerich, you are pretty much guaranteed the following; shit exploding, stuff getting destroyed and a ton of CGI to accomplish this. 2012 is no exception.

When scientist Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) discovers that the world has less than one year left to live, panic ensues in the top ranks of government – what do they do for the people of earth when they know everything’s going to hell in a handbasket?

Meanwhile estranged ex-husband/ struggling-novelist-turned-chauffeur-for-Russian-boxer Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is there in the middle of it, trying to save his family and get through the nightmare of the end of the world.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: out of the multitude of characters on screen here, the reason John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor are the only two people mentioned above is because the entire film hinges on their performances. Ejiofor handles all the science/ political gobbledegook while Cusack gets all the meaty explosions and running away, and if we as an audience aren’t convinced by them, we aren’t going to believe it when the world ends.

Mercifully, the two stars are every bit as fantastic as you’d expect, and because of that you’ll wholly believe that the world is coming to an end and you’re happy going along with it.

Oh yes, shit explodes, stuff gets destroyed and tons of CGI is used and it’s some of the most incredible CGI used to date. Annoyingly, practically all of the money shots were blown in the trailer and the film itself plays its trump card in the very first disaster scene, but they’re genuinely astounding. The sight of a plane swooping through a collapsing California will have you gripping the edge of your seat far more than the other disaster parts of the movie, so it’s a shame that all the good stuff is wasted so early when the other parts are nowhere near as cool as that.

It’s a film that somehow manages to eclipse every other disaster movie ever made by rolling all of them together in one. Just when you think Emmerich has run out of spectacular things to throw at Cusack, he goes and throws him out of an aircraft in a Bentley, before turning the final thirty minutes into every seafaring disaster ever made.

It’s a big, dumb, loud, obnoxious, incredibly silly movie. But that’s exactly the target audience and you’ll sit there throughout with a big dumb grin on your face as you watch stupid shit happen to stupid people as Cusack and Ejiofor prove themselves to be brilliant actors in the face of impossible odds.

It might be the same as every other film Emmerich has ever made, but this is so big in scope, so massive in spectacle that he might have to retire after this. The disaster genre is now finished, people. Emmerich has taken on the masters at their own game and won. A big dumb grin of thanks.

4 stars