November 14, 2009 in Movie Reviews
2012 (the movie not the year) is pretty much what you would expect from a US$200 million blockbuster about the end of the world directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). Eye-popping special effects, an epic storyline, a multitude of characters, cliched dialogue, bad jokes, cringe-worthy moments and cheesy one-liners.
And yet, for all its flaws, 2012 is surprisingly absorbing. It is somewhat overlong at a whopping 158 minutes, but it’s never easy for such films to be short these days.
The plot – well, pretty self-explanatory. Do I really need to say anything? I am glad to say that they didn’t try to milk the whole Mayan calendar thing. It was not much more than a passing reference in the end.
The science of it all was sketchy in my opinion, but I’m not sure they really cared. As the film rolled along, it became clear that suspension of disbelief was imperative to an enjoyable experience. Too many things were either implausible or impossible or simply didn’t make sense. The sooner you realised that this was going to be the norm the better.
Of course, epic movies like 2012 require a lot of characters. Sure, most of them were cliched and cardboard stereotypes (especially the minor ones), but what I liked about it was that they were all linked in one way or another. It wasn’t just a random bunch of people who had nothing to do with each other.
The characters were portrayed by a great ensemble cast led by Chiwetel Ejiofor and John Cusack, together with Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, and a bizarre appearance by Woody Harrelson. The only notable weakness was Danny Glover as the President of the United States. It was just a laughable performance. Think of an old and tired Barack Obama who has lost his voice and charm after being disillusioned with being in office for 30 years straight.
Although entirely predictable, sentimental and silly, 2012 still managed to eke out some thrills and excitement. As I said before, if you can suspend disbelief and just go along for the ride, the film is pure pop-corn fun. Even if you can’t, there’s at least the special effects to enjoy. More impressive than Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, Armageddon, The War of the Worlds and The Day the Earth Stood Still, the visuals in 2012 are the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. If 2012 (the movie) turns out to be prophetic, none of us will have the time or mood to witness the destruction of the earth, so this film is the best opportunity we have.
3.5 stars out of 5!