Title: 2012 (2009)
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, Oliver Platt
There’s a couple of directors out there who’s names are synonymous with bad films. Guys like Uwe Boll for example. You say his name people immediately think of low budget bad filmmaking. The kind that makes you want to pull your hairs out. Roland Emmerich has unfortunately fallen somewhere along those lines as well, only difference between him and Boll is that Emmerich makes overpriced, big budget bad films. I mean honestly, what the hell was 10,000 B.C. if not one of the worst films ever made? That film was awful beyond description. To Emmerich’s credit, not everything he has made is shit. I enjoyed Independence Day as much as the next guy, though I enjoy it a lot less nowadays. Stargate is a pretty respectable science fiction flick if you ask me. And as a kid, I even enjoyed one of his first flicks. An evil possessed dummy flick called Making Contact.
But what Roland Emmerich is most known for nowadays is his “end of the world” movies. It seems he has become some sort of an expert on these kind of films. He enjoys blowing up famous landmarks, destroying everything in site, putting humanity in peril. On Independence Day he blows up the white house! On The Day After Tomorrow, the New York Public Library gets drowned by a gigantic water wave! In Godzilla the oversized lizard tares up the streets of Manhattan and plants all of its eggs on the Madison Square Garden! So he has sort of become some what of an expert in disaster flicks. And its understandable that he wants to make these kinds of films, he is just commenting on the self destructive nature that humanity continues to display. His message is, "if we keep this up, its eventually going to bite us in the ass! And a lot sooner then we think!". So, what’s Emmerich been up to with 2012? Does it somehow surpass his previous destruction fests? Or is it more of the same?
In 2012, the sun is sending these heat waves to earth, over heating it and basically turning our planet into one huge microwave! The rivers and lakes are drying up, theres heat waves everywhere and the weather is completely out of whack! The scientists of the world have realized what’s going on and are trying to warn the governments of the upcoming “end of the world” but they are only taking it as a joke! Meanwhile, John Cusack is taking his kids out for a holiday in Yellow Stone Park, as the end of the world is about to begin! Will humanity survive the coming apocalypse? Where the Mayans right all along about 2012?
Performance wise, the film has an excellent cast. John Cusack as the main character is great, to me he is always likable in whatever he is in. I loved the fact that they gave such an important role to Chiwetel Ejiofor, a great actor every step of the way, he plays the scientist trying to warn the government of the United States about whats going to happen. I was so happy to see Danny Glover in a film again! Its been so long since he was in a major film, and on this one he plays the president of the U.S. Woody Harrelson plays a bit of comedy relief on this one. It seems he is great for these kind of whacky crazy characters, he also did a fine job in Zombieland playing Talahasee, on this one, he appears briefly (his appearance plays out like something of an extended cameo) but it is one of the characters that kind of lightens up things in the film in the middle of all the chaos. Also, Oliver Platt deserves a mention here. He plays the evil polititian who cares only about himself. He lies, he is selfish, and he doesnt give a damn about the people, you know, your basic evil polititian. (Are there any good ones anyway?) On this flick, Oliver Platt demonstrated that he has potential to play villains very well. Some director out there should take advantage of that at some point and give him more villainous roles.
On the negative side of things, the film does have similarities at one point with films like Titanic and Poseidon. You know, the kind of scene where everyone is looking out for themselves? When things get really tense and everyone goes batshit insane cause they know they that they are going to have to get really selfish in order to survive? Like those scenes where everyone is trying to get on the lifeboats in Titanic? Same type of situation here. These kind of scenes always lend themselves for lots of juicy chaos. I hate movies that use that common scenario where people are trapped inside of a boat or something thats being flooded with water, and then someone has to go and swim underwater to do something that will save everyone else! Thats so freaking cliche! And its been done to death in hundreds of films before! And to top things off, they go with the, "but he was right behind me" bit, where you think the main character drowned on his way back...but suddenly bursts out of the water to show us that he is okay! He survived! Please, I would have been so happy without that bit in the film, but whatever, it's a minor glitch in an other wise fun and entertaining flick.
The film deals with the end of the world, which is a depressing thought on its own, but it adds a bit of comedy relief thanks to the inclusion of Woody Harrelson who plays a crazy conspiracy nut, who’s up to date on all the crazy things that are going on in the world. He has one of the coolest moments in the film! Which brings me to my next point, the film is never too dark, like for example the upcoming post apocalyptic film called The Road, which presents us with a really dark out look on the post apocalyptic world. On 2012, Roland Emmerich tried his best to end things on a positive and uplifting note, because you know, this is a multi-million dollar production, and we gotta give the audience that happy ending. But multi-million dollar production hiccups aside, this movie was an entertaining ride. It’s a non stop spectacle of awesome effects from beginning to end. Highly recommend it if you want to overdose on awesome fx and an end of the world storyline. Roland Emmerich has vindicated himself with this movie. Let’s see how long he can keep himself on my good side.
Rating: 3 out of 5