2012 is, apparently, a very bad year. It’s the year when the planet that we live on starts to melt in the middle and the crust moves, causing earthquakes, supervolcanoes, tsunamis and a pretty bad time for everyone living here. But stick with John Cusack and you may have a better chance than most of surviving the situation, then again . . . . you may not.
Roland Emmerich can do this kind of movie in his sleep, which is what makes 2012 so disappointing. It’s almost as if the director wanted to make his own ultimate disaster movie and forgot to consider things like editing, creating a mood that enables the audience to suspend disbelief, populating the screen with characters we may care about.
John Cusack is the main man here but the cast includes a lot of familiar faces not too well-known to be inexpendable when the computer FX come into full effect. So we get Danny Glover as the POTUS, Oliver Platt as a bit of a git, Chiwetel Ejiofor as a scientist who helped alert the government to what was coming, Thandie Newton as the first daughter, Amanda Peet as Cusack’s ex-wife, Woody Harrelson as a potential nutjob who turns out to be sane and a few others here and there you will see and say “ahhh, that’s them out of that thing”. Cusack, Platt, Ejiofor and Harrelson are all great while the rest vary from okay to insufferably bad.
The storyline (stop laughing now) pans out exactly as you suspect it would, the emotional manipulation is unabashed and eye-rollingly irritating, the whole thing runs on too long and nothing is believable beyond Cusack’s laid back demeanour.
So why am I giving this 6/10? It’s a spectacle movie and when it throws that spectacle at you then THAT’S when Emmerich gets things right. Immense scenes of destruction that really must have had the computer programmers sweating to get it all done correctly but that also looks amazing for the viewer with the popcorn bag open and the brain switched off.
DIRECTOR: ROLAND EMMERICH
CAST: JOHN CUSACK, WOODY HARRELSON, CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, AMANDA PEET, DANNY GLOVER, OLIVER PLATT
RUNTIME: 158 MINS APPROX