Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt, and Woody Harrelson
Director: Roland Emerich
Written by: Harold Kloser and Roland Emerich
Released: Columbia Pictures (2009)
Genre: Disaster Porn; Action
Okay, now that Roland Emerich has beset upon the world a film so saturated in special effects and cardboard characters it could be classified a video-game--now that he's done that, can we please stop making these horrible, horrible films?
Had I paid money to watch this, I'd be incensed. I'll give the man enough credit to state he directed a better film than Michael Bay could dream of making, but how low must the bar be set in order for movies like this to get a passing grade?
The plot is laid out early on to spare any scientists in the audience in wondering how plausible global destruction is. This is accomplished by basically throwing the law of physics out the window and saying: "Just go with me on this one." Earth is screwed, basically, as the crust is destabalized and every disaster movie you've ever seen converge on screen at the same time. Volcano, Dante's Peak, Poseidon Adventure, Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, and every movie of the month on SyFy. It's all there in 2012.
And there's something else. The allusion to the Myan calendar is only mentioned in passing once, maybe twice. It's a mild garnish to give a bit of flavor to this bland extravaganza. It doesn't matter how it's happening, why it's happening, or who predicted it would happen. This movie exists purely because a studio gave Roland Emerich a boatload of money to play in a very big sandbox.
For those who decide to see this, be thankful for the strong cast that's helmed by John Cusack, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. If not for the ability of the actors to squeeze what little humanity exists inside the clichéd characters of the script, the movie would be utterly insufferable. The disposable heroes, the impetuous children, the crazy man who knew it all along, the nefarious politician, and others are all seemingly plucked out of a mad-lib scriptwriter's imagination.
If you like to watched CGI animation of things blowing up, falling down, or destroyed in some other manner, this movie is a tour de force. If you want a movie with the cinematic nutritional value of a Hostess cupcake, this movie is full of empty calories just for you. If you've seen any or all of the disaster movies that I mentioned earlier, you'll see very little to astound you and should be in no hurry to watch this film.
Roland Emerich has stated that he has no further plans to make another disaster movie. For all that is good in the world, I hope he's telling the truth.