Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

2012 - A Disaster (And Not in a Good Way)


Review by Mark David Campbell

It is very apt that this movie is called “2012”, because I honestly felt like I just spent three years in the theater.  Well, actually, it was only 158 minutes, but boy, it sure felt like three years.

Roland Emmerich, the director who destroyed most of the world’s major cities in Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, went all-out in this monstrously overloaded film.  His ultimate goal was the total destruction of everything, and he succeeded.  And by succeeding, he failed.  He was apparently so hell-bent on making the special effects the star of the show, he completely forgot to include a story that was even remotely plausible.

Don’t get me wrong:  the effects are tremendous.  Just the visual spectacle of watching the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy flipped upside down by a tidal wave and landing on top of the White House would seem to be worth the price of admission.  And it kind of is, but oh Lord, the baggage that comes along with it…

The date of December 21, 2012, you see, is a date prophesied millennia ago by the ancient Mayan culture.  And though that culture apparently couldn’t descry their own doom, they seemingly got this one exactly right.  And it would also seem that the world’s leaders have known about this dilemma for some time, but haven’t told anyone to avoid panic.  The world governments have collaborated to form an agency whose goal is to find a way to preserve the human race, by building arks in a secret underground lair underneath the Himalayan mountains.

The “everyman” role in 2012 is Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), a struggling writer who is estranged from his wife (Amanda Peet) and his two kids.  But when Jackson and his kids, during a camping trip, run into a conspiracy nut (Woody Harrelson) who foretells Earth’s doom, he is skeptical… at least, until great fissures open up, and meteorites fall from the sky.  Yeah, that’ll convince about anyone.

The movie escalates from there, as whole continents tip into the ocean, buildings topple, yada yada yada.  Regrettably, not one person in this film, from the President (Danny Glover) on down is remotely interesting, and the story is so preposterous, laced with too many coincidences and sledgehammer effects, that I can’t even call 2012 a guilty pleasure. 

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and God help me, I need a Tylenol.

1 ½ / 5 stars

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