A headache inducing mess of apocalyptic proportions, 2012 is a woeful greatest hits package of disaster film clichés, mixed with shallow social commentary.
Directed by disaster film magnate Roland Emmerich, 2012 plays off the mythical Mayan prophecy that the world will end on the 21st of December 2012, and while enduring this 2 ½ hour wreck , many will wish that the end time would come sooner than that.
Parallel stories are featured in the wasted Chiwetel Ejiofor’s astrophysics professor who discovers that the Earth is headed for bumpy days, and an out of place John Cusack’s struggling writer/divorcee who must save his family from the cascade of destruction before them.
The rest of the cast features a smattering of high class talent (Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Oliver Platt) who were all seemingly too eager to say yes to the money, with only Woody Harrelson bringing something lively to the table in one of his scene stealing minor roles he does oh so well (i.e. Wag the Dog).
Bland sub-plots featuring the likes of aging jazz musicians onboard a cruise ship, and thick accented Russian mobsters bribing their way to safety, are nothing more than an excuse to set up the next disaster set piece, which although dizzyingly astonishing (the effects budget must have been enough to feed a small country), really go beyond the valley of bullshit in their depictions.
Earthquakes, volcanoes, and tidal waves all make an appearance in what should have been titled “Disaster: The Movie”. Los Angeles is laid to waste; Vatican City crumbles on top of its worshippers, and (in a double shot of anti-Catholic symbolism) even Jesus tumbles to the ground in Rio de Janero.
Much like the equally pretentious Michael Bay before him, Emmerich has used a SFX driven blockbuster to preach his belief, namely that Government cannot be trusted; monarch’s will always leave their subjects hanging (a scene featuring the Queen en-route to safer plains is beyond disrespectful); and that the roles of religion and prayer is wasted breath, with a belief in miracles delusional despite the miraculous situations his characters frequently find themselves in.
Furthermore, that Emmerich would insist that those with money are the cause of all evil, while dropping an excess of $200 million on a film (no less during harsh economic times) reeks of hypocrisy.
The cinematic equivalent of a polished turd, a round of applause, please, for the worst film of the year thus far.