“2012 is a recipe for disaster”

Writer/director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, 10,000 BC, The Day After Tomorrow)is back with what is easily his most visual, action backed, destructive movie to date. Calamity films in the past have focused on certain regions of our Earth or the suspenseful buildup of possible doom from meteors or aliens. But Emmerich tops them all by destroying the entire planet in full on, green screen fashion. But I am not sure that is a good thing. As Peter Parker’s Grandfather once told him, “with great power comes great responsibility”. I think that most certainly applies to technology. Just because you have the ability to create every special effect known to movie goers doesn’t mean you should use them without restraint.

2012 is based slightly on the beliefs of the Mayans whose calendar predicts that the Earth has an expiration date of late December 2012. In the early 2000’s some Government scientists discover that the Earth’s core is increasing in temperature and that very soon the entire crust of our planet is going to shift and have terrible repercussions. So they decide then to prepare a way for the world’s leaders and those wealthy enough to afford it to survive. While vacationing in Yellowstone with his family Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) discovers this plot and tries to get his family to China where they can hopefully find safety. He of course has to do this as the world is literally falling apart around him.

If you truly want to enjoy this film you have to go into it for no other reason than to see lots and lots of over the top, eye rolling, effects and some edge of your seat tension. And at times you will laugh out loud at the annihilation of humanity. It is that unbelievable. This movie was made to be seen on the big screen and though it is dripping with peril it is certainly entertaining. Emmerich is the master of creating giant tidal waves, crumbling buildings and sequences of action. But at times it was so unbelievable that even though you could see it happening it took you out of the moment. I think if he would have scaled it down slightly it would have had the same look but the impact on your emotions would have been a lot more intense. The scenes that are slow and building are the most stunning. It is only when he adds the full speed action that you start to chuckle. You have to sacrifice plausibility for entertainment, but hey, it is the movies, right?

I loved the cast and the acting for the most part is what it needs to be. You can’t expect them to deliver these lines and situations with anything Oscar caliber. It is not the time or place. You want them to act scared and terrified, and they do. Danny Glover plays the president of the US and I liked the way they gave him some deep rooted humanity. There are underlying themes in this film about faith, religion and love for the fellow man. When it comes time to step up and do the right thing the message is clear. It wasn’t pushed aside for you to catch if you were lucky.

2012 is rated PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language. Parents should be advised that even though it is laughable in parts it is still dramatic in its intention. I am not sure your younger viewers will be able to separate the reality. Also I think the language is stronger than you would want or expect. Granted I doubt any of us would be saying “shoot” and “darn” as the world sucks us into giant craters, therefore the mild expletives are rampant so be prepared. Cusack plays fast and loose with the name of the creator of the universe which is probably not a smart idea when facing certain doom. I give 2012 a solid 3.75 on the Richter scale. It is highly entertaining and carries a visual impact that few before it have achieved. Sure I wanted a more ominous stirring of the mind and soul when the Earth comes to an end but I will take 2 and a half hours of heart racing, edge of your seat epic adventure as a back up plan. So says Matt Mungle

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com) (11/11/09)

(3.75 out of 5)

Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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