Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Woody Harrelson, Tom McCarthy
Before I begin this review, I'd like to answer a question posed to me in my last entry by a reader. The reason most of my ratings are at least 3/5 is because I am selective of the films I watch. I wouldn't watch something that I think I wouldn't enjoy, and this depends on the genre, who's in it, who directed it and how the promos play out. So I end up watching movies that I normally would be able to enjoy very much, or just call it a decent effort. Of course, a few slip through my radar, like The Last House On The Left, which I handed a 2.5 rating.
OK, on to 2012. As most of you would already know by now, that is if you've seen the trailers and know who's directing this, it's the end of the world, and Roland Emmerich is responsible again. It's not aliens, not a giant lizard, or global warming. Well, OK. Maybe nature has something to do with this one. Basically in 2009, scientists find out that the earth's core is heating up thanks to neutrinos from the sun, and the world will end in 2012.
The key scientist in this matter is Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who brings his discovery to the attention of White House chief of staff Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt) and President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover). The President proceeds to make contingency plans with leaders of the G8 countries.
Cut to the final year. Struggling writer Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), who is on a camping trip at Yellowstone Park with his kids, discovers about the phenomenon and races home to save his family, which includes his kids, his ex-wife Kate (Amanda Peet) and her new boyfriend Gordon (Tom McCarthy). They barely manage to flee California before it collapses into the ocean. Jackson learns of the contingency plan and tries to get his family to safety.
Keep in mind one thing: when Emmerich tries to destroy the world on film, forget about everything else and just enjoy the action. You're not here to see plot development, good acting and all that jazz. You're here to see how Emmerich uses CGI to create large scale destruction. And this time it's global, so you'll see famous landmarks go down. You'll see humongous earthquakes, super tsunamis and giant volcanic fireballs throughout the movie. Think of all the great disaster flicks you've seen, put them all together and you have 2012. And by God, Emmerich does that splendidly. My favourite would be the sinking of California. Watch how Jackson and gang try to outrun huge earthquakes and buildings coming down around them. It's like a big rollercoaster ride.
Of the cast, Ejiofor and Platt stand out best, the former as the man who tries to morally do what's right, and the latter as the slimy, self-serving man who would sacrifice human lives to preserve what he thinks is the greater good. Cusack just manages to acquit himself as the hero in the type of film he wouldn't normally star in. Glover and Newton are wasted as the President and First Daughter respectively.
What I do like about this film is the colourful supporting cast, the ones who play smaller parts. It's quite representative of the global race. Jimi Mistry (Partition), Henry O (Rush Hour 3), John Billingsley (True Blood), Patrick Bauchau (Pretender), Chin Han (The Dark Knight) and Blu Mankuma (TV's Robocop) all play key roles here. We even have a Russian villain played by Zlatko Buric, who is quite hilarious to watch too.
Verdict: it's a nice popcorn flick, but it would have been better if it was shorter. At 158 minutes, it can be taxing. (3.5/5)