Reviews, Reports + Comments

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review of film: “2012”

2009, 11-13:

Review of film:  2012


Roland Emmerich.


Roland Emmerich &
Harald Kloser.


John Cusack
Amanda Peet
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Thandie Newton
Oliver Platt
Thomas McCarthy
Woody Harrelson
Danny Glover
Liam James
  Morgan Lily
Zlatko Buric
Alexandre Haussmann
Philippe Haussmann
Beatrice Rosen

Johann Urb

MPAA Rating:

Rated PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language.

“We were warned.”  [ = tagline]
“Where have you been all my life?!”  “In the GIFT shop!”

MY Rating: 

9 of 10 stars  (based on an advance preview of the 158-minute film). 

                  NO LAPSE in the [Apoca-] ’LYPSE =

        A Jaw-droppingly “SUCCESSFUL” Disaster is descending upon us!

The MAYAN civilization in Central America and Mexico was an amazing one:  they had no knowledge or use of the WHEEL, but they developed an astonishing architecture & astronomical ability in “reading” the STARS & heavens, developing a calendar that is more accurate than the one we use today…

…  It took a long time to decipher their language (which often used symbolic hieroglyphs), &, while translations aren’t “perfect”, it is claimed that there was a Mayan forecast that the world (as they & we know it) would “END” on December 21, 2012 due to natural cataclysms (seemingly in part involving the sun)…

…  It’s that “forecast” that forms the BASIS of Roland Emmerich’s latest film:  As it starts, huge solar flares are emanating from the sun, the Earth is growing increasingly hot, and scientist Adrian Helmsley (CHIWETEL EJIOFOR) needs to visit a scientist friend in India to gather facts on just what he’s discovered. ..

…   You probably won’t be “surprised” to hear that he learns a DISASTER is looming (due to the heating up of the Earth’s core & other difficult-to-control environmental factors)…

…  Chiwetel promptly REPORTS on the general problem to the U.S. government in the form of disbelieving Presidential assistant Carl Anheuser (OLIVER PLATT), who eventually brings the matter up to the Big Cheese, President Thomas Wilson (DANNY GLOVER) & via him to his daughter Laura (THANDIE NEWTON)… 

…  Questions keep arising of--  Is the world REALLY ending?  WHAT should they DO about what they know?  Should they tell the General PUBLIC?  Could they “handle” it?  Can anything be done to “FIX” things?…

…  Speaking of the “general” public, there’s a “side” story involving Jackson Curtis (JOHN CUSACK), a writer of scientific-based books.  He’s divorced from wife Kate (AMANDA PEET), who’s now living with Gordon Silberman (TOM MCCARTHY)…

…  Tom has grown close to John’s son Noah (LIAM JAMES), who John wants to take on a trip with his younger daughter Lilly (MORGAN LILY) who’s also living with Amanda… 

…  As they go on their trip to Wyoming, John chances to meet a oddball guy Charlie Frost (WOODY HARRELSON) who’s a radio broadcaster promoting the idea of Government CONSPIRACIES & COVER-UPS (as if that could ever happen!)… 

…  There are numerous small “side stories” to the “main” side story, such as how Chiwetel’s father is a musician named Harry (BLU MANKUMA) who chances to be playing a gig with Tony Delgatto (GEORGE SEGAL)…  And John’s main job nowadays is as a gopher / driver for a Russian billionaire Yuri Karpov (ZLATKO BURIC)… 

…  The film gathers in a bunch of other people who become important or vital to the story, such as Professor West (JOHN BILLINGSLEY, Dr. Phlox in the “STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE” series), a Chinese family, etc.  Emmerich keeps moving the story back-&-forth between various people and groups, effectively “INTERTWINING” their stories into the whole…

…  The “whole” basically consists of problems & emergencies that quickly grow into a CASCADING series of cataclysmic catastrophes…  But, oh, such inherently IMPRESSIVE disasters!  Emmerich used at least 5 or so different visual effects companies + armies of CGI & sound specialists to create an amazing group of JAW-DROPPING special effects… 

…  In certain ways, he perplexes us by bringing up locations & people we grow to like and at times CARE about, you’ll think he’ll never actually deeply “INVOLVE” them in the adversities--  but then he keeps SURPRISING you again & again!…

…  Yes, it’s most certainly a “Disaster” flick, & that gives the impression that it must be inherently “trashy”…

…  But, given the inherent limitations of such movies & the not-unusual sort of periodic pilfering of (or homage to) elements from others in the genre (such as the “POSEIDON ADVENTURE”) it’s NOT uncommonly cheesy:  it’s really WELL-DONE in the way he entwines the cast members & the inter-linked “ARC [& Ark]” of his story lines…

…  In other words, while it’s not a “great” film, it’s imposing & it’s FUN to get “involved” in, and Emmerich’s success in that is why I’ve rated it as I have… 

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