Plot: A frustrated writer struggles to keep his family alive when a series of global catastrophes threatens to annihilate mankind.
Director: Ronald Emmerich
Released: November 2009
When it comes to Ronald Emmerich films you know what you’re going to get, usually a popcorn action flick, in which you will see world landmarks being destroyed, over the top action sequences and more the often questionable acting (Though not to the level of Michael Bay). So when it was announced he was going to direct a film all about the Mayan calenders prediction that the world would end in 2012, you knew this wasn’t going to be Oscar-winning material, but just how disposable is this film and is it still enjoyable years after the world didn’t end? Well, what better time than being stuck in the middle of a global pandemic than to look for some escapism and revisit 2012 and see.
Firstly from a purely visual stand-point, Emmerich has taken all he learnt on film such as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and Godzilla to produce another fabulous portrayal destruction on a massive scale. From the first sequence of the earth opening up to swallow all before it, through to the massive tidal wave that follows, the spectacular special effects keep you glued to the screen with your jaws wide open. With the CGI still looking great and creating more than one terrific nail-biting scene for our heroes to contend with as they fight for their lives.
Now I knew not to expect a film filled with emotion and Shakespearian writing, But even for an Emmerich film 2012 was lacking heart, depth and any level characterization that would help you to relate characters. leaving you almost cold when they are placed in danger or die. This wasn’t the cast fault as they each deliver fine performances, it was the writing that let them down and lead to more than one slow moment between during the downtime between action sequences.
2012 also tends to run out of ideas midway through and produce a feeling of Deja vu with the destruction, not just showing you things that you may have seen done in other films, but also more than once in this film, Emmerich seems to have cherry-picked the sequences that he like in his previous work and tried to surpasses them in terms mass destruction, but without giving them the same level of attention when it comes to the not action side of things, seemingly skipping many important questions as to why this is happening and just why the Mayans might have known this was going to happen, instead, focusing on a random family who through a series of lucky escapes and convenient happening manage to bungle their way across the world.
I would say that in 2012 there is enjoyment to be had if you turn off your brain, the CGI and events will entertain that part of you that just wants to watch big buildings fall down and massive floods, just don’t think too much about it otherwise you’ll end up pulling the plot apart and realising just how dumb the movie is.