Divorced man trying to win back his wife and kids from stepdad. Government being stubborn and thinking only about themselves. Guy falling off a cliff and hanging on by one hand when everyone thinks he’s dead. Crazy guy predicting the end of the world. Directed by Roland Emmerich (he did Day After Tomorrow and Godzilla), 2012 has every possible cliché a disaster movie could have. Most of the time this ends up as a good thing. Unfortunately when it comes to 2012, the film is so cheesy with its acting and scenarios it goes from cool film, past so bad its good territory, and ends up in the “at least the CGI was good” region. And that’s probably the only standout high point about this film.
I haven’t seen John Cusack in a film since 1408. And he was pretty good in that. But I kind of feel sorry him this time. Poor guy is stuck with some of the worst lines you’ll ever hear in a disaster film. Lines like:“It’s not just California… it’s the whole world!”. Woody Harrelson plays the crazy guy predicting the government conspiracies etc and he ends up being one of the better parts of the film. Harrelson plays the role like he knows the entire film is ridiculous and is quite entertaining. Danny Glover, who I haven’t seen since Predator 2, is supposed to be a representation of Obama but spends the film performing his lines like he has a pole up his arse. He spaces everything out. “We….have a….situation….gentlemen”. GET ON WITH IT. I know he’s meant to be serious and dreading it but I’m falling asleep here. I just kept thinking of him shouting “Riggs!” in Lethal Weapon and giggling to myself.
For all its faults 2012 isn’t the worst disaster movie I’ve ever seen. That would be The Happening or The Core. There is a somewhat underlying comedic tone to the film, which is funny for a joke or two but characters sometimes make jokes at the worst possible time. Falling off a cliff worst possible time. However, I’ll give 2012 its due in that you do get your money’s worth purely from the CGI. Its excellent. And once they get the basic premise out of the way (something about the earth heating up) , you’re given a massive CGI destruction set piece every 15 minutes to keep you interested. Better than Day After Tomorrow by a long shot, but it’s no Independence Day.
2 Roland Emmerich’s out of 5.