2012 (2009) – reviewed by George

I think Roland Emerich is a good director and I like him. But watching this movie I got an inkling of why some people don’t. The first half is fantastic – even if you didn’t see it already you remember from the trailers the plane flying sideways between two falling buildings. The special effects of the end of the world are really incredible. But there are plans involving both noble folks like the President (Danny Glover) and venal self-serving people like his Chief of Staff (Oliver Platt). And these plans mean that for some people the world will not end, but will go on and on, like the movie. The effects were great from start to finish, but I admit to being a little worn out with the adventures of the survivors in their arks during the final disaster: a tsunami.
The central characters are Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) and his wife (ex-wife? – I really didn’t get it) Kate Curtis (Amanda Peet), and their children Noah and Lilly (Liam James and Morgan Lily). Kate and the kids are currently living with Gordon Silberman (Tom McCarthy), a really nice guy and more dependably there for everybody than Jackson had ever been. Then Jackson arrives for his annual campout with the kids. He takes them to Yellowstone where they meet Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), a bit loony but with accurate information about the coming Armageddon predicted by the Mayans in their calendar.
Personally I have always believed that 2012 being the end of the Mayan calendar does not mean the end of the world, but just the end of the calendar. It’s like Stop. Reset! Go back to the beginning and start over. Shows how much I know about the Mayans, I guess.
The other important couple is Dr. Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and the President’s daughter Laura (Thandie Newton). Helmsley is the ethical scientist who tries to do the right thing, and Laura supports him in his decisions (after all, her dad is the most ethical character in the movie).
Jackson rushes the kids back to Los Angeles to pick up Kate (who insists that Gordon come too – pretty good idea since Gordon is a pilot), and get the hell out of there. The sense of emergency that results from the writing and the performances is solid, and the effects are super, especially when the caldera under Yellowstone becomes a mega-volcano. This you gotta see if you dig FX.
I like a good disaster flick and this is one; it’s just a little too long. An unkinder critic might say a lot too long. Hey, it’s only something like two and a half hours, but after the Yellowstone sequence it seemed contrived, adding one more disaster and then another one, and too much dialogue. But I still liked it, overall.

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1 Response to 2012 (2009) – reviewed by George

  1. nita166 says:

    Thanks George, great review. I give it **. I didn’t like it. I did like what you said at the end of this comment about it being ‘too long’ etc. I agree with you. I like big movies as well but too much of this is tricks, not acting. I kind of need both when I get board with the lack of one. I didn’t watch it at the movies I watched it on a friend’s very large TV. So I did like that part. Like I said too many tricks.

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