Written by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Roland Emmerich
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dean Semler
WRITERS: Harald Kloser, Roland Emmerich
MUSIC: Harald Kloser, Thomas Wander
Director Roland Emmerich returns with yet another disaster film in the form of “2012”. This time, it is not an alien threat or another ice age that threatens humanity. This time, it is the Earth itself and no landmark, be it the White House or the Vatican, is safe from Emmerich’s grasp.
The film starts off simply enough with a couple of scientists in 2009 discovering that the neutrinos being released by the sun have mutated and now the Earth’s core is heating up. It also turns out that the scientists’ initial projections are wrong and the Earth’s crust displacement is going to happen sooner than expected. Not surprisingly, this will happen in the year 2012.
The movie then moves forward to the summer of 2012 and the audience meets Jackson Curtis (John Cusack). Curtis is a small-time novelist and a divorced father of two and he heads to Yellowstone with his two children in tow. While camping, Curtis meets Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson) who proceeds to inform Curtis that all is not well and the earthquakes that have been happening across the globe are only going to get worse.
With this newfound information, Curtis does everything in his power to get his family to safety. Meanwhile, officials at the White House are trying to follow through with a plan that will hopefully save mankind from the impending doom. The biggest problem with this film is the special-effects that drove the film’s budget up to $200 million.
The film hangs on the ability of the effects to capture the audience’s imagination. However, the effects make the film come off as a video game without the benefit of actually getting to play the game. In other words, it’s a rather lame experience.
Actually, in all fairness, the effects are sometimes worse than some video games that are out there today. The bigger the effects get, the worse they seem to look. Emmerich’s “Independence Day” contained special-effects that were mostly done using practical effects with some CG elements and they still look better than the effects found here.
Another big problem with the film is that it is all over the place. There are too many characters and it is hard to follow any one storyline, even Curtis’. At any given point in the film, it follows Curtis for a bit before jumping to the White House officials before then moving on to two old men on a cruise liner which then jumps to some old fart who seems more worried about saving famous art pieces than human lives before finally swinging back around to Curtis’ story again.
If that long sentence made your brain freeze for a second, then you know how I felt throughout the entirety of this film.
The first thing negative about all of these characters is that it drives the film’s running time up to an unbearable two hours and forty minutes. Had Emmerich decided to cut a few of the storylines such as the man who is trying to save the art pieces or the two men on the cruise ship, the story would have been tighter and, at least, a little more entertaining.
Well, that is if Emmerich and fellow writer Harald Kloser had made their main characters more relatable and sensible people. Curtis himself is one of the worst fathers that I think has ever appeared in film. He has no problem with putting his children in danger when he should have made them stay behind with their mother.
His ex-wife, Kate (Amanda Peet), also does nothing in the film to be proactive. All she can do is scream bloody murder when Curtis runs off into danger with one of her children. The film is a CG laden mess with too many characters and sub-plots. There are a thousand different ways to spend $200 million and this is one of the worst ways possible.