The Mrs. and I saw the world premiere of 2012, the latest end-of-the-world film by Roland Emmerich. Never before had I wanted the end of the world to come so quickly. To say this movie is trite garbage is to miss the point: the point is amazing special effects, manipulative-tear-jerker scenes about saying goodbye to loved ones, and more amazing special effects. I was entertained for the first one and a half hours, but the last hour drags by so unenduringly that, really, you can’t wait for the end of the world.
The plot without spoilers: An international network of scientists discover that the world will end in the year 2012. Solar flares and stuff will heat up the Earth’s core, causing the cataclysmic chain reaction destruction. Meanwhile, characters from broken families are going about their business, until one of them learns the truth from a seeming nutjob out in Yellowstone park (played “brilliantly” by Woody Harrelson) who, like that guy from “A Beautiful Mind” pieced together the pieces and made all the necessary connections. Mayhem ensues.
John Cusack stars, with Oliver Platt and Chiwetel Ejiofor. If it wasn’t for Platt and Cusack and Harrelson, this movie would have been completely awful. Ejiofor was good, but its hard to play a scientist, and he didn’t stand out. There is a Russian guy who was also very good, if not a little hard to understand.
I saw the film opening day here in Warsaw. It was Poland’s Independence Day, no joke. The theatre was packed.
1. Considering how many digital people hung for dear life or fell out of digital windows as the digital buildings crumbled and exploded, I guess we’re are a long way from 9/11, when such images were so perverse most news outlets refused to show real people who hung on for dear life or fell out of real windows as the real buildings crumbled and exploded.
2. Considering the mass carnage of 2012, I got the feeling that the director really hates the world and is playing out his kill-just-about-everybody fantasies.
3. Considering that every main character either (a) came from a broken family (estranged, separated, divorced, widowed) or (b) or no family at all, I also got the feeling that Emmerich is not much into the traditional family model.
4. Most strikingly, for me, was that every time a character prayed to the Lord, they died in some horrible way: whether it was the Jesus statue in Rio falling on people or the Vatican collapsing and killing the faithful who gathered ’round the Pope, to more micro-prayers, it was clear from Emmerich that in his world, the Lord has no intention of saving those who pray. This severe anti-religion stance would not be so striking, but it kept happening over and over without advancing the plot in any way. Emmerich wanted to hammer that point home, and he did.
Folks, the 2012 website is more interesting than the movie itself, especially “The Experience” page. The idea of a whole new world after apocalypse is interesting, but 2012 only glances at the possibilities. I suppose Emmerich is saving the good ideas for 2012 the television series.
The Waterglass is 15 percent full on this one.