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Saturday, November 14, 2009

2012 (**)



I still can't figure out what Roland Emmerich's problem is with the world.  2012 is the third time he has cinematically destroyed it.  The first time was the most fun because it involved spaceships and aliens and Will Smith and Bill Pullman's speech as the President.  "Fun" isn't really what I had watching 2012, a two and a half hour-long exercise in cutting edge CGI effects and screenwriting banality.  The plot is simple: Thousands of years ago the Mayans predicted the end of the world would happen on December 21, 2012 - to the day, mind you. The end comes in the form of a "solar climax".  There's nothing sexy about this sungasm.  The solar flares combining with the planets aligning in a particular way cause the seas to rise, the Earth's crust to rearrange itself, and "life as we know it is over."  In the midst of all this, John Cusack must get his ex-wife Amanda Peet and their family to safety in the most unlikely, preposterous way possible, while top scientician and one of my favorite actors Chiwetel Ejiofor tries to mastermind the rescue of 400,000 people to start all over in super high-tech arks.  The money sequences all involve whole cities rising and collapsing or tidal waves smashing cities (American cities are shown mainly.)  While that's going on, Emmerich goes to the well twice showing Cusack driving an unlikely vehicle (a limo, then later a camper) through explosions and collapsing buildings.  Then he goes to a different well twice to show airplanes barely taking off and flying through explosions and more collapsing buildings (instead of just, you know, flying straight up).  2012 cribs from similar disaster movies like Deep Impact and Poseidon.  The ending is pretty similar to the ending of Battlestar Galactica. Emmerich also tacks on subplot after subplot of characters we don't care much about.  In 2012, Danny Glover is the President and lovely Thandie Newton is his daughter, which is pretty neat, until you realize Emmerich has the end of the world happen on the black President's watch.  The screenplay does go multi-national.  While Hispanics are non-existent (except for Rio biting it), 2012 ends up being very fair to white people and Chinese people, while dealing very harshly with whiny, asshole plastic surgeons,  fat, asshole Russian billionaires and (sadly) their big boobied blonde mistresses.