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2012 (2009)

Disaster films, disaster films, how we love them so. The main reason why we love them is because the catastrophic destruction is not happening to us. One of the main aspects of film, television and books is the entertainment factor of being engrossed in someone else’s drama. Drama that hopefully we will never have to navigate our way through in real life. Roland Emmerich’s 2012 hits a little closer to real life. The only rationale for this is the notion that the world might really come to an end in a year and a half due to the Mayan calendar prediction. Their timeline seemingly expires in the year 2012 and the world and everything that we know along with it.

Dr. Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a scientist who, along with his distinguished colleagues, has stumbled upon evidence, presented by the Earth, that the planet will go through some rather drastic changes. Changes that will do a little more than just alter our way of living. The problem is that they have discovered this problem a little too late thus not leaving enough time to find a way to save all of the inhabitants of our world. Jackson Curtis, which oddly enough is 50 Cent’s name in reverse, (John Cusack) is a writer who drives a limo by day while trying to get his name out there as a notable novelist by night. He is separated from his wife, Kate (Amanda Peet), who lives with her new boyfriend and two children whom she conceived while still married to Jackson.

While on a camping trip with his son and daughter, Jackson meets a man who seems a little off his rocker named Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson). He boasts claims of the world ending very soon and the government’s attempts to cover it up. Soon, Jackson realizes that Frost might be on to something when random earthquakes begin hitting the west coast of the United States. From then on, it’s a mad dash for survival and answers as to “what now?” There seems as if nowhere is safe. Where do you run to when the entire planet is falling apart?

This film was one big chase. Characters attempting to run away from the end of the world. The destruction was massive and epic. Everywhere you looked, there were buildings collapsing, cars running off the road, well known landmarks falling apart and of course people dying. To make this happen, it seems as if Emmerich took a page out of the book from the special effects team from 300 and shot this film on one giant green screen…or blue screen, depending on what your favorite color is. While pretty sound in detail and construction, the end of the world seemed kind of cartoony for my liking with the CGI used. Not too shabby seeing land masses crumble from an aerial view and watching tiny people trying to escape to safety, to no avail, but it was just hard to believe.

Some big name actors, including Danny Glover and Thandie Newton, were brought in to do a job that I felt could have been done by some up-and-comers and probably still generate the same effect. Other than running for their lives, the main acting points included the constant debate and disagreements on whether or not to let the public know of their imminent demise. I couldn’t place where anyone really stood-out from everybody else in that department.

The biggest message from the story written by Emmerich and Harald Kloser was that of sheer humanity. How we act when we are faced with a cataclysm so enormous says a lot about a person’s true nature. Whether it was a positive or negative reflection, both responses were on full display in this movie. Some expected while others were quite surprising. As far as the positive ones go, if we all acted that way all of the time, it just might make this place we call home a better one to live in.

Rather long at 2 and half hours, this movie has its moments of drag, especially at the very beginning. It also becomes somewhat redundant with showing the audience just how many different ways people can die when the world is ceasing to exist. If the Mayan theory interests you or you are just a fan of apocalyptic films, then I would say you should check this one out but don’t get too excited. I give 2012 “3 reasons why I became disappointed after watching this film because I really wanted to attend the 2014 World Cup out of 5”.

“The moment we stop fighting for each other, that's the moment we lose our humanity.”


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