Sunday, 15 November 2009

Film Review: 2012 (2009)

Director: Roland Emmerich
Running time: 158 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Watched at the cinema Saturday 14th November 2009.


The Mayans predicted the world would end in the year 2012. Like many predictions of Earths’ destruction, it was forgotten until, in 2008, a scientist in India found the effect a massive solar flare was having on the Earth’s core. The radiation was acting like a microwave, destabilising the core and eventually the Earth’s crust. Governments were informed and plans were formed to save what they could of humanity… Those that could pay anyway.

During the destruction of the Earth we follow, amongst others, the fortunes of failed writer Jackson Curtis, his estranged wife and two children, and scientist, and government advisor, Adrian Helmsley. Having met Helmsley when Jackson takes the kids to Yellowstone for a holiday, our heroes take separate routes to salvation. It is apparent that something is up in Yellowstone and crazy reporter, Charlie Frost is on the case. Jackson meets Charlie and they discuss his theories. During this discussion Charlie lets out the fact that he has a map showing the location of giant ships being built by the governments of the world. To cut a long story short, when it all goes to hell in L.A., Jackson remembers the map and during their escape they manage to get to Yellowstone and retrieve it. Now desperate to get to China they luckily bump into Jackson’s boss, Russian billionaire Yuri Karpov, who happens to have a ticket for one of the ships. They manage to get to China where Jackson and his family are dumped by the greedy Russian. Meanwhile, Helmsley has been advising the president on how best to handle the crisis. Trying to persuade him to let the people know the world is about to end is quite a hard job! Eventually the president has a change of heart right at the last minute and decides to ‘Go down with the ship’, leaving his daughter escaping to China with Helmsley. There’s so much more to tell, but I’ll leave the plot here… I think you’ve had enough spoilers for one day!

Visually, the film is quite stunning; most of the effects are quite breathtaking on the big screen. Adequate performances from all of the major cast members, honourable mentions to John Cusack as Jackson Curtis, Amanda Peet as Kate Curtis, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Adrian Helmsley, Thandie Newton as Laura Wilson (The President’s daughter), Woody Harrelson as Charlie Frost and Danny Glover as President Thomas Wilson. I must admit I loved Woody Harrelson’s over-the-top cameo as Charlie Frost, worth seeing just that section of the movie alone.

I found the film exciting and, once all the destruction started, quite a roller coaster ride. Unfortunately, what let it down was the fact that it was just too long at 158 minutes and the fact the there were far far too many clichés in the storyline. It’s almost as if Roland Emmerich decided to put in bits of every other disaster movie ever made! Also, the story was a tad on the lame side, or have I just seen one too many disaster movies. Over all, a very good special effects movie that was let down by being a tad too long, had far too many clichés and had a storyline that was a little lame.

My score: 6.4/10

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