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They had all the money, actors and special effects they needed so how did they manage to screw this one up? Obviously they thought exiting moments were more important than developing deeper characters and that's why this story that had great potential stayed so shallow. The dialog was always cheesy and none of the 'hero's' in this film really showed any real emotions nor did they give any of those speeches that give the audience goose bumps. Another thing that really bothered me was that so much was almost going wrong the whole time. Every second of the film had a 'close call' which made the film seem totally unrealistic. Examples are planes taking off just before the runway collapses or driving just fast enough to not get hit by an explosion. This can be very cool if it doesn't happen 100% of the time and I have never seen a movie abusing this way of creating excitement to this extent. So to sum up: If you feel like turning your brain off and watching special effects and big explosions with a very shallow storyline then this movie is for you. But if you feel like watching a movie with a bit of depth then go and see something else.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was well aware that this movie would be about over-the-top action and
CGI only and so I decided to shut down my brain to stand-by and direct
all available blood to the eyes and ears. A technique that works
perfectly for classic Bruce Willis or Arnie films giving you 2 hours of
entertainment and fun. Unfortunately this time it did not work. "2012"
delivers so many low blows to a homo sapiens' mind that some kind of
subconscious alarm must have been triggered that woke up my brain to
avoid any permanent damage. Then the real suffering began.
You don't expect to get a good script with witty dialog and good storytelling in movies like this - and you don't get it. You don't expect the best and most convincing actors in the world in movies like this - and you don't get them. Woody Harrelson being the only exception. You probably don't expect the best editing, lighting, costume designing etc. in movies like this - and you don't get them.
You DO expect overwhelming visuals in this kind of movies - you get them partially. You DO expect thrills and suspense and surprises in this kind of movies - you don't get them.
Roland Emmerich artfully manages to make watching the end of the world in monumental pictures a thoroughly boring experience. Why? Because this film never touches you in any way. The main characters remain shallow throughout the whole 158 minutes. Some are just not interesting, others are so overdrawn (Yuri, Tamara) that you just can't think of them as real people. The story does not develop and lead to something you did not expect. There is no flow. Ridiculous action scenes alternate with pathetic, kitschy good-bye talks that fail to catch you because NO actual human being would ever talk or act in the ways depicted here. There is no realism at all in virtually any scene of the film so how could you manage to connect to it?
But the worst of all is the awkward exaggeration in EVERYTHING shown on the screen. It is nice to see a nail-biting last-second escape in a movie. Seeing your main characters taking a one-in-a-million chance every ten minutes is revolting. It is an insult to your intelligence. In this respect "2012" has set a new standard. It makes all four "Indiana Jones" movies look like documentaries. Who cares for the laws of physics? Just invent new ones if it is necessary to save the hero!
Of course this is fiction and you are allowed some creativity to keep things going but there is a limit to what you can ask from the viewer to believe.
*** Spoiler*** My "favourite" scene of the movie: Our heroes are on a Russian cargo plane heading for China. The plane is piloted by one professional and a student pilot who has had a few hours on a single engine sports airplane(?). After having survived a last-second escape (see?) from the airport they are planning to get a refueling at Hawaii. Unfortunately the island has turned into a lump of molten lava and they have to continue their flight knowing they would not make it to China but go down somewhere in the open waters. The very moment they run out of fuel they discover that the Asian continent has moved 2500 kilometers in their direction(!) and they crash-land their aircraft on some elevated plain a stone's throw from the original destination! Of course there is a group of helicopters flying by only minutes later to pick them up and get them to the secret base they were heading for... *** End of Spoiler ***
And no, this is not an exception. There are numerous parts like this. It is just like I said: an insult to your intelligence.
Believe me, I could easily list at least a hundred of flaws and errors made in this movie ranging from human behavior over technical design to mathematical chances - not even regarding the constant violation of physical principles.
All in all I am convinced that it is for your own good not to spend your money on buying a ticket for this crap but find any other use for it. Burning it is a legitimate alternative. At least that would save your time.
I went to an advance screening of 2012 a few nights ago and I have to
admit that this movie was entertaining at best and that's it. The whole
movie is almost entirely comprised of special effects. Of course you'll
see all of the lead characters survive scenarios that a regular human
being would not. Some of the scenes are so ridiculously unbelievable
that you want to laugh at the fodder that's being expected of you to
believe. Emmerich certainly pushes "suspension of disbelief" to its
John Cusack and Woody Harrelson are the only actors that attempt to hold the film together, while Danny Glover and Thandie Newton were an utter and complete let-down considering their previous work history. You won't see any remotely Oscar-worthy performances here. The casting of this film seemed off and poorly executed. You could tell the bulk of the financial budget went to the special effects and not the actors.
The thing that I found thoroughly disappointing about 2012 is that it's almost entirely lacking of any interesting backstory or intellectual substance whatsoever. There's very little mention of the Mayan calendar, Mayan history, or any of the prophetic wisdom that has foreseen the supposed end of days. The fear, analysis, curiosity, and everything else you've ever wondered about this new mysterious year that is quickly approaching is almost entirely removed from this film. That would have and could have made this film closer to a 10 if I didn't feel like my brain was utterly wasted on this CGI and special effects bonanza. They try to cram so many explosions, eruptions, earthquakes, and natural disasters into two hours that I might be a little desensitized to the real thing if it ever happens. After awhile nothing felt realistic or interesting about it at all.
It's novelty entertainment at best and that's it. You won't wince at how painfully awful this movie is, and you won't walk away knowing anything meaningful about 2012, but hopefully you'll help repay Sony pictures for the exorbitant amount of money that they and Roland Emmerich spent on their special effects budget. Don't say you weren't warned.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
2012 cost 260 million dollars and is 158 minutes long. At roughly 2 million dollars a minute, one might at least expect a thrill-a-second work of exciting entertainment, since one does not go to a Roland Emmerich movie expecting either art or deep meaning. Unfortunately, the many millions spent on this bloated, overblown "B" genre programmer could not guarantee the filmmakers a good script with a tight plot and interesting characters. Emmerich treats his own screenplay (co-written by Harold Klausner) with a level of seriousness customarily reserved for the Holocaust or biopics of figures like Jesus Christ or Mahatma Ghandi. There is no plot to speak of - Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) learns of the impending end of the world and has to rescue his offspring and ex-wife from danger. That's all that happens in the entire movie - for over 2.5 hours! By the 4th or 5th time we have seen Jackson and his gang escape death (whether by earthquake, plane crash, volcanic eruption, tsunami, etc., etc.) the whole thing has become so turgid and wearisome that one finds oneself rooting for the tsunami to kill them all just so the movie can end and one can go home. The thin plot might not be all that bad if the film were better-paced and more exciting, but Emmerich wants you to know that he is A Serious Auteur and that 2012 is an Important Film About Our Time, so every sequence keeps going WAY past its sell-by date. Watching this movie is like being hit in the head with a wooden plank multiple times - one is eventually stunned into abject submission. Emmerich does everything at least twice, and his respect for his own material seems to have convinced him that 2012 could not have been shorter by one second, when at least 45 minutes of useless sub-plots involving disposable minor characters as well as repetitive sequences of cities collapsing, flames covering the sky, 1500 meter waves drowning everything in sight and famous monuments crumbling into depthless chasms could and should have been left on the cutting-room floor. By the time Jackson saves the high-tech ark containing what's left of North American civilization (don't ask), apparently by channeling Shelley Winters' swim scene from The Poseidon Adventure, any sense of awe which the sight of huge waves washing over the Himalayas should generate in the audience has been replaced by a numb wish that the whole thing will be over soon and a prayer that one's brain death will only be temporary. After watching a whole lot of cities get destroyed again and again, one simply becomes mentally and visually exhausted by the whole bloated mess. Surprisingly strong performances from a thoroughly professional cast are wasted on tissue-thin characterizations - but believe me, these performers earned their money just from being able to say the bland, clichéd lines they are given with a straight face. Furthermore, despite the appearance of realism thanks to some technically flawless CGI, there is no blood or gore - there should be body parts raining down from the sky during the destruction of LA, but somehow no one seems to be on the streets. On the other hand, a lot of blood and gore might have reminded the movie audience that one is in fact watching a film about the extinction of literally billions of living things, but why should something so petty be more important than seeing whether John Cusack will get back together with his ex-wife and become a hero so his whiny, spoiled son will accept him? In any case, what does it say about contemporary society that a movie showing nothing less than the destruction of the entire world is rated "PG-13"? As far as the "science" and "facts" behind this utterly ridiculous bit of piffle, the less said about that, the better. Of course, this piece of overblown trash will probably turn hundreds of millions for its makers and secure Emmerich's position as one of the top commercial directors of the day. At least if the world actually ends in 2012, all copies of 2012 will be destroyed.
There is now a long, grand history of disaster films in Hollywood. The
best of the lot have combined suspense with cutting-edge effects to
keep your adrenaline pumping. The worst combine cheesy CGI with shallow
characters whose deaths won't affect you much.
Here's 2012, summed up: Look, some recognizable landmark! Kablam! Look, a giant wave! Wooo! Do our intrepid Good Guys have enough time to outrun the imploding planet and foil a plot to save only the pretty, rich people? Probably! It's pretty clear what happened to bring us to this point. Roland Emmerich, who's made such cinematic classics as Independence Day, The Patriot, Godzilla, and The Day after Tomorrow, was asked if he wanted a quintillion billion bazillion dollars to make a movie about the end of the world, and he said sure. Then he took parts of each movie's script, filmed them mostly with CGI, and pocketed the rest. Viola! Greatest movie! (A quick break to sum up the plot. Apparently, the sun and the planets have all aligned with the center of the galaxy, which winds up causing the Earth's crust to break up, which then causes the tectonic plates to shift. Mass hysteria! Dogs and cats, living together! The End.) See, there are two ways Emmerich could have gone with this movie. He could have given us characters to follow whom we cared a little about, thus involving us in their plights, and mixed in some convincing special effects. Or he could have said, "The heck with the characters, give me blowy-uppy thingys." This sometimes works: See Independence Day, a movie that made me feel pretty good when I left the theater after seeing it but that ultimately, frankly, was pretty bad.
Emmerich chose the latter. Which would have been fine, but the effects themselves are wildly unrealistic and often take so long to set up that you completely notice how godawful they really are. For example and if you've seen the trailer, this is in there there's a scene in which the Sistine Chapel falls, crushing thousands of spectators. Because the toppling is so slow to complete, it becomes painfully obvious that it's just a film running on a screen behind people running away. Sad and unintentionally hilarious.
And you can forget about the plot, really, because most of it makes no sense anyway and would happen only in a Big Movie like this. Of COURSE John Cusack is divorced from his hot, bitchy wife (Amanda Peet) and of COURSE she's hooking up with a plastic surgeon who of COURSE winds up having had some flying lessons that of COURSE will save them all and of COURSE Cusack's young son will somehow save the day as well and of COURSE there is a Russian businessman who used to be a boxing legend and of COURSE he punches someone out. And of COURSE people say "My God!" a lot, because that's what people do in crappy disaster films. And of COURSE the president is black, because in Hollywood black people get to be president only if disaster is a-coming.
At least the acting isn't horrible. Because everyone just runs from place to place in an effort to escape the horror, there aren't any subtle, low-key scenes that would allow good actors to flourish. Cusack is good in general, but what the heck is he doing in here? He's usually so good at picking projects, and he chose this? Willingly? Oliver Platt plays the kind of role that Bruce McGill typically gets, the hamhanded, I'm-in-charge, Al-Haig-like politician. I can't even remember his title. Danny Glover gets to be president and does get the best dialog in the film, even if his role isn't a big one. Woody Harrelson, as a crazed DJ deep in Yellowstone is also a lot of fun, although he's not the kind of guy you'd want to sit next to on a transatlantic flight.
Final verdict: Yikes. Yikes, yikes, and yikes. If you dare watch this travesty, you might find yourself laughing hysterically at things and this is important that were not meant to be funny. If that's your thing, this is your movie. I managed to see this as a matinée, so I'm not out the $10-$15 that some people are right now, so at least I got that going for me. Best advice: Watch it for free at home on a big-screen TV to fully appreciate the magnitude of suck.
Anybody going to this movie to learn about the Mayan prophecies for
2012 or for any true science, is going to be sadly disappointed. But,
that is not why we go to movies anyway, is it? That is like going to
see Godzilla expecting to learn something about giant lizards that
vomit radioactive spray. Emmerich has taken a fictitious subject he
knew would be controversial and woven some drama into it. People who
tend to be slightly paranoid will no doubt be even more so after seeing
the world destroyed according to interpretations of prophecy. The
people who sell the books promoting the fear make money, just like the
movie producers. So what? I didn't see this movie to pick up any
information I haven't learned from the History Channel, nor do I
believe any more than I did before, that anything bad is going to
happen on December 21, 2012. Did I go expecting to be highly
entertained by great CGI and action? Yes! And I wasn't disappointed!
One thing many reviewers haven't been picking up on while watching this
movie is the very slight tongue-in-cheekiness of the subject that
Emmerich cleverly wove into the plot. He obviously doesn't believe any
of the prophecy any more than most of the rest of us do. You can see it
in the actors' performances too: Woody Harrelson, to wit. It is the
same as a weatherman who can deliver his forecast each night without
laughing because he truly doesn't know with certainty what is going to
happen, but he tries to make us believe nonetheless.
See this movie if you love cinema. Enjoy the things about cinema that make it great. Take a small pillow for your butt cheeks because almost 3 hours of sitting in an uncomfortable theater seat will make you wish you had. But fear not. There is so much non-stop action you won't notice the discomfort too much.
The film has obvious flaws, trite clichés, and phony science, but if you are a fan of 50's sci-fi, you will love this movie. And remember, don't take it too seriously folks, just enjoy it. The end of the world isn't going to happen in 2012, there really aren't any giant grasshoppers, ants, or lizards roaming the Earth, and no one's career is going to end because of their role in this movie. It is Hollywood having a good time with a controversial subject. Nothing new there.
Enjoy the show!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The 2012 idea offered a great opportunity to make a true global
disaster movie. The plot is imbecile. The characters are black and
white. Typical stereotyping. Except for the White House staff. They
are, of course, morally pure. The effects are good, but there are very
few scenes with actual destruction and hi-tech effects. If the movie
were an hour shorter,it would have been better and the story would be
more fluent. The personal relationships took most of the suspense out
of the movie. The dialogues are idiotic and simply annoying. Nobody in
the Universe would talk like those pathetic characters in a global
The film is full of standard characters. Everything is so predictable. The main characters miraculously survive disasters, land in high mountains and get saved in the last millisecond. 20-30 minutes of superior effects cannot compensate for shallow story and unrealistic characters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't know what I was thinking going into 2012. I guess I hoped it
wasn't as generic as the trailers made it seem. Every trailer I'd ever
seen for the movie made it look pretty much exactly like The Day After
Tomorrow and it pretty much was.
Famous landmarks getting destroyed, mass destruction, hero outrunning/driving/flying mass destruction, family rifts that get healed up at the end, Inconvenient spouses offed and then completely forgotten about/ignored for the sake of reconciliation with exes. All the cliché trademarks are all present and correct, doing their duty by merely showing up. To be fair it's a competent enough, if silly, disaster movie which offers no surprises whatsoever while laying on more (admittedly impressive looking) empty spectacle for the sake of empty spectacle.
It felt way too long at nearly 3 hours and at least half of that was the build up. Predictable and seen it all before buildup at that. We've all seen it before. Strange geological anomolies. Nerdy tech guys coming up with unbelievable numbers that mean bad sh*t is gonna be going down. Officials that don't buy it then eventually do, the crazy survivalist dude that everyone thinks is nuts that really knows what's going down (here played by a very entertaining Woody Harelson, probably the best thing about the movie) etc.
You can pretty much go with your impression of the trailer for this movie. What you get here is what you expect to get from what the trailer shows you.
At best 2012 is totally by the numbers and at worse absolutely ridiculous, cliché and even a bit insulting really.....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was looking forward to this movie coming out. Went tonight, and what
a let down.
1. Was very slow at that start. Took forever to get going. Yes, you have to supply an intro to get acquainted with the characters, and a base for the story. But it took forever! Needless useless dialog. Way too much information, and typical bs that can be found in all disaster movies.
2. Speaking of disaster movies, this one follows all the others in cheap storyline and thrills.
a. Typical disorganized hero with an estranged wife and kids. b. Typical step-father (who ends up being left out) Remember the fiancée in Twister? c. Typical African-American President. In Hollywood ALL Presidents must be African-American... Unless they are evil... then they can be white. d. Bad guy turns good in the end... then is killed. e. Super smart scientist that convinces the world and saves the day. f. Government holding secrets from the populous.
3. VERY UNREAL storyline. Just some really... I mean really STUPID scenarios.
4. How many times do you have to have a runway drop out from under you before you decide it is not a good idea to land?
5. Take a few flying lessons and you can not only fly... but navigate a Queen Air!
6. A lot of coincidences that are just way too hard to believe!
7. Story drags... and drags.... and drags and goes on dragging for 2.5 hours! After a while you just end up saying yourself... "Just end the world... I need relief!"
8. They just tried to jam too many (already done) disaster scenes. A combination of Poseidon Adventure, Deep Impact, Hard Rain, Airport, Armageddon, etc, etc, etc.
Anything good??? Special effects were "ok". At least kept me awake.
Whatever you do.... Save your money don't pay $10.00 to see it. Don't spend money on the DVD either. Don't even pay a $1.00 at the cubical to rent. Wait for it to come out on TV... then if you have nothing else to do... watch it for the special effects!
Okay, the first thing I'd like to say is, ignore those comments from
members who belong to 'the worst movie ever club!!' These members think
it is way cool to label every slightly disappointing movie as ' the
worst movie ever' and emphasize their juvenility with tons of
exclamation marks. They think it is way cool to trash movies.
The movie just isn't that bad. It's not that great either so ignore those who gush and tell you how awesome it is and rate it 10 out of 10.
This is a film best viewed in the movie theaters on the largest screen possible to enjoy the thrilling sensation of cities breaking up, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. This is indeed a thrilling roller-coaster ride. It is best to leave your brain at home, however, as you will cringe at the clichés, the schmaltz, and the absurdities. That doesn't make it the worst film ever, though. So go for the ride and enjoy the CG effects.
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