So being a fan os disaster movies, and to a somewhat lesser degree a fan of disastrous movies, withe the release of 2012 on Blu-ray I had to make that movie my Sunday Night Movie this week. (before anyone thinks I slipped a cam and actually bought the Blu-ray, I ordered it via Netflix. That’s one of the reasons I have Netflix, so I can see movies I would not ordinarily pay for.)
As I have said in other posts I thin Roland Emmerich is in a race with Michael Bay as to who can make more stupid movie. After Michael Bay raised the stakes with Transformers : Revenge Of The Fallen, Emmerich had no option but to go all in with 2012.
Like all really classy disaster movies this one has a diverse cast from all sorts of walks of life caught up in the disaster. They struggle to survive, many failing and ending up in either noble moving deaths if they were likable characters, or ironic fitting deaths if they were jerks. There isn’t a single surprise in this entire films save for the level of stupid.
For example, the scene picture above. Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) failed writer whose HARDBACK book sold less than 500 copies (a face many people know in the film, no matter how divorced those characters may be from the publishing business.) is running to catch the plane with his ex-wife, two kids, and their new step-dad in order to escape the eruption of the super volcano beneath Yellowstone National Park. Behind the character is the slowest pyroclastic flow in the recorded history of vulcanology. In real life this effect can have speeds up to 750 km/hour. Jackson has managed to outrun the bit of disaster in an old RV. Crashed the RV into a fissure from the eruption, climb out of the fissure, chase down the plane with family et al aboard, and still manage to escape the deadly winds, pressure, and temperatures of up to 1000 degrees C. Now to paraphrase Morbius from Forbidden Planet: Prepare your minds for a new scale of stupidity values. What I just describe was the most CREDIBLE disaster/action/escape sequence in the whole film.
I laughed my way, and I mean that quite literally laughing out loud, through this entire movie. From the ridiculous psuedo-science (Sub-atomic particles do NOT mutate Mr. emmerich, they decay.) to the ignoring of the vast distances involved this film gets everything wrong and does it in the most over the top manner imaginable.
It is filled with stock character, not one of which has any spark of originality and life. It ignores the consequences of its own stupid actions and stands. SPOILER ALERT.
At the climax of the film we learn that the great ark being build and boarding in China, are not spaceships to take a nucleus of mankinf to a distant world, but ships designed for sea travel. the expectation is that the oceans will slosh over all the continents washing them clean and when things settle down the survivors, like the biblical Noah, will set aground and start over. Of course only so many people can be aboard these arks and years have gone into their building, provisioning, and the selection of the survivors. (The audience is supposed to be outraged that in addition to the specially selected those who paid for the arks get tickets to salvation as well. Duh, who would pay for such a thing and not at least get his family aboard.) But I digress, at the last moments, when thousands and thousands of people are rioting and panicking at being left behind due to one impassioned plea, the ramps are lowered and the arks are then stuffed with people. Not one word about how they feed or water all these new people. Neither of which is a minor detail in survival.
It also has the feel of a very bad rip-off of When Worlds Collide, right down to the ending scenes being one of the survivors looking out over their new world.
This is film is wonderfully mockable. Perfect for a MST3K party, if you have nearly three hours to kill.