Sunday, March 2, 2014


2012; disaster movie, USA, 2009; D: Roland Emmerich, S: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Liam James, Danny Glover, Morgan Lily, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Zlatko Burić, Woody Harrelson

A scientist discovers that the increasing Sun's activity caused a massive neutrino wave that is making the Earth's core overheat. As a consequence, Dr. Helmsley predicts that in three years this will cause massive earthquakes and tsunamis. Indeed, in 2012, massive plate tectonic destroys the California coast and numerous other places around the globe, but thanks to a 'crazy' conspiracy theorist, limousine driver Jackson is able to obtain a map of four arks that will save a fraction of the world's population. Using a plane, Jackson, his ex-wife Kate, their two kids and a Russian billionaire Yuri, head to the Himalayas where the arks are constructed. A tsunami floods the construction site, but Jackson, Kate and the kids are aboard and are able to get saved. The Earth calms down and the arks travel to the Africa.

One of those past futuristic films, disaster film "2012" exploited the by now defunct 2012 doomsday phenomenon, yet, just like most films by Roland Emmerich, it is more interested in pompous special effects and mass explosions than the neglected characters, which, combined with the overlong running time, turns dire, stiff and monotone. For instance, this is one of the rare movies where the charismatic John Cusack actually delivered a bland, forgettable performance as Jackson, since his role is so underwritten it was not possible to make it more colorful. Some sequences are expressionistic, though, and bring back memories from Emmerich's better films, such as the moment where Jackson is driving his family in a limousine while all around them the L.A. neighborhoods, streets and whole buildings are swallowed little by little by a gigantic earthquake, and Arnold Schwarzenegger has a quietly hilarious cameo as himself, trying to calm down people on TV as the Governor. The basic plot is not subversive enough, though. True, it is very satirical of capitalism (only super rich people will be saved in the arks by paying a billion $ for a place, while all the 'little' people who helped build the arks and helped them get there are treated as 'excess' luggage that is left to die), but missed a lot of golden opportunities. For instance, in one scene, the Queen of England is seen boarding the ark with her two dogs. A truly subversive film would have gone even a step further and showed that the Queen, let's say, paid a billion $ for each of her dogs to be on board.


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