Sunday, March 07, 2010


2012 is the great-grandchild of Seventies disaster movies such as EARTHQUAKE and THE TOWERING INFERNO. The formula is the same: take a group of characters with soap-operatic back-stories and plunk them down in the middle of death and devastation. But like its cousins THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and the remake of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, 2012 indulges in such overkill that it makes those Seventies movies look positively dignified and restrained.

I remember reading when this movie came out about how ridiculous all the so-called science in it is. I don’t require absolute scientific accuracy in a movie in order to enjoy it, though. As a good friend who writes science fiction once said to me, “Who do I look like to you? Mr. Wizard?” Just tell me a good story. My disbelief suspends very easily.

Unfortunately, the personal stories in 2012 rely on such a wild string of coincidences that the “Oh, come on!” factor in this movie is pretty high. At the same time, there’s a very by-the-numbers feel to it. As each character is introduced, you can play the “survives/doesn’t survive” game and probably get all of them right.

Which is not to say that the movie is completely without entertainment value. Them special effects is amazin’. And let’s face it, you can’t make a movie about the violent destruction of most of the world without coming up with a few powerful scenes. I had a catch in my throat a few times.

In many ways, 2012 is a remake of INDEPENDENCE DAY (made by the same folks), with natural disasters substituted for alien invasion. I sort of liked INDEPENDENCE DAY. It’s a much more hopeful film. 2012 is watchable, but unless you really, really like special effects, I’d advise you not to get in any big hurry to rent it.


Lagomorph Rex said...

I've not seen this movie, and probably won't. I was vastly unimpressed with 'day after tomorrow' and I'm really annoyed with all the 2012 stuff in general.

That said, ID4 was in my opinion a really good film. Especially when you take it as a multi-media experience and add in the Prequel Novel, Sequel Novel and the BBC1 Radio broadcast which presents basically the entire movie but from the perspective of those two British pilots we see in the Iraqi desert towards the end of the film.

The situation with ID4 is a bit weird too because it was allegedly going to be a sequel to Stargate early on in its creation.

Paul D. Brazill said...

What I found weird was that NOBODY smoked. It's the end of the world! But nobody has a ciggy!

James Reasoner said...

That's true. I don't think the Russian billionaire even smokes a cigar.

Mark Terry said...

This was such a wildly silly movie, although I liked watching the destruction. And I thought Woody Harrelson's approach approach was good--hey, I'm gettin' a front-row seat.

I did get to the end have two rather sardonic thoughts. 1. Look, I'm a writer and I'm all for writers surviving Armageddon, but in terms of having an extremely limited amount of folks around at the end of the world, I want the surgeon around, even if he is a plastic surgeon, versus the writer.

And, 2. Congratulations, you're all farmers now. Get to work.

Richard Robinson said...

I liked Independence Day. We watch it every two or three years on July 4, for the fun of it. I like big spfx movies, liked Day After Tomorrow for the effects, the plot wasn't really important. (Same for Avatar, by teh way). So this one is about to pop to the top of my Netflix queue and I'm looking forward to it. Hey, crash, fall and go boom can be a lot of fun.