Written by Natalie Peck
2012 stars John Cusack as science fiction writer Jackson Curtis, reduced to working as a limousine driver for a Russian oligarch in order to help support his estranged children. Having written a little-known novel about rebuilding society in the wake of a global disaster, Curtis is of course the man for the job when the future of the entire planet is at stake. Turns out the Mayans and conspiracy theorists were right; the year 2012 really is the final curtain call for the human race. Hold on to your hats, scenes of sustained moderate threat are to be expected.
The film follows the well-trodden footsteps of director Roland Emmerichâ€™s previous disaster thrillers (Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow) in a standard divorced-father-attempts-to-save-his-frosty-ex-wife-and-distant-kids-from-impending-doom scenario. In addition, the story encompasses the President of the United States (Danny Glover), his daughter who works at the Louvre (Thandie Newton) seemingly only to shoehorn in a money shot of the Mona Lisa, and a young government scientist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who has a bit of a thing for the First Daughter and is naturally the only person to have ever read a copy of Curtisâ€™s novel. Woody Harrelson steps in to a brilliant role as shock-jock Charlie Frost, who despite being completely mental and living in a caravan in Yellowstone National Park, has accurately predicted the end of the world along with the efforts of governments across the globe to keep it quiet.
2012 doesnâ€™t bring anything new to the table but instead offers the best of disaster movie clichĂ©s. The extensive CGI sequences are simultaneously gripping and hilarious, but slightly overwhelming at times. If you can suspend your disbelief as a man with two flying lessons under his belt pilots a jumbo jet and a family escapes a citywide inferno in a car then it makes for compelling viewing. In the words of Emmerich himself, â€śyou see the whole world go to shitâ€ť in a spectacular fashion.
The film tries but fails to move away from the American-centric model, falling back on several gratuitous shots of global landmarks being destroyed one by one, and is too distracted with reconciling Curtis with his family to make full use of the ensemble cast. At times, the audiences is bombarded with too many messages â€“ money is power, look after the planet and it will look after you, governments will screw you over given half the chance, listen to the crazy conspiracy theories, and why canâ€™t we all just get along? Probably the most important message of all – if a fiery destruction of Los Angeles in imminent, try and find a limo driven by John Cusack and youâ€™ll be just fine.
Last edited: 27th March 2010
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