Cast: John Cusack, Amanda Peet
Roland Emmerich has been called many things. Most commonly — “the master of disaster”. Fans of disaster movies, entertainment, high-octane action sequences and others such as the reviewer who grew up on films like “Independence Day”, interpret this title of his as a symbol of the film maker’s quality and precision with which he expertly handles subjects of doom and destruction.But to others, Emmerich as a film maker is quite simply “the” master of disaster because of his half-baked products marked by clumsy character development, cheesy acting and a rushed screenplay which invariably ends up as a two-hour glorification of special effects and nothing more.“2012”, his latest offering gives Emmerich enough and more reasons to continue with his obsession about the end of the world. survival of humanity, felling of historical monuments etc. Emmerich makes an effort to incorporate a suitable storyline that will jell with the scenario of the world ending on December 21, 2012. And this turns out to be the film’s largest down point.
“2012” contains three separate tracks that merge into the overall narrative. A family trying to survive, the desperate measures taken by the governments of the world to ensure the continuity of the human species (yawn) and the morality of the US administration that are put to test.
Far too much to take in, one would feel especially when viewers have already left their brains at home to enjoy a “mindless entertainer”. The film (almost three hours long) moves at its own pace and It’s a good 40 minutes into the movie before the first “disaster” starts. Nobody expects logic from such films. After accepting that Will Smith and Jeff Golblumm can save the whole of humanity by uploading a “virus” from their laptops to the aliens, anything is believable.
But surely, there has got to be some level of reality if not logic in the film as it deals with a realm of actual occurrence and possibilty. Emmerich plays the “suspension of disbelief card” to the maximum. Yes, we can accept that the protagonists escape an earthquake the first time. Yes, we can even believe they drive through the entire quake unscathed as the road just centimeters behind them begins to collapse. But surely they won’t make it past the meteor showers…hold on, I see a car…nope, they made it!!
Though the film is titled “2012”, the events appear like they are taking place in the 1980’s. Remember those scenes from all those action movies when we think the hero is dead but everything is all right because suddenly there is an outstretched arm from the darkness? Or the plane that gets enveloped in smoke only to come out of it in impossible speed? Not to forget the old man with regrets, the divorced husband who has to bridge the gap between him and his family, the evil rich dude, the one with the pearls of wisdom (Do not miss the hilarious “Tea” metaphor!!), the madcap who prophesises the end only to be ridiculed by all, the ultimate sacrifice guy, the obligatory heroic kid and of course, the old fashioned Hollywood ending with the bright sun and a hope for the future and where nobody really cares much for the death of 5.9 billion people.
Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes… yet the biggest catastrophe is that the talent of the likes of John Cusack and Woody Harrelson go waste. To add to this, “2012” also has the Emmerich usual — a strong President character who wishes to swim and sink with the country. Whatever said and done, Danny Glover is by no means a Bill Pullman and the black president’s inspirational speech is not nearly as poetic and magnificent as that of Pullman’s “Independence Day” speech.Nothing however to take away from the Special Effects and overall technical prowess that as expected merge into the storyline and do prove to be ground-breaking. There are more than a couple of adrenaline rushing moments. The sequences that show the entire state of California submerging in water is disturbingly beautiful. Disasters at its best (or worst…whatever)Had Emmerich restricted the plot to that of a group of people just trying to survive, the movie could’ve worked wonders.
On December 21, 2012, maybe the world will end. Maybe it won’t. But as we wake up every morning to the pressures of everyday life and the horrors of one bad film after another, we can’t help but feel saddened at the fact that doomsday just can’t come soon enough.“2012” - mind blowing sound and special effects, people running, screaming, falling monuments, “Independence Day”, “Day After Tomorrow”, humanity destroyed, hope restored… entertainment guaranteed? Not so much…Bottomline: Worth a watch, but remember, you were warned!
ANUJ VIGNESH, Ist Year, B. Com, Loyola College
Popularity: 1% [?]