Tuesday, April 6, 2010

2012 (2009) - Don't Ignore the Crust!

On the Menu: 2012 (2009)
Ingredients: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, George Segal, Thomas McCarthy and Stephen McHattie. Directed by Roland Emmerich. Run time: 158 minutes. Rated: PG-13.

At First Bite: I felt the need to follow HOT TUB TIME MACHINE's trip into the past with a glimpse into the future, all the while keeping John Cusack on hand. This movie would be #30 on my Cusack viewing list. TRUE COLORS and THE SURE THING (some of which I've seen) need to be next on that list.

Dr. Adrian Helmsley (Ejiofor) and his team of geophysicists discover that the Earth's core is heating up and its crust is becoming unstable. He informs the President of the United States (Glover), who, with the help of other world leaders, begins to make preparations for saving at least some of the world's population.

Meanwhile, over in Yellowstone National Park, while camping with his kids, writer Jackson Curtis (Cusack) discovers the same information with a little help from a conspiracy theorist/radio show host, Charlie Frost (Harrelson). Frost describes it as the theory of crust displacement.

Unfortunately, the Earth's core temperature is rising faster than anticipated, so the evacuation plan must be initiated.

While Helmsley tries to help save humanity, Curtis must find a way to save his family.

Tough to Swallow: I love Platt, but it's hard seeing him play the jerk for the majority of the movie.

And, like WAR OF THE WORLDS, it drives me crazy to see the main characters skirt danger so easily. The car chase scenes involve the car always just outpacing the giant cracks in the Earth. The airplane scenes are the same way; the planes escape volcanic debris and falling buildings pretty much at every turn.

Something to Chew On: Apparently, the idea that the world will end on December 12, 2012 isn't something supported by Mayan documents. The date is actually the next time the sun will line up with the center of the Milky Way on a winter solstice.

Some theaters gave the film showtimes of 8:12 p.m. (20:12).

The Louvre curator's name is Roland, which is a nod to the director.


The film currently has a 6.0 user rating on IMDb.com (64,095 votes).

Sides: The DVD has commentary with Emmerich and co-writer Harald Kloser. With the movie being over 2 and a half hours long, I did not watch it again with the commentary. Perhaps another time.

There is a super-sappy alternate ending and 5 deleted scenes. A short featurette entitled "Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic" (about 9 minutes) is also included. The special features are rounded out by a music video by Adam Lambert ("Time For Miracles") and 8 other movie trailers.

Aftertaste: Like Emmerich's other doomsday films, INDEPENDENCE DAY and THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, 2012 is visually stunning. Sure, it's mostly CG effects, but it's awesome to see world wonders fall victim to volcanoes, earthquakes and/or tsunamis. That might sound a bit morbid, but it's still breathtaking, and it's the best excuse for watching this movie.

Ejiofor might be one of today's best actors, and Cusack is one of America's favorite actors. So, the acting is pretty good. Again, I just hate that Platt has such an unlikable character because he's normally a great comedic actor.

For me, INDEPENDENCE DAY is a success because it's a doomsday movie, but it's not afraid to inject humor into the story. 2012 and THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW don't really have that. Yes, they're disaster/doomsday movies, I know, but destruction and death, while entertaining at times, get old after 2+ hours. If you don't add some comedy, then it needs to be innovative, e.g. CLOVERFIELD. You know, something more than the gloom and doom.

All that being said, this movie's not a total disaster.


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