When I first saw the trailer for 2012, I freaked out. I thought it was filled with too much despair and I knew, for sure, that I would hate it. It looked like one of those save-the-planet-or-it-will-implode-on-you kind of films. The footage of the Vatican falling on top of millions of praying people was a little too much to handle. Who wants to watch all of that death and destruction for an hour and a half?
Well, I was wrong; it was actually two hours and 38 minutes of earthquakes, falling earth, explosions, crashes, tidal waves, and so many suspenseful stunts that it’s a wonder no one needed respiratory resuscitation after seeing this film.
Roland Emmerich, who directed 2012, and wrote the film with Harald Kloser is pretty respected by his peers in the entertainment industry. His handiwork can be seen in 10,000 B.C., which bombed at the box office, as well as The Day After Tomorrow and The Patriot. The latter two films fared much better with audiences. I think 2012, given it’s No. 1 status last weekend, fared well with audiences, too.
Emmerich’s and Kloser’s 2012 is about two men racing against time to save people. Dr. Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is trying to save as many people as he can before the earth goes crazy all over people. Jackson Curtiss (John Cusack) is a separated husband and father of two trying to save his children, estranged wife, and her boyfriend before all of Los Angeles falls on top of them. The final message of this film is that humanity, especially in the time of crisis, is very crucial, and without it we are all lost.
Now, the one issue I have with the script is that the reason for the earth’s really huge temper tantrum is kind of explained, but I wasn’t sure what caused this event. There was no mention of us saving the planet from destruction by being green. So, it just seems like Emmerich and Kloser wanted to make the planet erupt just to see a creative way of doing so. But, I did like that Emmerich and Kloser left the audience with a happy ending.
The plot, however, is more about the fact that the government knew about the impending doom of the earth for a few years and just decided not to tell people. Thus, many people died instantly, never knowing what really happened and not being able to save themselves or their families; or even saying a proper goodbye.
Other than that and the inopportune sappy moments throughout the film’s suspenseful scenes, 2012 is actually a classically suspenseful film. I thoroughly enjoyed it after I unglued myself from the edge of my seat; which was quite hard.
Cusack is toned down in this film, but still way better than in his last few films, which I won’t even bother to mention. Ejiofor is such the perfect man to play Adrian. He’s so dramatic and compelling, I was hanging on his every word. I also liked that Emmerich paired him with Thandie Newton, who plays Dr. Laura Wilson, the first daughter. Newton is quite likeable in this film, as well. I just wish she had had a stronger role. She starts off OK, but stays stagnant as just the girlfriend/daughter.
Amanda Peet as Kate Curtis has gotten much better in her acting. I really believed her as a protective mother and estranged wife, still holding on to her family. In the scene where she’s pleading for her children, it breaks my heart.
Oliver Platt as Carl Anheuser is just one ball of antagonist/protagonist. At first, I didn’t like him. Then, I thought he was OK. By the end of the film, I couldn’t stand his character. So, I guess Platt is quite convincing as the would-be villain. I love that Danny Glover plays President Thomas Wilson. It’s indicative of our world today, with Barack Obama as president. His loving, selfless president is such a great role model.
Other actors of note are: Liam James as Noah Curtis and Morgan Lily as Lily Curtis (Jackson’s and Kate’s adorable children), Zlatko Buric as Yuri Karpov (a Russian billionaire with a thick brogue of a Russian accent), Beatrice Rosen as Tamara (she’s got a good accent for not being Russian), Johann Urb as Sasha (the sexy pilot of Yuri’s plane), Woody Harrelson as Charlie Frost (a nut who knows a lot about the end of days and the tasty goodness of a pickle), and Thomas McCarthy as Dr. Gordon Silberman (he’s still good at being the nervous, shifty guy he plays on The Wire).
I really enjoyed 2012. I enjoyed it so much that I was glad to go outside and reassure myself that the earth is still intact. Although the film runs super long, I give it my stamp of approval for all the film has to offer.