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Review: 2012 by Jamie

Review: 2012

Massive, World Ending Spoilers Ahead! (Including things to do specifically with the films ending. You have been warned)

Roland Emmerich is a guy who has pretty much made a career out of destroying shit. Sure he’s dallied with other projects like Stargate (Which gets an instant pass from me for starring His Holiness Kurt Russell) but at the end of the day what he’ll be most known for is destroying the absolute fuck out of landmarks. Whether it’s blowing up the White House in ‘Independence Day’ or ruining the hopes and dreams of every Godzilla fan with the American ‘Godzilla’, Emmerich just likes to destroy things.

So where do you go after ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ when you’ve managed to destory quite a large portion of the world? Well, you have to destroy the entire world of course! And so he took this logical step with 2009’s ‘2012’.

When I saw the trailer, I pretty much described it as Disaster Porn and on watching the film I’ve gotta say that my opinion of the film in that regard hasn’t really changed much. What I was slightly surprised by, however, was there was actually a fairly enjoyable plot. Nothing world changing or anything but it wasn’t anyway near as bad as I thought is was gonna be and by the end of the film I was genuinely engaged in the characters predicaments and the story as a whole. Admittedly, the plot doesn’t actually really get interesting until the last part of the film, the first hour or so all being filled with set-up, techno-babble and exposition but once the destruction starts you can’t help but take some small delight in what appears to be the near extinction of the human race. Then the cataclysmic events come to a bit of an end and the plot suddenly kicks in and just kinda draws you in somewhat.

Now, as a sceptic I think you can already guess what one of the major problems I have with this film is. Yes, that’s right, I really, really dislike the whole 2012 Mayan prediction aspect of it. It’s a personal problem I understand but it’s these kind of films that are just going to draw more people into believing this kind of shit is somewhat possible. Of course, if you actually take a look into the Mayans you’ll find there’s nothing to suggest that they predicted the world would end in 2012. Not only that but even if they had predicted such a thing, I’m not going to trust the prediction of a civilisation that couldn’t even predict that their civilisation would come to an end.

There’s another slight little problem which, as an Englishman, I feel I just had to mention. What is the deal with Roland Emmerich taking little jabs at Britain in his disaster films? Seriously, in Independence Day there’s a scene where there are some British soldiers just sitting out in the desert when I radio message comes. One of the limey bastards picks up the note and exclaims with delight “It’s from the Americans! They want to organise a counter-attack!” To which his equally posh-accented chap replies “It’s about bloody time!” Yes, that’s right. Whilst the world went to shit, we sat around and waited for the Americans to come up with a bloody plan. May I take this opportunity to point out that whilst America was dithering about whether or not to join World War 2, we successfully defended our country in the Battle of Britain. We weren’t waiting for the Americans too come up with a plan like the bloody French!

Then in ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, we Brits take on a somewhat more heroic role. We’re the ones who provide a lot of the sciencey data that help everyone to figure out what’s going on but when it comes down to it, it’s made very clear that Britain is totally fucked and doomed to freeze to death. Thanks Roland. Finally, in 2012 there is a slightly more comical swipe taking at Ol’ Blighty. The US president Danny Glover has decided that he’s just too old for this getting saved shit and decides to go down with his country. But who do we see shuffling onto one of the rescue ships in a later scene? Her Majesty The Queen walking a couple of corgis! This is ridiculous. Of course the Queen would die with England because a) she knows that no one on a multinational ship would take any of her ‘One is right royal’ bullshit and b) There’s no way she’d be walking her own corgis.

Wait. Didn’t Emmerich direct ‘The Patriot’ as well? Fuck. I don’t understand it Emmerich’s not even American, he’s German… Oh, right.

Anyway, sorry about that. Just had to get that of my chest. So 2012. Yeah, umm… The cast does a pretty decent job. It’s almost impossible not to like John Cusack in anything even though he is kinda playing a douche here. Woody Harrelson is playing a weird conspiracy theorist type and is adequately crazy and who doesn’t love Danny Glover? Nobody. That’s who.

The special effects are pretty mind blowing and do the job that is required of them. Blowing shit up, cracking open land masses and crumbling statues of Christ. It’s all you could really ask for in an apocalypse movie. At the end of the day it’s big, dumb fun and though it sometimes tries to be above what it is, it generally doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Oh, and I also really liked the ending where the last survivors of humanity have to make there way back to Africa. It was kind of like a nice little home-coming for humanity, returning to the cradle of our species. Three pints out of five. Laterz.

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