James Moffett reviews the latest ‘end of the world’ film, 2012
Destruction, destruction and more destruction. That is how one comes closest to describing Roland Emmerich’s new film 2012. The man who gave us disaster films like Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004), is back with a film that tops them all.
Basing the story on an ancient Mayan prophecy foretelling that the world will end in 2012, Emmerich creates a realistic (if often Hollywoodian) scenario of the events that might take place. The film starts in 2009, briefly outlining some of the events that lead to the year 2012. In that three-year period, scientists start realizing that the earth is coming to an end. The planet’s core begins heating up and forces the outer crust to move around, causing cataclysmic earthquakes and tsunamis. The inevitable end brings about the creation of a secret multi-national project to save a handful of people. Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), finds out about this project and tries to save his family from the disasters that now start taking place across the globe. After some thirty minutes of introducing the characters and explaining the situation, the film begins with a wild ride as we witness total obliterations of cities and landscapes. The story is what can be described as complete mayhem. The dazzling visual and sound effects make for a pleasing experience of the film, whilst the acting is no-less convincing. While the film doesn’t go too deep into the characters, there are still some touching, sad moments - and fearing the worst for the protagonists. Not to mention the usual Emmerich comic-relief moments, adding a touch of humour to the chaos around. The story is fast-paced, starting with a steady climb until it builds to the climax. Most scenes and events may be far-fetched to the point of unrealism, but it is an inevitable eye candy to any viewer. If you think stuff like seismic activities, tectonic plates and continental shifts will put you off, then you’re wrong. You don’t have to be a geographical nut to understand what’s going on, as these are explained in simple detail. Those looking for a treat at the visuals and sounds will be most satisfied. The ‘very real’ effects thrown at the viewers are enough to keep one fixed to the screen to follow the story. All in all, while Emmerich’s 2012 might be far from reality and just a big budget showdown, it is still an enjoyable treat for those who watch it just for the sake of seeing things getting destroyed. Don’t expect deep, intricate storylines with philosophical meanings – just watch the film as it was intended to be seen – a fun ride of epic proportions.