“2012 is the best disaster movie ever!” – Iain Welford, Movieviral.com
OK, so that’s the DVD cover quote out of the way. I’ll cross my fingers, but I think that 2012 may be the cinema lovers equivalent of a bargain! Weighing in at just less than 3 hours long you certainly get your money’s worth, but is the film any good? Well, I’m sure you’ve read Dan’s review and if you haven’t well, stop right here, go read his and come back when you’re finished. See, I’m writing this review as someone who didn’t really follow the viral and also thinks the director, Roland Emmerich, has fallen from grace. Since I live in the U.K. I’ve not been part of the campaign that the U.S. is enjoying. I’ve not seen the IHC ads on TV because they are not there, so I thought it would be good to write an alternative review since there have been no real outside influences.
To set the record straight on the last point, I really liked Emmerich’s earlier work. Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich seemed to make a great team, bringing us Moon 44 and Independence Day. I might be biased, because I’m a bit of a Sci-fi fanboy, but really, they were great. As Dan points out as well, you can’t ignore the fact that his film Stargate was hugely successful and spawned several T.V. series that are still going. The thing is that I think he has lost his way since 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow. I felt that this film was a huge letdown, and I’m not alone. I also feel that this movie kick-started the recent “movie with a moral” phenomena that has been seen lately. I’m all for stopping climate change etc, but this was taking it to far. To prove my point, does your car make an annoying beep when you are driving without your seatbelt? It does? Does it annoy the life out of you after the first 10 seconds? It does? Exactly! We all know it’s there and something that we all need to pay attention to, but I don’t reminded about it all the time. It gets grating after a while.
I watched the first trailer for 2012 and recoiled in terror. The movie looked bad, very bad. I watched a Bently drive off a plane, observed the battlestar gallactica sailing in the ocean and it seemed to me that Emmerich was sticking to his path, but now that I’ve seen it? Well, I’m surprised to say it, but I enjoyed it. I started to realise my first impressions may be wrong when more information started to filter through the Internet. More trailers were seen, more facts revealed, and my number 1 fear that this would be another “look at what your doing to the planet” movie was soon allayed. Turns out that 2012 is what I think has been missing from the film line-up this year. It’s not a movie that wants you to think, doesn’t want you to look behind the scenes. Instead, it’s an all out action film that encourages you to sit down and shut up.
The premise of the movie is linked into the Mayan calendar. Before the Gregorian calendar was the Mayan calendar, which starts over in 2012. What is the significance of this rollover? Well none really, but throughout the years, suspicious minds have mumbled that this may be a fresh start. What does this mean to you and I? Well, according to Emmerich it means that quite simply unless you are rich, a head of state or somebody that is going to bring something to the table of humanity, you are going to die! Simple! There is no missile waiting, locked and loaded to shoot an asteroid out of the sky. There is no tunnelling machine to dig down to the earth’s core and save us. You are just going to die, plain and simple!
Now that we have got that out of the way, why did I like this movie when everyone is slating it? Well, for one, it really is a bargain; a Hollywood disaster movie greatest hits film if you will. It takes the best parts of Armageddon, Deep impact, poseidon, earthquake and any other film you care to mention, takes out the best parts and puts them all together into a 3 hour film, full of action, some corruption and politics and the saving of dogs. Yes, the saving of dogs. Did Emmerich’s dog die when he was younger and now he is trying to make up for it? One day the pooch will get it! I’m sure of that. The corruption and politics doesn’t get in the way of the action either, which is the way it should be. There has to be a bit of a plot, so your token government corruption, hero trying to save his family and scientific shuffling of feet plot devices have all been utilised but kept to a minimum and left you free to take in the at times over-whelming special effects and on screen action. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the “thinking man’s” film, however, sometimes I just want to be entertained. Pure and simple. If you go into the cinema with the same attitude, you will enjoy 2012. It’s not the best you will ever see, it’s not an oscar contender, and there are certainly some eye-rolling moments, but it’s enjoyable. That is the point of going to see a movie, isn’t it?
So what’s my verdict on this film? It is highly watch-able and I’d recommend it to anyone, however, it is not a great film. For me, the litmus test comes in the form of a repeat screening. Would I want to see the film again soon when it appears on DVD or even catch it again in the cinema, and in this case I have to say no. I’ve seen it, I’m happy with what I seen and I’m good for a couple of years. For that reason I’d give it an average mark. So, go see it, just don’t expect to see it again anytime soon.
What did you think of 2012? Have you seen it? Leave your comments below or visit out Forums.
Iain’s verdict: B- Does exactly what it promises.