Movie Review: 2012 (2009)

If you’re wondering (and you know you are) what a movie strictly built around the use of special effects looks like, look no further than 2012. It’s got a backstory that was clearly etched on a wet napkin during a drinking binge at the local Applebee’s after director Roland Emmerich discussed the idea of making some super-awesome computer effects depicting the destruction of civilization with his drinking buddies. (Run-on sentence much?)

Still reading?

Okay then, let’s get right to the crux of the story — the world is going to implode in upon itself in the year 2012. In a very incredible fashion too. That is, of course, if you believe those zany theorists who say the lining up of the planets and the lack of a Mayan calendar after December 2012 spells our doom. Assuming you do, the devastation is bad-ass.

Whatever that supercomputer that beat Kasperov in chess was made up of, it is one thousand-fold weaker than what was used to develop the action sequences in 2012. The CGI in this film is simply head scratchingly bewildering.

  • Hawaii is reduced to fiery embers due to lava spitting mega-volcanoes.
  • Los Angeles is reduced to rubble in thanks to magnificent earthquakes ripping massive rifts throughout the city.
  • The Eastern seaboard of the United States and a big chunk of Asia are swallowed up under the waves of enormous tsunamis.

The attention to detail of all this chaos is quite impressive. I took notice that the animators went through the trouble of showing expressions on peoples faces on a falling bridge fragment that was away from the camera’s focus.

Too bad the story couldn’t keep in stride with the computer graphics.

2012 is littered with characters with no redeeming qualities and a story that, at it’s heart, is a preposterously boring “love at all costs” tale. Anchoring it is John Cusack as Jackson Curtis one of those doom and gloom theorists that lost his family because of his beliefs. He gets the last laugh though when he comes to learn of an “ark project” slated to save the ultra powerful and rich. He races in a nick of time to save his ex-wife Kate (Amanda Peet) her new beau Gordon Silberman (Thomas McCarthy) and kids Noah (Liam James) and Lily (Morgan Lily).

And that’s basically it. Kate and Jackson predictably reconcile while the brood journeys from L.A. to some remote location in China that the world powers have decided was ground zero for the survival of all living land creatures on Earth. If I went further into the glaring holes of the story, told in part through characters Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a science advisor to the White House and Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), a bizarre conspiracy theorist, you’d lose further faith in the film.

As it stands 2012 is a movie with probably one of the strongest showings of computer graphics ever attempted. You’re probably better off checking for these scenes on YouTube, however, than attempting to sit through the pain associated with actually sitting through 158 minutes of tedium.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
2 Star Rating: Bad


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: 2012 (2009)' have 7 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 30, 2009 @ 9:33 am Braken

    2012 is so farfetched and stupid it can’t be anything other than a joke.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 30, 2009 @ 11:28 am Jack Courtney

    For some, this could be a very boring movie while others may find it very interesting since it will relate the end of the world. In addition, the movie will show how to value your own family.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 1, 2009 @ 8:19 am Rose Taylor

    I have recently seen 2012 movie and I like it very much and it was interesting for me to watch it..Its full of special effects.You have given good review about a movie.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 4, 2009 @ 8:37 am Forbrugs

    2012 has a splendid computer graphic effects that has never seen ever before. The story line was not different from the previous end of the world movies like, The Day after Tomorrow and so on. Even though the movie portray the Noah Arc in terms of Modern and high technology available today.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 11, 2009 @ 2:19 am darrein

    Do we really believe in some sort of “change” is going to take place in 2012 based on an ancient culture? In my opinion religion was formed to explain things that were unexplainable to ancient people. Why’d it rain? The rain god made it so. Why is the person acting crazy? He has a demon.

    What is my ponit?

    That if there is some “shift” in thinking it will go unnoticed by the masses. Most of us won’t realize it’s happening until we can look back and see the paradigm shift in retrospect. I believe nothing magical or alien will happen on that day. The same way nothing happened in the year 2000 when all computers were going to fail and the second coming of Christ was supposed to happen. Movie looks interesting though.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 14, 2010 @ 2:56 am Julie Simpson

    I’ve got to agree with the bad rating given but disagree with the 2012 being the “strongest showings of computer graphics ever attempted”.

    The CGI made me feel like I was watching a computer game; in particular the earthquake scenes with the limo and the one where Cusack tries to get onto the plane at the airstrip after finding the map. One word: TERRIBLE. Towards the end of the movie, CGI was actually pretty decent IMO…had a very Star Trek feel to it.

    The kill factor of the whole movie is that it didn’t touch the audience on an emotional level unlike Armageddon for example where even I shed a few tears. You could watch this if you have nothing else particularly better to do for 3 hours …or better yet you could re-watch the far better Armageddon, and save yourself an hour.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 16, 2010 @ 1:09 am parfums

    I did not like the movie anyways. I had seen the trailer on you tube and they looked wonderful. I had been waiting for this movie like many others since the last year(2008 Nov when I had first saw the trailer via Digg). But it is sad that Emmerich could not maintain that part… He ended up messing the whole thing – there were too many frontiers to be shown and he could do justice to none! Sad but the movie failed to live up to my expectations.

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