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?)
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.