In 2012, the world sinks into… the world. A ridiculous, nonsensical, pseudo-comedic bit of film making, 2012 made me wish for the end of the world.
Metamorphosing gamma rays zingalinged the subterranean super magma in the core of the earth, when the sun had a temper tantrum and mutated the falafel crust. Meanwhile, writer and limo driver, nearly dead-beat father Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) takes his children camping in Yellowstone. While there, the kid’s mother, Kate (Amanda Pete), is one of the first affected by the rutabaga tectonic changes in the earth. As the earth begins to collapse, Jackson struggles to save his children, his ex wife, and her husband. They meet Caesars Palace and Bentley Automobiles along the way.
Don’t believe that’s the plot? Well, too bad. The writers Roland Emmerich (also the director) and Harald Kloser didn’t bother to try to make sense with the science. They just string scientific words together and hoped no one would be smart enough to notice. Why not just say my grandma’s whirly-gig collection set in motion a series of earthquakes and tsunami’s that was powerful enough to wipe away all life? Or a team of butterfly enthusiasts trained butterflies to flap at the same time? That would make far more sense than the plot they offered up.
2012 gave me tendonitis in my jaw from overuse in two hours and forty minutes. Just when you think it will be a good old fashioned action movie, it becomes a tongue in cheek comedy. I spent the entire movie putting a tongue in my cheek, taking it out, grinding my teeth, putting it in, taking it out, grinding, in, out, grinding. (I’ll stop there because it’s beginning to sound a bit pornographic.)
If the push-pull wasn’t enough in theme, the film makers did it again with the plot. A good portion of the movie revolves around taking off, launching, peeling out, landing, parking or docking. The size of the cars, planes, boats, and ships changed, but the action is the same. Generally, the characters are saying, “Oh no, can we get to the (insert mode of transportation here) before the (select one: a. ground shifts underneath our feet, killing us when we are crunched in the core of the earth or b. fire comes from the sky and lands on our mode of transportation and burns us alive, or c. a sudden influx of water swirls around us, drowning us around our family) and the people who are relying on us.” Then they revel in the fact that they did in fact catch that (insert mode of transportation here), until they have to land it in a tenuous place. The only variation on the back and forth theme is the occasional awkward love related scene, be it romantic love, parental love or estranged love. Even this variation runs on a loop through 2012.
The special effects can’t live up to their name, either. They are just bad enough to make them seem artificial. They reminded me of those plastic trees that are almost good enough to pass for the real thing, but can’t, and it makes the person viewing them feel a bit stupid for almost falling for it.
Most infuriating about 2012 was the shameless and endless plot rewrites to fit the product placement and product features. Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas is as essential to the plot as their stop there. Yet we have to see chips, billboards, and hotel signs with their name and logo on it over and over and over again. Bentley bought extended prime marketing spots in the film. We see the logo, the characters say the name repeatedly, the writers don’t even try to pretend it isn’t product placement.
2012 is the longest 2 hours and forty minutes in recent memory. I might have been less exhausted if I had actually lived through this tragedy. I’m off to massage my jaw and cry a little bit for the loss of life in the theater – mine.