Disaster films have always been somewhat shortsighted when it comes to their stories. These films focus entirely on showing devastating events to the maximum of their capabilities, while not really focusing on building a strong narrative. There are exceptions of course, such as the film adaption of Stephen King’s The Mist, and movies like Contagion which are based around fictional supernatural events, or just the realistic depiction of a widespread pandemic. However, none made quite as big of an impact on society as 2012 did back when it was released in… You guessed it wrong, it was released in 2009.
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The Movie Review
2012 was the year the Mayan calendar ends, which predicted the end of the world to be on December 21st of 2012. This is what the film shows as well, as 2012 was coming closer; the studio decided to create a film on that subject, a disaster film that showed December 21st as the end of it all.
The protagonist Jackson and Kate Curtis, along with their two children Noah and Lilly are caught at the very center of the end of the world. The film focuses on the struggles of this family to make it out of this disaster alive, along with the political aspects of the U.S Government as the President of the United States and the First Lady deal with their very own complications regarding this matter.
Director Roland Emmerich is known for some very decent films such as Independence Day, Godzilla, and The Patriot, however, 2012 was the one film that will go on to define his career. It’s not because the film is exceptional or anything, it’s just because it gained so much attention in the year 2012. It was released in 2009, but as the Mayan calendar inched closer to its end, paranoia and fear among people started to escalate and this film was part of the reason why. People used it as an example of what would happen on the 21st of December in 2012, and that got so much attention.
Though that won’t save it from any criticism though, this is a film that is through and through made for entertainment and spectacular visuals. In terms of the entertainment department though, it fails very harshly. There’s nothing that you could consider fun, exciting, or even heartwarming in the movie despite there being a lot of deaths here. Not to mention, none of the characters were at all believable.
This wasn’t just due to poor writing, but also terrible performances by John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, and Thandiwe Newton. The only actor who managed to pull off a decent performance was Chiwetel Ejiofor, who hardly gets the screen time he deserved.
The one aspect that was really good though was the visuals, in particular the CGI and destruction that was put to display. There were large landmarks all around the world being shown as they get destroyed through natural means that are completely unexplainable. From the giant statue of Jesus completely succumbing to earthquakes, to the entirety of Los Angeles being completely sucked into the ground; every single action scene in this film was breathtaking in its visuals.
Yet you hardly ever connect to it, because you don’t really care about these characters. The reactions they have to the situation they’re in are laughable 90% of the time and badly acted sad moments the rest. It’s a terrifying feat to accomplish when creating a disaster film to make us not feel bad for the characters yet director Roland Emmerich has somehow done it wonderfully.
The Bottom Line
So to conclude this review, 2012 is a bad movie. It’s not even the “so bad, it’s good” kind of bad; in fact, it’s just a plain old dumpster fire. The movie brings nothing of value, from its terrible plot, boring characters, tedious writing, and a bit too many shots of kids screaming.
The only thing that it does have are its chaotic scenes of destruction, and even those feel half-assed because of the fact that we have no connection we feel with the characters. In conclusion, this is a purely bad film that was created with zero passion.