Having already destroyed the world twice on the big screen, Roland Emmerich clearly wasn't afraid of running the risk of repeating himself when he decided to do a much more thorough job of it in 2012. Where most disaster movies work best by trapping a group of characters who usually die in reverse order to their star billing in an large enclosed space, be it a capsized sinking ship or a burning building that they have to fight their way out of, here he raises the stakes by trapping the entire human race on a sinking, burning planet that's starting to fall apart. Naturally there's a way out for the rich and powerful and the chosen few, which just as naturally don't include at least half of the main characters. Just as in George Pal's When Worlds Collide [DVD] , which this can be seen as a hugely expensive reworking of with all the spectacular advances in special effects 60 years and $200m can buy, the governments of the world are building arks to preserve their species. Or, more accurately, the Chinese are building them with the rest of the world's money (Emmerich knows the value of keeping things multi-national to boost the overseas box-office, admirably including more major roles for non-white actors than the average American movie).
The echoes of his previous hits can certainly be clearly heard, whether it's destroying the White House but saving the dog again just like he did in Independence Day or having characters outrun extreme weather conditions - in this case pyroclastic clouds rather than global warming itself - as they did in The Day After Tomorrow. But there's no denying that he gives great Apocalypse, and he clearly has enough anarchic spins on the End of the World As We Know It to fill another movie with jaw-dropping special effects setpieces, taking on a whole new set of iconic landmarks. Thus a crack along the Sistine Chapel that divides the hand of Adam and God results in the Vatican crushing the praying masses, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro falls apart like jelly, Yellowstone Park becomes the world's biggest super volcano and Hollywood and the entire state of California fall into the sea while the ground opens up beneath Las Vegas like Sodom and Gomorrah Part Two. This is Armageddon - the Rollercoaster Ride, and about as impressively staged on a purely technical level as you're ever likely to see on the screen, and unlike other hacks who overdo the shakeycam and MTV editing, Emmerich has enough confidence in the spectacle and old-fashioned filmmaking nous to let you actually see it all properly.
It's a surprisingly well-structured film too, at least for its first two thirds, giving enough detail to move the film towards the cataclysmic day without giving away its entire hand too soon. Even more surprisingly it keeps the worst excesses of cheap sentiment that the genre is notorious for at bay for much of its running time before finally giving way to temptation in the soggy finale that could have done with a bit more ruthlessness and a lot less cheese. But for the most part the worst excesses are relegated to the deleted scenes bin on the DVD and Blu-ray (including one character getting a crowdpleasing but unbelievable sock on the jaw while a couple of dead meat supporting players miraculously return from their watery grave).
Not that everything works so well. Some of the cast (Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Cusack, Oliver Platt) get dealt a better hand by the writers than others (George Segal, Woody Harrelson) and there are enough bad lines that raise laughs like "The director of the Louvre was an enemy of humanity?" for you to suspect they were put there deliberately. The costume design of the crew of the arks in the finale, especially Stephen McHattie's captain, look like leftovers from a cancelled 50s TV show and there are a some unfortunately poor in a laugh-out-loud way moments in the boarding sequence (hint: oil sheiks and corgis).
But by far the biggest drawback is the image quality. While the big effects sequences are convincing enough, the decision to use the highly flawed Panavision Genesis digital cameras instead of shooting on film means that shots of an airship carrier crashing into the White House look more convincing than simple shots of characters talking in dark locations or at night - and there are a lot of them in the last section of the film. Blu-ray can't help the problems of lack of depth, detail and definition or the persistent blurring even on simple motion in low light levels, merely accurately reproduce the flaws in the original. While the image quality is never as bad as on Superman Returns, it's a major step back from the kind of quality you should expect from a film this expensive.
Yet for all that, as a spectacular exercise in watching big things get destroyed while the odd human being makes an unlikely hair's-breadth escape that usually defies the laws of physics, it does it's job.
While the DVD only offers an audio commentary, adulatory featurette on the director and 5 negligible deleted scenes and a hokier alternate ending as extras, the Blu-ray includes additional puff pieces (though not as many as the US disc, which also includes a music video) as well as a picture-in-picture featurettes, but there's nothing of much substance here.
on 1 March 2010
I have looked at some of the reviews, and as much as anything I wanted to write a couple of lines simply to counter things.
There are far too many people who want to come across as insightful, so very seriously aware viewers, who know the hidden agenda going on, and can't be fooled into watching brainless entertainment without giving back a whole load of disdain. However, if you want a battleground for such debate, I hardly think 2012 is the proper place.
This movie is from the guy who make 10,000 BC, Godzilla, and The Day After Tomorrow. It's a disaster movie. It's a soap opera. As such it has all the cardboard characters, the ridiculous cliffhangers, the simple dialog, and all the depth of a pond. On the other hand, it has spectacular effects, load bangs, literary seismic events. Some characters won't make it, some will become unlikely heroes. Which ones? Watch The Towering Inferno from the 70's to find out, it's all the same.....
But then, what was this movie trying to do? Some here are talking about the political message, the "new world order". I truly think they must be having a laugh on us. This film has been made many times, and it'll be made many times more. It's exciting at times, daft, silly and ridiculous. It's a disaster, after all.
What more do you want? You want politics? Go elsewhere. Who'd have thought an American movie, made largely for the American market, financed by American dollars, would center itself on American ideals, and the American way of life? Are we really shocked?
This is a five not because it's a good film, but because it does what it says on the tin. And for those concerned, it's okay to simply be entertained sometimes, honestly, it is.
on 9 January 2012
Not content with destroying Earth's major cities in Independence Day, thrashing New York in Godzilla, turning the northern hemisphere into an ice cube in The Day After Tomorrow, Roland Emmerich goes whole-hog and levels the entire bloody planet in 2012.
The premise for the movie is based on the commonly known but generally disregarded Mayan Calendar prophecy that the world will end on December 21st 2012 (12-21-12). Scientifically, this occurs as solar flares from the sun slowly heats up the earth's core by exposure to mutated neutrinos. Or something.
Point is, the Earth's core is melting causing the tectonic plates to dramatically shift position & the Earth's surface completely destabilises and with that comes devastating earthquakes, super-volcano eruptions & mega-tsunamis. Visually, the scenes of destruction are amazing with top notch CGI & you can't take your eyes off it particularly as the Washington monument, the White House, Christ the Redeemer, the Sistine Chapel to name but a few are destroyed, not to mention California itself.
Where this movie falls down is the barely existent plot & complete lack of conviction in its characters. John Cusack stars as a limo driver & failed science fiction writer who upon learning of the oncoming disaster gathers his estranged family & flees to find modern day Noah's arks that will take survivors to a safe location on the newly formed Earth. They manage to stay just about 1 step ahead of every earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption & ash cloud as millions die around them & it gets a bit ridiculous.
Danny Glover stars as President Wilson who has little to do but bemoan the eventual destruction with Oliver Platt as a crooked sidekick politician watching out for the rich & powerful while Woody Harrelson stars as a somewhat deranged hippy & DJ who somehow knows all about the 2012 phenomenon. But the truth is for such a prolific cast of actors, their talents are sadly wasted as the movie over emphasises special effects over substance. Therefore, it simply doesn't reach you.
Still, the special effects are second to none but if you want to see a disaster movie with heart & soul involved let alone plot, watch Deep Impact instead.
Deep Impact - Special Edition [DVD]
Roland Emmerich was armed with a $200 million budget, and this is what it produced. It's an easy film to dislike from an intellectual level, artistically as well, while the science fiction boffins no doubt had kittens where the science was concerned. It's also easily one hour too long in length, and come the second half of the marathon it starts to sag. There's only so many times you can watch your lead protagonists escape crumbling carnage - via various modes of transport - before the fun factor begins to wane. However.
The carnage effects are grade "A" stuff, eye popping and ear splintering, Emmerich is a master at this sort of thing, and with a likable cast comfortably chewing through the safe disaster film making screenplay, it's a very decent popcorn blockbuster. It also isn't afraid to explore some dark moments, all of which - while not all being a surprise - strike strong emotional chords. It knows its disaster movie roots and is happy to tug on them.
2012 made a $500 million profit, that's a figure not to be ignored. The blockbuster movie loving public lapped it up, they often love this stuff, they just want to see the world exploding and chases and crashes and humans imploding or being heroic. If you have to strip it bare on any sort of cerebral level, then of course it's naked. But fully clothed, attired purely in modern film popcorn clobber, then it's grand dramatic and exciting fun. And this even as you have to massage your buttocks at the two hour mark. 7/10
The Prophets of Doom drew their conclusions by misunderstanding the 'Mayan's last calendar that ran out on December 21st 2012
believing it to indicate 'Worlds-End'
Of course there have always those that warn of 'The End of Days'
The 'Mayan's' had indeed predicted correctly the Galactic alignments years ahead, it has always fascinated me how cultures of the
past such as the 'Mayan's' and ancient 'Egyptians' were able to do this.....
The film of course is a portrayal of how the World as we know it fall apart with tectonic-plate shifts which trigger Earthquakes, Eruptions
and Enormous Tsunami's.
Other than Scientific and Geologist predictions early on we follow the fortunes of many characters, though the films central figures are
'Jackson Curtis' (John Cusack) and his family,children 'Noah' (Liam James) 'Lilly' (Morgan Lily) and former wife 'Kate' (Amanda Peet)
we follow their extremely incredible and unlikely journey to escape the oncoming disaster that was engulfing the Planet and reach the
'Giant - Arcs' that were being prepared for such an event designed to save important figures and in theory preserve humanity.
In truth the actual story-line and script is as many have pointed out, pretty thin, however the thing that does make the film worthy of viewing
is the impressive and awesome Special-Effects throughout the film, not forgetting 'Woody Harrelson's last moments commentating as
Yellowstone's gigantic Volcano blows.
Thoughts - The Prophets of Doom misread the script, I suspect long before our Sun indeed becomes too hot for life to survive, man will
almost certainly have already been the instrument of it's own destruction...........who really knows what the future holds ??
Special Features -
* Including Alternative Ending
* Picture In Picture
* Rolands Vision, Commentary and Movie I.Q
on 12 April 2010
If you sit down to watch 2012, like I did, you're probably not in it for the characters or Oscar worthy acting, or any kind of real emotional imput. No, you're in it for the thrills and spills, the relentless breathtaking superb CGI orgies of special effects and riveting explosions.
So you'll be pleased that this movie delivers its promise. I don't see the point of people writing about the poor acting or 2D characters because this is not what this movie is about. It is no more than a B movie pop corn action flick, which you sit down to watch on a Saturday night to loose yourself in the silliness of this action epic purely to be entertained. I agree that the characters are very badly conceived. None are particularly likeable and most others are annoying. This can be frustrating because you feel that if the actors and producers had taken the time to make the characters more likable this movie would be so much better off for it. For a start it would become instantly more compelling because you'd be willing the characters to survive, unfortunately you just don't care.
While the script is very loose, the dialogue is bland and the acting close to embarrassing for all concerned - the effects seem beyond our time and are the most exquisite I have seen to date. I had to marvel at how calm the characters seemed in some absolutely absurd scenarios, when buildings are collapsing all around them, they have no real fear or shock in there expressions and it takes away all the believability. It's hard enough to believe anyway, as the action is very far fetched, but undeniably brilliant. I just felt if the acting had been stronger the sense of peril would be greater, so the action moments would feel more intense, scarier and slightly more realistic. The central character drives cars, dodges explosions and comes close to death like he does it everyday and it really doesn't bother him.
I do agree with all this movies flaws and it does have a fare few. Still I was not disappointed by this film because my expectations were nothing more than what it is, which is an action epic that will at least once make you gasp. It's a little overlong and when the dialogue scenes do come they aren't very engaging and quite frankly I was just waiting for the next action set piece. In conclusion I would recommend this as a brainless entertaining film to watch over the weekend with a bottle of wine a few mates and some popcorn. It's worth the purchase, even better on Blu-ray. Just leave your brain at the door and don't expect too much, but it's certainly no way near as bad as others have made out!
on 8 May 2013
There appears to be a lot of negative reviews about this movie, which I feel is a real shame, especially for those who enjoy this genre and may be put off from watching it.
Being a disaster movie, you have to approach it with an open mind and relax your normal beliefs and rationality. This is entertainment, popcorn viewing at its best. Yes, you should expect it to be far fetched and beyond belief, it would make for a pretty boring movie if everyone just bit the bullet in one almighty catastrophe at the beginning. I find it puzzling that people can't just sit back and enjoy the ride, after all, we have films such as Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow which expect you to use your imagination. These other two disaster movies push the limits of reality, and seem to be favoured over 2012, but would you really believe that Bruce Willis and his gang could really land on that asteroid, or that a new ice age could be endured by burning a few library books & putting on another layer of clothes hahaha. So if your a fan of those movies, or disaster movies in general then I think you'll be pleasantly suprised.
Without going into any great detail about the movie, basically the whole planet is facing apocalypse, and there's not a lot that can be done to stop it. With a large group of characters from the start, we follow each individuals or groups struggle in either avoiding or accepting the pending doom. We've seen most of the characters story lines in many films before this one, estranged father, separated families and political leaders all play a part in the telling of 2012. The lead player, John Cusack plays his role well, with a slight tongue in cheek, and likeable manner as he becomes the unlikely hero. Supporting cast play their parts as would be expected for a movie of this kind.
Of course what makes or breaks this kind of movie are the special FX and 2012 certainly doesn't leave you wanting in this department. 2012 is crammed full of awesome effects from start to finish, I actually can't recall a movie that seems to have as many, or indeed treats us to them all the way through the film. The effects start early & keep coming thick & fast throughout, unlike some. Yes Deep Impact that means you!, a film that tends to revolve around the investigation and exposure of the disaster, but only really kicks off with the special effects towards the end of the movie.
When watching 2012 last night on Blu ray for the first time, I was amazed at the level of detail that I had not noticed on the DVD version. Some of the nightmare scenarios we encounter are spectacular, in one particular scene when a skyscraper is collapsing, the level of detail is immense, every little part of the interior is visible as we get chance to view inside upon its demise. We can see office furniture flying out of the building, people clinging on for dear life, the internal structure on show, and it simply looks breathtaking in Blu Ray. It is this level of detail that provides more replay value, as there really is so much to take in on screen. Check out the limo escape sequence in the movie and watch out for the cement truck!!! Other water effects,earthquakes, and fire effects throughout the movie are all fantastically replicated in stunning Blu Ray goodness! Close ups of characters also show high levels of detail, there is one shot of San Francisco that looks so beautiful and impressive.
With regards to sound quality, I watched it late at night, so I was listening through headphones, but I have no complaints here either. Obviously a movie like this is going to feature a lot of crash, bang wallops, and through a surround sound system I expect that you will be immersed in everything that is going on around you. Through the headphones, every raindrop, jet engine, helicopter, piece of smashing glass, explosion, and tsunami was heard with gratifying clarity. With all of this noise going on as the world is enduring its fate, thankfully dialogue is still clear and audible.
I watched a few of the extras, and found the featurettes on the actors, director and insight of the movie enjoyable, although I'd love to hear what the guys who are adamant 2012 was going to happen would say now that we have happily moved into 2013, Ooooops! Other extras include, directors commentary, deleted scenes and an alternative ending.
Above all, this is a near reference Blu Ray to show off your system through the picture and sound quality. So if you are a fan of disaster movies, and can watch this film how the director intended, kicking back with a few treats, then I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
As a disaster movie this is very good indeed. And in terms of special effects it is incredible. The whole thing has epic proportions.
If you like disaster movies you will probably like this one. I say probably because it does lack true originality. It has all been done before and it has nothing very new to offer except the special effects.
If you have seen the movie The Day after Tomorrow, this is very similar.
The script is very predictable and at times the attempt to paint a sense of doom that awaits the entire world (except for the obvious hero Dad and the family he is determined to save) is very depressing.
Generally this is like a remake of all the previous doomsday disaster movies rolled into one with spectacular effects and a feeling that we have seen it all before. Worth looking at but don't have high expectations.
If you have never seen a disaster movie, this is a good version of the genre.
The theory of shifting crusts is not new, but if it did occur, the theory also states that the crust shifts around certain centers which will be unaffected by the shift. Mutating neutrinos? What is that? Once you get by the gibberish, you get into a bad script. The actors did what they could to save it, but when the script goes south, Cusack couldn't carry the load. There are long drawn out ridiculous scenes where Cusack barely saves his family as the world collapses only inches behind him. Limos and Winnebagos do not handle like NASCARs.
Woody Harrelson as a modern day conspiracy prophet gave us some good moments, I wish there would have been more of him. This movie plays on the hype of 2012. It is for suckers. In 2013 we won't be watching it one way or the other.
on 25 February 2015
Really like this movie. i would give it a 5 without reservation if that whole main family plot wasnt part of it. They kinda annoyed me and those who watched it with me a lot during this otherwise Excellent movie. Talk about Destruction. Awesomeness turned up a few notches and then some. Cant fault the effects. Cant fault the Bluray Quality Both Picture and Sound Rock Real Loud. This could eaisly be used to show off your bluray and home theater set up. It Really is that good. Picture quality is Outstanding and the Audio...well...if your system is designed for Awesome dynamics this one will rattle your walls windows and doors. Beware. Recommended .