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.
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 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!
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
on 4 November 2013
You want acting watch a costume drama(even though personally I thought the acting myself was great for a film of this type),if you want to learn about the end of mankind watch a documentary and if you want a superb story watch a film like Inception.
This is a epic,action packed,special effects(which are the best ever to me in a film and nothing has looked as good on a cinema)heavy and mother of all disaster films and needs to be seen at least once in your lifetime.
As I said the acting is very good especially from John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofer and considering that nearly all the disaster moments that the actors don't see what we see their acting is brilliant and they are reacting to things that are not there and proof of good actors,its the same with the actors in Transformers when there are no robots to them but just to us watching at home.
The special effects are jaw dropping with without doubt the highlights are the stunning eruption of Yellowstone which nearly blew my eardrums off in the cinema and the mega quake in LA which shown the city destroyed for ever and so say would take thousands of years to rebuild and believe me you would not want this to happen for real people.
Its silly,very cheesy and drags a bit after a astonishing first hour but all in all you won't see a more spectacular and jaw dropping piece of blockbuster entertainment than this in your lifetime.
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.
on 4 August 2015
A watchable Disaster movie! Along the lines of the movie Day After Tomorrow - the earth is in deep trouble and how do we survive. The ending is a wee bit patchy as though some of the ideas were last minute "put-togethers". The shot of the monk on the front is a scene from the film which instead of an "...Ommmmm prepare for death Grasshopper" image is instead a bit of a giggle scene although I don't suppose that was how it was written.
Pretty good disaster eco-movie with the usual warning for mankind to get its act together.
on 2 December 2009
Dreadful, dreadful film. And I loved every second of it! Full of scientific impossibilities - if you like your films factual, stay far away from this. But I never expected it to be a documentary. I went because I loved all the director's previous films and wanted to see more of the special effects he's known for. It is jam packed with death and destruction, in a PG way and I cannot wait for the DVD to come out. The first half had me laughing at all the silliness, the second crying, because it is the end of the world after all. Exactly what I looked forward to, exactly what I wanted. Brilliant.
on 20 June 2015
Great fun with some super special effects (as they used to be known as!). It's not high art but I defy most people not to enjoy the non stop action. It's as good an action/disaster film as any other, with lots of personal stories, heroism, greed and cruelty and redemption. I say watch it for what it is and don't try to make anything artistic or deeply meaningful out of it. Just enjoy!
on 9 December 2015
Eco-Sci-Fi special effects romp. Lets be honest its about the SFX not the plot or cast. If you love major each changing special effect then this is for you. Lets be honest, we go to the pictures (cinema for non Mancs and Lancs) for escapism, not the dreary real world played out in front of us on the big screen. So what if: "That'd never happen in real life", "That's not how they operate" and "You wouldn't do that would you?" (be honest, you all shout that at the TV screen and think it in the pictures........ OH YES you do!! This is for suspending belief and reality and just enjoying an exciting special effects movie showing what incredible illusions can be created on screen. Yes, its a SFX film with a few actors doing their bit thrown in. As long as you remember all that the clichéd script wont bother you. Go on... You can do it!