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No... Go UNDER the collapsing buildings!

Posted by Andrés / November 21, 2009


If a movie can be best remembered or summed up by its final words, director Roland Emmerich's 2012 literally alludes to itself as being a piece of dung. This is not the beginning of a beautiful friendship, nor is it the stuff that dreams are made of. What it is: a great evening of comedy entertainment, and perhaps fodder for your own Mystery Science Theater 3000. Like a night out at the circus, or watching any combination of reality shows at primetime, do not expect the 2012 experience to enrich you in any way. It is pure spectacle - spectacle that will be obsolete by 2013, whether the world comes to an end or not.

The innumerable ways in which Emmerich's latest is but a vapid monster of a film are part of what makes 2012 recommended viewing. While its $65 million dollar first weekend opening is evidence that it has drawn out the masses, film buffs shouldn't disregard this one out right. If anything, an Emmerich event is the perfect way to solidify the careers of established auteurs. His films are a study in how not to make good or original film. He manages to hit all the epic disaster action film clichés. For the first time since Independence Day, I felt Emmerich was hitting the same notes in a comedic way. While The Day After Tomorrow and 10,000 BC were cringe-worthy experiences, 2012 manages to reach the 'so bad it's good' territory. Everything from the endless just-in-time escape chase sequences, to lousy Russian accents to ghastly tear-jerking goodbyes culminates into one of the best epic comedies yet made.

In one scene, a major flood drags the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier into the White House. Emmerich explains the creative process to this scene:

"My writing partner said, 'What should we do about the White House? I think we have to destroy it, otherwise if you don't destroy it people will say, 'Where's the destruction of the White House?'' I said, 'But Harold I've done it so many times... We'll just find out a new way. So I remembered when I was twelve and a half... I visited all these old warships, and I visited the JFK aircraft carrier. Then, because we knew there's a wave coming [in the film], we said the wave will carry these big warships and John F Kennedy returns to the White House?" (source)

When asked in the interview if there was anything he has wanted to destroy that he hasn't, he shakes his head. No. He's done all the destruction he can take. After 2h45 minutes of endless destruction, I felt the same way. 2012 is the disaster movie to end all disaster movies. I have no need nor want to ever watch the destruction of any major landmark ever again. I have no need or want to watch John Cusack ever again. I have no need or want to watch a Roland Emmerich ever again. 2012 will cleanse your system of any desire to see an epic blockbuster, just because it epitomizes all the ridiculousness of the genre. Go see it for this, but don't expect to learn anything about the actual Mayan calendar that inspired the film.

One note of warning: do not drink any liquid during this film. The last third or so is filled with rushing water. My co-worker was literally on the verge of exploding by the time of the waters receded.

Image courtesy 2012 film press releases.

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