the Mayan calendar predicted it...Now, science has confirmed
it...but we never imagined it could really happen.
Director: Roland Emmerich
Cast: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda
Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Liam James,
Lily Morgan, Woody Harrelson
RunTime: 2 hrs 37 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG (Intense Sequences And Some Disturbing
Official Website: http://www.whowillsurvive2012.com/
Opening Day: 12 November 2009
Never before has a date in history been so significant to
so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments.
"2012" is an epic adventure about a global cataclysm
that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle
of the survivors.
Caine’s character in the 2006’s movie, The Prestige
said, "Every great magic trick consists of three
parts or acts".
Well if we applied this quote to Roland Emmerich’s "2012",
it should read something like this: The first act is called
The Pledge. Emmerich shows you several human characters ranging
from brilliant scientists (Chiwetel Ejiofor as a scientist
advisor to the White House) to the government (Danny Glover
as President and Oliver Platt as evil politician) to everyday
people (John Cusack, a failed Sci-fi writer with ex-wife Amanda
Peet with two kids and her boyfriend in tow) for example.
Then he proceeds to come up with some mumbo-jumbo about geological
malfunctioning, the Maya prediction about the world coming
to an end and so on. You know something big is going to happen
but what is it? Of course, he is not revealing just yet. The
second act is called The Turn. Emmerich gives you the moment
you have been waiting it for. The result is devastating and
how on earth is this group of people going to escape the ordeal.
This leaves the third and final act which is also the hardest
of all called The Prestige. Because destroying the whole world
isn’t enough, you need to justify and satisfy the audience’s
cravings to know more after 157 minutes of running time.
Of course, Emmerich is not well-known for its sensitivity,
subtlety or story-telling. The man is known for his calculated
skills in the blockbuster, popcorn munching arena. Emmerich
channels the energy from past masters such as Cecil B. DeMille
and Irwin Allen to bring you what should be the biggest, size
matters’ disaster movie of all time. Remember his break-through
movie, "Independence Day"? Massive destructions
caused by Alien’s invasion in United States. "Godzilla?"
A gigantic lizard-like creature rampaged across Manhattan.
And in "The Day After Tomorrow", the effects of
global warming causes hail storm, tornadoes and tidal wave.
Take these 3 movies apart, dissect it and you find everything
in 2012 just perhaps ten times better technically speaking.
The special and visual effects contributed by a number of
effects houses such as Sony Imageworks, Digital Domain, Double
Negative to name a few are mostly faultless. The crazy scene
featuring Cusack’s character and his family escaping
LA in a limousine while the earth crumbles and building collapses
around them serve as the main highlight of the movie and the
justification of why you paid over $9 for the admit ticket.
It goes to show why Emmerich is still the master of all modern-day
disaster movies. If this is not enough, the characters proceed
on to escape in a rundown RV, private jet, cargo plane and
to a stunning Supership!
To Emmerich and his writing-producing partner Harald Kloser’s
credit, the movie is not totally devoid of emotion and well-intent
messages. As absurd as it sounds, in reality if the world
were to come to an end one day, I suppose only the rich and
famous will manage to find their way out of this mess as portrayed
in the movie. I love the argument between Adrian Helmsley
(Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt) towards
the end. Is it morally wrong to abandon the rest of the surviving
humans or will it be a betrayal of humanity? You can purchase
a million dollar ticket if you are as rich as the Russian
billionaire with his playmate and children. If not, you can
fight your way out of this as what Jackson Curtis (John Cusack)
and Tenzin (yes our local actor Ng Chin Han) did. Despite
the whole focus on the effects spectacle, "2012"
is filled with memorable characters including an extended
cameo by Woody Harrelson as Charlie Frost, a wildly enthusiastic
environmentalist of sort who believed in the Mayan’s
There are some obvious jibes at the government including the
current Governor of California, the destruction of the White
House (for the second time if you remember "Independence
Day"), a certain Washington’s monument and a surprise
attempt in highlighting China as a technological powerhouse.
But sadly, the last act is a feeble, predictable attempt to
pull The Prestige. But then again, disaster movies are never
that original to begin with, its sole aim is to entertain
and "2012" has successfully done so. In addition,
American Idol’s Adam Lambert "Time For Miracles"
is a fitting end to it.
A word of advice: Just don’t go around asking why CNN
and handphones still work when the whole world is collapsing.
(In terms of visual spectacle, 2012 tops the richter
Review by Linus Tee