The world as we know it ending; in 2012 of course. And the craze to know how is so much so that the first day first show, early morning mind you, was almost houseful. One of the few Hollywood movies to have a universal premiere, 2012 definitely gives you an adrenaline rush as its teasers expertly promise but the film is not as dazzling as it is hyped to be. Based on the ancient Mayan predictions claiming the world is going to end on the 21st of December, 2012, the film takes the audience on a journey to the destruction to the planet and the endeavours of the characters to save themselves and occasionally humanity.
The film starts in 2009 where first sightings of the earth’s faulty core appears. On discovering this, baffled scientist Adrian (Chiwetel Ejiofor), rushes to the President of the United States and his chief of staff and breaks the news whereupon plans to save to mankind are devised. Three years later, in 2012, on the day of the biblical rapture Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), yet another protagonist of the film, takes his kids to a picnic spot where he unknowingly stumbles across a toxically dried up lake, evidence of the forthcoming disaster (that he at this point of the plot unaware of). He also meets radio host Charlie, the radiant Woody Harrelson, who reveals to Jackson that the world is coming to an end, a fact the US government is trying to conceal. What comes next is a series of devastating events i.e. falling buildings, cities being engulfed within the earth and core erupting molten lava; and yet despite all of this our conventionally unconventional protagonists make it to the safe harbour a.k.a catastrophe proof arcs built to save lives from the impact of tsunami’s. Once the worse is over and mother earth takes on a normal route, the survivors all ride through the sunset in their ever so glorious metallic arcs to find new habitations, thus ending the film.
Directed by Ronald Emmerich, 2012 is rather predictable even though its theme has rarely been explored. The various sub-plots of the film are big clichés for they are redundant in almost all disaster dramas. The down-trodden life of Jackson Curtis, for instance, his love-hate relationship with his ex-wife and his estranged son are elements which have been thoroughly used in many other films as well, such as The War of the Worlds and The Day after tomorrow (which is a produce of Ronald Emmerich directorial skills).
Adrian’s growing affections for the President’s daughter (played by Thandie Newton) and the interrupted romance between is yet another run of the mill premise, even if is a comedic in nature. For that matter if you review Emmerich’s previous works you are bound to find many similarities to either it be Godzilla or The Day after Tomorrow.
However, despite being hopelessly expected, the film keeps you hanging from the edge of your seat, fingers crossed, hoping that the protagonists make it out alive. The director has made sure that their passage to the safe haven keeps the audience entertained. The well mastered CGI effects in the film will shock you every now and then for very few cities have been molten down to lava with such precision. Apart from giving an adrenaline rush, the film also provides comic relief every now and then as even in times of peril the characters’ pockets are full of witty one-liners.
The bottom line for movie-goers when it comes to 2012 is that, if you are expecting something extra-ordinarily out of the blue then this film will more or less disappoint you. Nevertheless, John Cusack’s marvellous act and Ronald Emmerich’s clever use of shots and CGI effects (if not his writing prowess) makes the 2 hours 40 minutes of tolerating the end of the world worthwhile.
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