Looks like that crazy writer/director Roland Emmerich is at it again, and wants to destroy more countless U.S. cities without the help of aliens. Will actor John Cusack save the world or his own butt? Find out when the film 2012 hits theatres November 13, 2009, or you can just read my SPOILER HEAVY script summary and review.
We see a solar storm around our native Sun occur, “2009” appears on the screen. Foreshadow anyone? In Washington, D.C., “pompous a*s” Chief of Staff Anheuser close guards the grave information presented to him by the science advisor, Adrian, and a prominent US geologist, Professor West.
President Wilson, an African American (politically correct), meets with the Russian President and gives him the speech, “The world is f*cked.” Seemingly unrelated events slip past us, the Chinese military recruit workers from a Tibetan village, the Mona Lisa is stored away safe in the Swiss alps and a replica is put in its place at the French museum (in 2011), but they all reiterate the same thing the President said.
Jackson (Cusack), a struggling author and part time limo driver, picks up his kids from his ex-wife for a camping trip. It is made abundantly clear that Jackson Curtis is a f*ck-up, and his ex has shacked up with a plastic surgeon.
Back in D.C., Laura, the daughter of the President, finds out that the Heritage Foundation (the ones responsible for storing away the Mona Lisa) is a sham and the only person whom knew more about it has been assassinated.
Jackson and his kids arrive a Yellowstone National Park to find that the lake has been emptied and the park itself is riddled with scientists (including Adrian) and Government research tents. Turns out, neutrino levels are high in this area, just as Adrian discovered back in India in 2009.
Jackson talks with a crackpot radio station host and blogger (exposition guy) that the sun radiation’s will become so extreme that it will melt the Earth’s core, resulting in tectonic shifting and worse effects on its surface. The world’s endgame date, 12-21-12. The rich and important, according to Charlie (the crackpot), are boarding large ships leaving somewhere in China. Jackson balks at the news, for now.
After Jackson comes to the realization that the world is ending, noticing the floor underneath him tearing and shaking (I guess some people are that clueless), he immediately decides to get his kids, his ex Kate, and the plastic surgeon to safety. Jackson and his family watch from a small airplane as LA crashes and burns under massive earthquakes. The plane makes a number of pit stops before Curtis and family head to China for the evacuation Ark. Said ship will transport animals and the last of the human race (including its culture: art, books, etc.).
At the White House, the President makes an executive decision to sit his ass in the chapel and wait for Hell to come crashing down on him. Yellowstone turns into a volcano, Hawaii turns into a volcano, and Vegas gets double screwed by getting hit with an Earth shattering tremor and ash cloud. The President himself gets it pretty bad, by first being knocked onto the ground by earthquakes, and then getting hit with a tsunami (carrying a Navy fleet of vessels no less) straight into the White House. Ouch! Worst death of a U.S. President hands down.
The climax of the film features Jackson and family desperately trying to make in on to the ARK leaving port. Adrian also has the difficult task of convincing the ships of other nations to open up their bay doors for more people to come in. All the while, a tidal wave is crashing down on the facility and pushing the ships against the rocks.
I, for one, enjoyed The Day After Tomorrow, and while this film will actually be larger in scale, it lacks the amount of likable characters of that other, fairly recent, disaster movie. A lot of people are as*holes in this movie: Kate, the Chief of Staff, a character named Yuri, Yuri’s lover, the President (to some extent), and Jackson’s own son to name a few. Some of these unlikable characters do not show redeemable qualities until shortly before death. Even further, the women in this movie come off as either superficial or shrill. Jackson’s ex and Yuri’s lover even laugh and joke about each of their respective boob jobs. President Wilson’s daughter, Laura, comes off as a shrew (though she has her reasons) and even a hypocrite in my opinion. I guess that’s why they got actress Thandie Newton to play Laura, as she will probably yell and stomp her way through the performance just like she did in The Chronicles of Riddick. Plus, there is one reveal at the end that makes no sense even in a silly disaster movie. HINT: If the end of the world comes, I suggest riding Carnival.
While disaster movies give off the impression that Hollywood is creatively bankrupt, there are a lot of good ideas in this script. The Government knows about the impending doom and, though it comes quicker than expected, but does not tell the public about it or hold a lottery similar to “Deep Impact.” Furthermore, only the rich, politicians, and select scientists are given passes to the Ark. The President, or so I got the impression, even orders the assassination of a man that had the potential to blow the lid on the conspiracy. The heads of each country even order their ships/arks to leave port, leaving behind the very men and women that worked on the ark in the first place. It’s vicious, cruel, and poignant…though the writers go out of their way for everyone left alive to shake hands, apologize for mistakes, and show hope for the future at the end of the movie.
What should everyone expect? It’s a disaster movie that shows other cities, that are not New York, being destroyed in multiple ways. It even has a little bit of “Dante’s Peak” in there too for good measure. Is it better than “The Day After Tomorrow,” which is essentially its celluloid brother? I would say no, only because I find most of the major characters except for Jackson Curtis unlikable. What sets it apart from other disaster movies is that the Government of each nation doesn’t give a sh*t about the average citizen. They are not going to send Bruce Willis up in space to drill a hole and blow up an asteroid. They are not going to send Hillary Swank down into the Earth’s crust to save the core. And they are not going to negotiate with Mexico to take on all the U.S. citizens escaping from their native country’s set of disasters. But that is what sets this movie apart from recent attempts, and I do find that interesting. Oh, and John Cusack is in it too.