2012 (2009)

2012 (2009) — In some ways this is an awful movie.  In others, it’s an awesome movie.  The two factors end up reaching a kind of mindless equilibrium that ends up being quite entertaining like Roland Emmerich’s earlier destroying-the-world films Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow (though I guess a lot of people didn’t like the latter, but I did so screw it).  There’s a lot of characters who you’re supposed to care about and I guess you do to the extent you care about the gazelle that’s trying to get away from a cheetah in nature documentaries: you’re rooting for him on one level but the on another you want to see the sucker get devoured.  Of course Roland Emmerich follows the Irwin Allen model of large ensemble cast full of expendable characters.  John Cusack tones down his usual Cusack-ness which is unfortunate because some quirk might have made his character more interesting.  Woody Harrelson is awesome for the simple fact that he’s Woody Harrelson, but crazier (if you can fathom such a thing).  Sometimes-actor/sometimes-director Thomas McCarthy proves that not only can he makes films with resonating emotional depth like The Visitor and The Station Agent, but he can also fly a plane to outrun earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and giant ash clouds!  Actually if there’s a lesson in this movie it’s that you CAN OUTRUN ANYTHING!  Remember in The Day After Tomorrow when Jake Gylenhaal has to outrun frost?  Well it’s like that but with EVERYTHING: earthquakes, lava, ash clouds, tsunamis.  Roland Emmerich, when not desecrating beloved Japanese film franchises, knows how to destroy landmarks and in 2012 he destroys landmarks with unabashed destructive glee.  And there’s a government conspiracy (of course) and noble self-sacrifice, and tearful goodbyes to doomed loved ones and blah blah blah, but mainly Los Angeles, Yosemite, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Rio de Janeiro, and the Vatican all get torn the fuck apart by batshit crazy destructive chaos.  And don’t that sound cool?

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