Mar 4, 2010
2012 (2009): F
The end of the world seems a comparably desirable affair in the wake of the disaster that is Roland Emmerich's 2012, a work that at once replicates virtually every film previously made by the ultra-hack director and takes his fetishistic obsession with mass destruction to hysterical new levels. From the hateful Independence Day to the trashy Godzilla to the sheer embarrassment that was 10,000 BC, he's never made a remotely good bit of entertainment and 2012 just might be his Plan 9 From Outer Space, sans the aching artistic aspirations that lovingly framed the ineptitude of Ed Wood's productions. Where to begin? Less an actual narrative film than a feature-length special effects reel with enough celebrity cameos to simulate the ghost of a plot (best is Woody Harrelson, the only person on board who seems to recognize the sheer stupidity of it all, hamming it up to 11, and beyond), 2012 might be the most exploitative disaster movie ever made, a work in which obligatory human drama - disingenuously meant to justify the proceedings beyond the anti-life rah-rah of its dispassionate eye for destruction - serves little legitimate purpose beyond stretching things out to heretofore unbearable lengths. Berlin Alexanderplatz feels like a Saturday afternoon matinee compared to this.
The Earth, lambasted by damaging particles from the sun, is undergoing some major changes, and California sinking into the Pacific is just the beginning. The work of Emmerich's special effects crew is nifty indeed, but for all the ridiculous details and needle-threading thrown in to this cynical end of days (damn near half the movie is dedicated to narrowing gaps and countdowns), nothing here comes even remotely close to the duel awe/terror conjured by Steven Spielberg's great, underappreciated War of the Worlds. Even the isolated few characters we're supposed to feel for (thanks to Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander's maudlin score) are treated dispassionately, framed less like people than like pawns ready to be tossed aside at a moment's notice, necessary only for the risible final hour in which the lucky few not incinerated, drowned, or otherwise consumed by the quakes of the Earth board a series of Arks constructed in the Himalayas for the very purpose of ensuring the survival of the human race through this long-foreseen disaster. In a film that manages to outstay its welcome even before getting around to the title card, it's an epically drawn-out sequence enough to make one envious of the masses to have already met their maker.
Labels: blog reviews