Roland Emmerich’s 2012 is the disaster movie to end all disaster movies. There are volcanos, earthquakes, tsunamis, a plane crash and a ship flooding incident that could have come from Titanic. All it lacks is some alien forces to make the full set.
Microwave radiation from a solar flare is heating the earth’s core and destroying the planet as we know it. The world leaders know everyone is fucked but choose to keep this information to themselves while they prepare vessels designed to withstand all the catastrophes. They save their own backs first, apart from the Italian PM who decides to take his chances with The Pope ( a bad move!).
The U.S. president (Danny Glover) has a late change of heart and as the world crumbles, he makes a live TV broadcast to tell the masses that the world is crumbling. Thanks for the information!
The escape vessels are called Arks and just in case we miss the biblical reference a doomed cruise ship is called Genesis and the son of everyman hero Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is called Noah.
Curtis is an LA Sci-Fi writer who patches up his nuclear family which I suppose is meant as some meagre consolation for the fact that most of the rest of humanity is being wiped out. Stepdad Gordon (Tom McCarthy) gets the rawest deal – an all round good guy whose beginners level pilot skills miraculously improve to fly the family to safety only to (spoiler alert) meet a sticky end .
With him conveniently out of the way Curtis can make peace with his ex-wife – it’s the end of the world as we know it but he feels fine. Frankly, he and the few thousand survivors look pretty serene considering they are all that’s left of the planet’s inhabitants
Ok, the effects are spectacular and believability isn’t the order of the day, but this movie is just too preposterous for words and at times seems to be spoofing itself – witness the shot of the Queen scurrying to safety with her corgis!
On the DVD there’s an alternative ending where two travelling musicians have somehow managed to survive their cruise liner being struck mid ocean by a massive tidal wave – one of them, Tony Delgatto (George Segal), has his arm in a sling but otherwise there’s not a scratch on them.
The official ending is only marginally more convincing and proof that the brief here was to provide lavish spectacle over substance.
As the movie’s tagline says : “You were warned”.