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2012 Review This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Remember how The Day after Tomorrow starts? That's pretty much how this movie starts too. To Emmerich's credit, it's the most practical way to start something like this, but practicality isn't going to win any creativity points. But it works and introduces one of the film's stars, Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Adrian is a scientist, an ambiguous scientist actually, sense we are never told who exactly he is. But that doesn't matter, he's smart and in the right place at the right time. After discovering the world is going to end, he quickly races to the only people that can save the day, the American Government. From there he is introduced to the President (played by Danny Glover) and thus starts the countdown to the end. We are then transported to the life of Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), a science fiction writer who is currently working as a limo driver for Yuri Karpov (Zlatko Buri?), a Russian billionare. From here the relative story begins to unfold and the movie begins to fall apart. Curtis is divorced and his children live with their mom, who herself has a new boyfriend (Thomas McCarthy). Curtis and his family are obviously the real stars, not because Cusack is a big actor, but because they bring the much needed human element to the Apocalypse. Everything about Curtis's situation screams cliche, from the passionate but always late father, to the disgruntled ex-wife that secretly still loves her husband, to the new guy that just wants a family of his own. It even has the embittered son that inevitably reforms the bond with his father. And I would have no problem with cliches as long as they are used well, with a bit of creative flair you might say. But sadly, 2012 disappoints again, as Emmerich brings nothing new to these long overused story telling methods. It really hurts the film, especially late into it when things start heating up (excuse the pun). The movie begins to pick up speed when Curtis takes his children to Yellowstone for a camping trip (Yellowstone being a massive, dormant super volcano, so you can see where this is going). Here Curtis meets the eccentric radio talk show host, Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), living in his camper as a hermit of sorts. Frosts character informs us of the prophecy and the impending doom that fills the rest of the movie. Another thing that gets in the way of this film's progression is the character choices. Emmerich forgoes logic in order to make the plot move forward by making his characters commit very stupid decisions. It's almost lazy in some parts, one moment in particular stood out: during Curtis's camping trip, they stumble upon a field oozing sulfur with a dead cow carcass and still decide to walk into it, until they are told to leave by the military. This was done just to bring the two main starts together for a brief scene, which is only really followed up on towards the end of the movie.
Overall 2012 is a spectacle movie that's quickly going to be forgotten. Its visuals are pretty, gorgeous actually, but by now we are all used to the magic of CG. If this movie wanted to make any lasting impression it should have been release five, maybe seven years ago, when the potential of such technology was in its infancy. Even if you are vaguely interested in the 2012 prophecy, you won't find many answers to its nature in this film. Instead I recommend you watch one of the hundreds of History Channel specials about it. But these kinds of movies are always feasts for the eyes and if you are not a serious moviegoer, and you are looking for three hours of escape, then 2012 should suffice. But for all others, save your money and time.



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