2012 was an interesting movie. I left the theater thinking 'that was either one of the worst, or one of the best movies of the year'. The special effects are good, but CGI alone is not enough to last for 3 hours. I did enjoy this film, even though the plot is pretty thin and the acting is not Oscar-worthy.
At the start of the film, it is 2009. A geologist in India has discovered that the earths core is heating up. He tells his American colleague Adrian Hemlsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Adrian then goes to someone in the US government. When the president (Danny Glover) finds out he appoints Adrian to be his advisor on this issue. In 2010, several world leaders meet in British Columbia, they come up with a plan for the end of the world. Adrian draws up a plan for what and when will happen on Christmas, 2012.
When the clock reaches the year 2012, we are introduced to Jackson Curtis (John Cusack). Jackson is a struggling author who drives a limo to pay the bills. He takes his kids camping up in Yellowstone, this is when the trouble begins. There he meets Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a neurotic radio broadcaster. Jackson then brings his kids ack to their home and he manages to rescue them, along with his ex-wife and her new husband. Together the group gets a plane and narrowly escapes wathing their city crumble.
After taking off and landing in several different locations they wind up in Vegas, where the only thing left is of course the run way. They run into a Russian who Jackson knows, and together that escape the disaster, for the moment. Without ruining too much, 2012 is pretty much like a modern re-telling of one of the bible's most famous stories.
Like I said earlier, the plot is thin. The world is ending again (although Roland Emmerich has said this is his last disaster-end of the world movie). There are floods, earthquakes and somehow the south pole ends up in Wisconsin. The plot is just barely enough to carry through this three hour movie, and 2012 is certainly not winning any Oscars (except maybe for visual effects).
The special effects are the best part of this film. The sequences will blow you away. Watching water flow over the Himalayas, or through Rio de Janerio is really cool. However, even the effects become dull and repetitive. There is only a certain number of times one can see a plane fly away as the runway crumbles behind it before it becomes a nuisance to watch.
The acting is fine in 2012. John Cusack is a good at being an average man who stumbles into something huge. Amanda Peet plays his ex-wife. In 2012, she is good as a mother, and shows desperation when her children are in danger, similar to her character in Syriana. Chiwetel Ejiofor brings a good 'hero' quality to the cast and is the sense of moral right at the end of the film, but Woody Harrelson is perhaps the most memorable character, even though his role is not too big.
Overall, 2012 was a fun movie, but had little redeeming value. I would recommend if you go see it- see it in theaters. The visual effects are so over the top that Emmerich takes them one step too far. 2012 is worth watching, but I wouldn't buy the DVD. It is entertaining, but is not for those who prefer to think about the movies they watch. This truly was Roland Emmerich's grand finale in the disaster genre, but it doesn't compare to his movies like Independence Day or The Day After Tomorrow.