With a limited amount of time, there is only so far for a movie to go. With a healthy amount of movie watching under our belt very little is going to hold a surprise, so we suspend our disbelief, shut off our brains, buckle in, and try our damnedest to enjoy the ride.
So, when walking into 2012, it is not without the knowledge in hand that the movie you are about to see is going to be mostly retarded movie in which the world (as we know it) is likely to end in some scientifically flawed way, but a ton of shit is going to blow up on a macro scale. It is, after all, a Roland Emmerich film*.
*From here on, there will be plenty of spoilers. I'm going to assume that--even if you haven't seen this film--you know what is going to happen. It is a Roland Emmerich film.
And it did not disappoint on any of those grounds.
A ton of shit blew up. Hell, Yellowstone became a super caldera, and California fell into the ocean. Turbo tsunamis* wipe out the entire Indian subcontinent and reach Himalayan China. A fucking aircraft carrier rides a wave and crashes onto the fucking White House. It is safe to say that shit hits the proverbial* fan.
*I don't really want to look it up because it would cut into the SVU research I'm doing right now, but I am sure I'm anglicizing the plural of tsunami in a grotesquely ethnocentric way.
**You remember that passage from Proverbs in which there is shit flying everywhere and hits the fan and sprays everybody, right?
As for the science, I'm no plate tectonicist (or maybe it's a geologist...), but I would imagine that there are some holes in the theory behind the sun magically heating the earth's core to the point that the tectonic plates begin to float on the molten mantle.
On the retarded front, I'll cite one thing specifically. As it becomes evident that Africa is where they'll need to go to start anew, a captain spews out the line:
That's why they call it the Cape of Good Hope.Ugh.
Luckily, the film is loaded with likable stars. Obviously, there's John Cusack, who we all know and love. It is refreshing to see him as the lead in a big film again. Hopefully, this will reopen doors, and he'll have another film that rivals his creative high points of High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank (sorry, but War, Inc. didn't do that). Woody Harrelson continued his comeback from five self-imposed years off as an Alex Jones-type character. Amanda Peet was her usual, endearing self. Chiwetel Ejiofor was appropriately impassioned as the crusading scientist. We even got Little Shawn from "Psych," the heel reporter from "The Wire," and Danny Glover as the President.
That kind of cast made most of the potentially grimace-inducing lines at least somewhat believable. In fact, the only time that any of the principle cast really stepped over the line into full-on cheese was when Ejiofor was quoting Jackson Curtis' (Cusack) book to preserve humanity.
The long and short of all of this is that if all you are wanting out of 2012 is a movie that is light on substantive plot, lighter on believable dialogue, and full of huge explosions, then you will be happy. All we really want is to escape, and there is nothing that is tethering this film to the real world, so we are all ultimately allowed to leave this world for 150 minutes.