After an enjoyable Village Pizza, BamaDan and I took in 2012 tonight.
(Minor spoilers follow.)
Well, it seems those wacky Mayans were onto something. They said 12/21/12 was it, and guess what? There are massive solar flares that get the neutrinos in the planet’s core all excited. They essentially microwave it from the inside out and cause the earth’s crust to shift.
And yeah, all of the high-rises, bridges, roads, and Starbucks get it, and good. (These being the times they are, I kept waiting for there to be a Freon angle or somesuch, but thankfully, there never was.)
Look, I don’t go into a movie like 2012 expecting craft filmmaking, and if you do, you’re a fool. But there are good guidelines even for concepts as constrained as disaster films, and 2012 follows almost none of them.
Clearly it’s going to be heavy on effects, but the movie has a bad case of CGI worship. There really are some great sequences—the limo jaunt was probably my favorite—but I found too much of it far too similar. There are three basic disaster scenes in the movie: the foreshadowing spontaneous running cracks, the earthquake, and the tsunami. These were served up in quantities much larger than necessary to serve the plot, or (worse) even the wow factor.
Let’s pop open the box labeled Stock Characters and sprinkle out a few, shall we? John Cusack is the kind-hearted but bumbling divorced dad. One of his spawn is the plucky kid who saves the day. There are a couple of selfish fat guys, one with an ominous accent. There’s Danny Glover as President Murtaugh Wilson. Woody Harrelson is the nut case who turns out not to be nutty. You with me? You nodding?
The plot is serviceable, and the paint-by-numbers aspects listed above survivable. It’s lack of economy that ultimately does it in. Disciplined editing could have delivered a much tighter (and better) picture, but alas, it seems no sacred cow scenes were slaughtered. Instead, the crank turned for an overtly masturbatory and thoroughly absurd 2:38 of running time.
That might be an entire hour too long.
Have you ever known a person who has a pretty quick wit and intellect, but has never appreciated brevity? You know, the kind of guy who thinks if once is funny, then four times is hilarious!? There you go.