I’d been avoiding 2012 like the plague really since the movie came into production. I’m a John Cusack fan, but he hasn’t done enough good stuff to make me want to actually see most of his movies. If the movies looks good AND has John Cusack in it? Double whammy for me. If it’s just a John Cusack me? No dice… Same goes for Amanda Peet, who totally changed my mind about her in “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” (RIP). I like her when I see her, but I don’t always like what I say.
That’s pretty much what this movie’s counting on. There’s minimal character development, but if you like any of these actors, of course you’ll like their characters. they’re thinly developed one-dimensional people, but for some reason, we invest roughly 2 and a half hours of our lives. “Okay, um… we got John Cusack… wanna make him a terrible father figure who comes through in the end? Eh, why not?” That’s how I imagine the scripting process went as they assembled these characters, but maybe that’s just me. It just felt lazy.
Was it visually stunning? I’ll give it that. It takes a little too long to get to the action and even the action seems to go on too long, but it’s fun for a time. There is that undeniable obsession most of us (certainly myself) with watching the world fall apart around us and 2012 definitely provides that. Just make sure that while watching this around-the-world roller coaster, you pack your suspension of disbelief. God knows you’ll need it.
Finally, and I hate to change notes like this, but it seems so true of just about every disaster movie. There’s the undeniable politics. Everyone always jokes that there always seems to be a black president in charge when a disaster strikes in the movies. Of course, Deep Impact, no matter how terrible, always comes to mind for me. 2012 is no exception with Danny Glover (really?) playing the president. I was settled in for another patronizing account of the world falling apart on his watch.
Naturally, I wasn’t shocked when things came crashing down around him and I was impressed with the nobility of the whole “him going down with his people”. However, the real shock came at the very end of the movie when they set sails for Africa, the promised land. Not only are some of the two strongest people in the movie African-American, but Africa is a sought after destination. Now, I feel pretty confident in saying that Africa and the African people being seen as “desirable” does not happen a lot so when it did, you can imagine I was shocked. Not in a bad way. Pleasantly surprised even, but taken aback by how different and even progressive this notion was.
END OF SPOILER.
In the end, 2012 is a mixed bag. It certainly wouldn’t hold up to my standards without a decent size TV and blu ray player to view the destruction, but it’s enjoyable for the most part. Boredom may strike at any given moment so it was nice that I had my laptop handy to get me through the lulls, but if you’re looking for escapism, intense special effects, and an alarmingly political message at the end, 2012 may be your ticket.