I am not going to delve too far into the plot, it is pretty self serving and I am sure most of you can get the gist from the previews alone. John Cusack plays a father dealing with separation from his children because of divorce, his ex wife's (Amanda Peet) new boyfriend, a failing career, and the earth falling apart. Cusack and his family get a jump on the rest of the soon to be destroyed world when a hippie version of Woody Harrelson gives them a map to salvation which leads to the government's plan to survive the impending destruction.
The script for this movie has a decent but very slow moving plot. This movie is not even that deep as far as content goes and it is over two and half hours which is a huge negative in a "mindless" blockbuster like this. There is decent character development as the movie progresses but not enough to really draw the audience in. We just want more destruction!
The thing that caused this movie to be so bad in my book is how the main characters are always one small step away from imminent death the whole movie. First they drive a limousine through the faltering city of LA as the earth is breaking away just behind their back tire. Buildings are falling in front of them but they are driving right through them. Fast forward to the airport where they get a small plane that takes off just as the run way is destroyed and then flies though the falling city of LA.
They narrowly avoid entire portions of the downtown landscape from crushing them more times than my stomach can stand. Change settings so Cusack can drive an beaten down RV through uneven terrain and a volcanic eruption like he's Jason Statham in The Transporter.
Then repeat the small plane scene of earlier but this time with volcano as the the coming destruction. Fast forward in the plot and they are now in a bigger plane, but same exact story. The earth breaks away just as they take off. Can they pull the plane up in time to miss hitting the skyline of Las Vegas?
I'm not saying that everything should be believable but some realism coupled with this already cataclysmic event would have sufficed to ground the audience into something that feels more than just a bunch of green screen action that a computer turns into dooms day.
This film actually had some underlying themes that fit into the plot nicely but by the time this unfolds the audience is so entranced by the hypnotism of CGI destruction and special effects it begs the question are they still paying attention to anything but MORE DESTRUCTION. The writers bring up questions like: When humans are on the brink of extinction will they reach out to help one another? Can the dysfunctional family band together to survive doomsday? Nicely done, but too late into the loud overwhelming destruction of everything.
Overall, the film was definitely worth a view on a the Ultrascreen at Marcus to see the end of the Earth on a massive screen with premium sound. After the big screen experience, I will never need to see this movie again. Director Roland Emmerich has a gift for destroying societies and has a tradition of memorably destroying the White House (see ID4 and The Day After Tomorrow) and 2012 is no different. But I need more than just crazy end of this world special effects to make me like a movie.
Another huge minus for me was the way the movie was so dramatized. It drives me absolutely nuts when filmmakers do this but do it so cheaply. This movie has plenty of examples of this with all the countless number of near death experiences. It is a good production but missed a lot of elements to make it a great movie. If you are looking for something to entertain you and take up 2.5 hours of your day consider 2012. If you are looking for a movie unlike the Transformers franchise or are annoyed by some of the shortcomings I described earlier definitely skip it. Worth a shot, but don't expect more than to be wowed by special effects.