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Sunday, November 15, 2009

2012

By D.E.Levine

Director: Roland Emmerich
Writers: Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser
Cast: John Cusak, Armanda Peet, Chiewetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Thamas McCarthy, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Liam James, Morgan Lily, Zlatko Buric, Beatrice Rosen, Alexandre Haussmann, Philippe Hausmann, Johann Urb, John Billingsley,
Chin Han, Osric Chau, Chang Tseng, Lisa Lu, Blu Mankuma, George Segal, Stephen McHattie, Patrick Bauchau, Jimi Mistry, Ryan McDonald, Merrilyn Gann, Henry O et al.
Producers: Roland Emmerich, Larry J. Franco and Harald Kloser
Executive Producers: Ute Emmerich, Mark Gordon and Michael Wimer
Co-producers: Aaron Boyd, Volker Engel and Marc Weigert
Associate Producer: Kirstin Winkler
Original Music: Harald Kloser and Thomas Wanker
Running Time: 158 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Disaster, Action, Adventure

The plot may not be different but the special effects are mind boggling. Even with all of the great digital, 3D and CGI technology being used in films today I've never seen anything like the special effects in 2012.

By now everybody has heard the story that the Mayan calendar ends in December 2012 and forecasts the end of the world specifically on December 21, 2012.

While the entire world is destined to be destroyed, the filmmakers begin here at home in the United States. Beginning with Los Angeles going into the sea, the film follows Jackson Curtis and his family as they escape via plane to Yellowstone National Park where he seeks out a broadcaster/hippie who has a map of where safety ships are being built and maintained.

Since Yellowstone goes up in a blaze of widespread fire, erupting volcano-like explosions, and caving earth crust, the Curtis plane barely gets off the ground before Yellowstone is a thing of memory.

We are voyeurs of the destruction of Saint Peter's Cathedral in Rome and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janiero. Has God forgotten man if he is letting this happen? Or is this the way God planned it all along?

Curtis takes his family to Las Vegas where they try to get a plane to China, because that's where safety is supposed to be found.

Curtis, a published author who has been driving as a chauffeur for a very rich Russian businessman manages to get his ex-wife, kids, and the wife's fiancee on the Russian's plane with his family only because the fiancee can act as a co-pilot on the flight.

Out of fuel they are forced to land on a Himalayan glacier where the wealthy Russian and his two sons are picked up by the Chinese military and abandon the Russian's girlfriend and the Curtis family.

The entire premise is ridiculous of course, but the special effects are so fantastic that the viewers are spellbound and never bored. As we see tsunami waves swallow entire ocean liners and naval military vessels, and as we watch the water level rise to the top of mountain ranges while totally flooding the landscape beneath, we can only stare in awe at the visual mastery.

Through the humane efforts of an elderly Chinese couple who convince their monk son to take pity on the stranded Americans, the American party reaches the safety of the ships that are moored, but have to sneak aboard since they don't have tickets or passes.

Trapped in a compartment that's filling with water and preventing the doors from closing, it's the illegal Curtis who risks his life to clear the gears and save the American ship.

The movie has no point of view and no actual message. Based on the premise that the world is coming to an end in 2012. There are no deep philosophical or intellectual messages or even a religious perspective.

2012 is a totally visual picture full of adventure and physical frenzy. It can't be taken seriously. It must simply be enjoyed for what it is - pure entertainment.