Even SFX Can’t Save 2012

After raking in a worldwide box office of over $225 million in its first week of release, 2012 still misses the boat.

Review: Mike Wheeler

Highly anticipated is an over-used cliche, but with a teaser trailer six months ago, and then a full-blown version a few weeks before its release, everybody has been expecting big things from the movie 2012.

The exhibitors will be happy (even if their true share won’t kick in until after the pic has been screening for a couple of weeks); Sony, who made the film, will be over the moon with the box office; and director Roland Emmerich will be able to write his own cheque for his next project due to the bucket loads of money this movie will make.

But is it any good? In a word, no. It is utter crap. It would be one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time. The acting is paint by numbers, the script is bad, even the direction is not up to scratch. Its only saving grace is the special effects, which are outstanding. A big screen is unforgiving, and usually there are naff moments when there are tonnes of special effects in use, not so with this. Unfortunately a movie’s special effects is just one element of the overall experience.

And the pity of it all, is that this had the potential to be both a critical and commercial success, but Emmerich and his screenwriting partner Harald Kloster have delved into Cinema 101 playbook and taken every cliché and times it by 10. If I ever see an aeroplane take off (and in this case it happens on THREE separate occasions), as the asphalt starts to crack, I’ll gag. Then there’s the clunky lines delivered as best they can, by actors who you just know are there for the paycheck. Add to that ‘suspenseful’ scenes that go on far too long to be anything but, then you start to get the picture (or lack thereof).

A parallel can be drawn between Emmerich and that other exponent of effect-driven blockbusters, Peter Jackson. While the former seems only interested in where the next big bang is coming from, the latter realises you can combine good story telling with the latest in cinematic technology.

As a fellow attendee said afterward the overlong film had finished “all the adulterers died, and the right people live in the end”. He was chuckling as he said it, but maybe the joke is on us – Sony and Emmerich will be laughing all the way to the bank.

If you are after a bit of escapism with a super weak plot, then this movie is for you. If you’re expecting an action-packed movie with even a little thought gone into the screenplay, then you’ll be sorely disappointed.

1 out of 5