Scoring just 39% on RottenTomatoes.com "Tomato Meter" Roland Emmerich's 2012 is a movie that was unjustly smashed and trashed. I have this opinion that many 'movie critics' don't feel they are doing their job if they don't tear apart big budget movies. If it's independent, foreign, or a documentary the movie is safe... God help it if its a movie that just tries to entertain.
I am not saying its a fantastic movie, its just not AS bad as everyone said it was. It could be that my expectations were low enough going in for me to enjoy it but if I remember correctly the movie was being bashed before it was even released. I don't think people like the idea of disaster movies because they 'could' relate to everyone. Not everyone is going to have aliens land in your field and come into your house, but a super tsunami could conceivably wipe you out. It's a bit like a roller coaster ride, people like to get on them because you are in a minor amount of danger but for the most part its artificial (also like a haunted house).
When I started watching this movie I automatically began comparing it to Roland Emmerich's other recent foray into the disaster genre The Day after Tomorrow. It scored a 46% on RottenTomatoes. I must admit that I liked 2012 over The Day after Tomorrow. Perhaps the reason I liked 2012 better is that they didn't try to come up with some eco clap-trap message. Another big reason 2012 was better is that you felt a 'little' bit more for the characters in it as opposed to the characters in TDaT. The 'goodbye' moments between family members seems a little more realistic.
In 2012 most of the world's population was wiped out so it was more of a disaster movie than TDaT. Although this world wide wipe out happens it wasn't truly the end of days, just a thinning out of humanity. Thanks to the god of science (and lots of cash) mankind is saved while people who prayed to the god of religion were ridiculed and eventually died.
The special effects were fantastic of course. That's pretty much what this movie was being made for. They were meticulous and flawless. I can only imagine the amount of processing power that much CGI took.
On a side note several years ago (probably somewhere in 2000) I went to an exhibit on computers a the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. This was back when they were heading down the road of becoming a more 'adult' museum. We all know that this failed (financially) when they discovered that kid are where the money is at and they moved back towards a kiddie science focus. ANNNNYYYYYYWAYYYYY at this computer exhibit there was this flight simulator running on a computer and the plaque stated 'this is the most graphically powerful (or advanced, I can't remember) flight simulator you will ever see'. I just can't help but laugh at that knowing that processor speeds double once every six months to a year. If those guys who made that exhibit could see what computers are capable of doing now a days they would crap in their pants.
So what I am saying is the graphics are good in the movie. Now on the the griping...
I know it's an action, big budget, effects flick but really... some of the sequences are a bit much. I have a couple of things to point out in the world of Roland Emmerich:
- Runways are always too short.
- Buildings fall sideways when they collapse.
- Roland's main characters always escape in the absolute nick of time.
- When you're role is over in a Roland movie, you are instantly expendable.
How many times did planes in that movie escape within 12 inches of hitting buildings? How lucky was John Cusack's character while driving a car? Ok, ok I'll stop with that now. I am not sure why anyone else in the movie had to die once they all reached the arc ships. I don't think John's character tried nearly as hard enough to save his ex wife's husband either. He needs to be brought up on charges...
Like I said earlier for all it's shallowness it wasn't as bad as I had heard. Have the reviewers never seen the American Godzilla movie?
One final mention is the Blu Ray aspect to the movie. It was great. The details of collapsing cities and people and cars flying about looked fantastic. This is one of those movies high definition was made for. If you remember my blog post about VHS being popular to horror fans for adding an element of nasty darkness to viewing something that is nasty and dark, 2012 is just the opposite and is better with a high definition viewing.
There is a great website that lists most disaster films that have ever been made. Check it out.