So when I heard about this movie, I rolled my eyes. They have made a lot of straight to DVD ones about 2012, but this was an epic disaster blockbuster on Hollywood scale. I guess even Hollywood couldn’t pass this one up. Seeing I taught the Mayan Doomsday prophecy to my class in the spring, and I was sure the batch of students next semester will have seen this, I decided to take the movie in. Plus it did look like it could be a lot of fun (or horrible, it wasn’t going to be one of those in-between films). You’ll either come out of it liking it or hating it most likely. I actually liked it, I thought of it as a fun roller coaster ride, which in a lot of ways it was.
There have been a lot of movie trailers put out for this, as well as extended previews shown during Fox shows like “Glee.” If you have any interest in the film you probably know the main story. The film starts in 2009 with a group of scientists discovering that increased solar flare activity is heating up the earths core and destabilizing the crust. The president of the US gathers the heads of all other nations and a plot is formed in secret to save humanity and the world as best as possible. They begin secretly building ships, financed of course by the richest people in the world, whose financial contributions buy them and family members a ticket to ride. The rest of the world of course is left oblivious that the end is near.
Meanwhile as 2012 nears, the world begins to fall apart, literally. Earthquakes are happening all over, breaks in the earths crust. In walks John Cusack’s character, who while on a camping trip with his kids runs into a crazy pirate radio host (Woody Harrelson) and learns about a government conspiracy to build space ships to save select people, and gets a crash course in the doomsday scenario of December 21st, 2012. Shockingly Hollywood did its research here, well partially. They got the theory right, but Einstein’s support somewhat wrong.
The current theory is that on December 12, 2012 an alignment of the earth, sun and several planets will occur, one that only occurs every 640,000 years or so. Of course this date is also recorded in the Mayan calendar as “end of time.” In reality, it’s the end of a very long cycle of the Mayan calendar, which would begin a new cycle. As for the alignment, scientists actually say this will happen. However the doomsday part of course is anytime there is some astronomical event, it means the world will end according to a portion of the population. In this case the theories have it that the alignment will cause a magnetic pull, reversing the north and south poles magnetically, which will wreak havoc on earth and lead to earth crust displacement . . . basically the crust of the earth comes loose from the core and begins to rotate over the core’s surface. Einstein did write an intro to the 1950’s authors book who came up with this earth crust displacement idea, saying it was possible small shifts in the crust could happen . . . but then the theory of plate tectonics was discovered and so forth. In the movie though they only give this scenario in the crazy guy’s blog ramblings. The scientists attribute it to the solar eruptions sending down neutrinos to earth which are destabilizing the core. But in the end, the same thing happens, the earth’s crust comes loose and shifts. Continents sink, others rise.
Okay so basically you end up having John Cusak’s character realizing crazy radio guy was right, and he begins the quest to save his dysfunctional family (a son who hates him, the ex-wife disappointed in him and the 2nd husband who is seemingly perfect) and get them to one of these ships. This leads to them encountering a bunch of other characters in the film, all who have separate stories going on, all who end up connected in the end somehow.
The film is long, like 2 hours and 38 minutes long. So don’t take a large drink in if you have a small bladder! However I was able to somehow sit through the whole thing without a pee break (yes you did need to know). I really didn’t want to get up and miss anything. The idea that this guy could escape with his family as many times he did is completely ludicrous. He would have died in the first limo escape scene honestly. There are many of these “Oh please, you’d so be dead moments.” However it’s a movie, so we have to suspend disbelief, otherwise it wouldn’t be fun. This is where the movie is a winner, it is fun. The special effects are absolutely amazing. I don’t think once did I think to myself “That’s some bad CGI right there” as I have with many recent movies. There are several white knuckle moments in the unbelievable escape scenes. There were also several “Oh shits!” from people in the theater.
Two thumbs up! If you like action movies, disaster movies, special effect movies; you’ll probably love this. If you are someone who will be like “Oh no, this could never happen . . . ” well you’ll hate it. Oh and there are two shouts outs to “The Poseidon Adventure” in the movie. I’m sure there other disaster movies also referenced throughout as well, but I’m not that well versed in them all.