In The Picture

2012

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Rated PG

I’m not sure laughing is the correct response as you watch millions die on a cinema screen, but my friends and I found it impossible not to chuckle at the sheer scope and utter ridiculousness of 2012.

This is Roland Emmerich’s (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) latest disaster flick and he obviously decided early on not to get bogged down with logic, continuity, reality, plots or acting. Here’s how it’s done: simply get a few scientists talking about solar flares and the earth’s core temperature heating. Chuck in a nutter raving about the end of the Mayan calendar, planets aligning and a secret plan to build spaceships to rescue a chosen few… and then just wreck stuff. Lots of stuff. Big stuff. ALL stuff.

Earthquakes ripping apart and swallowing entire cities, volcanoes erupting and spewing forth molten lava, tsunamis crashing across the Himalayas… you can tell this is Emmerich’s last dip in the disaster franchise. There’s simply nowhere else to go. Except maybe another planet.

Stuff Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – this will suit the brain capacity of a much bigger audience and there’s none of those pesky bloody graphs or inconvenient truths. Grab yourself a climate sceptic friend and tell them it’s a mockumentary about the effects of climate change. Hell, if the science won’t convince them, maybe this will.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Dr Adrian Helmsley, the scientist with a conscience who convinces the White House the world is going to end, is probably the best non-special effect in this film. He has real screen presence and the most amazing lips you’ve ever seen. (Without special effects.)

John Cusack seems completely out of place in a disaster flick as the failed author/divorced dad trying to save his ex-wife and kids; Woody Harrelson has some fun being the crazy hippie; and Oliver Platt does a decent bastard-who-

only-wants-to-save-himself.

But really, forget character development and all that jazz – this is simply about special effects, and they are done on a scale I’ve never seen before.

Yet I couldn’t help but wonder, if perhaps the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on this movie were channelled toward developing renewable energy solutions to climate change and the replanting of the world’s rainforests, we might be better off. But of course, that’s all just hippie bloody talk isn’t it, and people need to be entertained don’t they? Even if it does cost 200 million US dollars to do it while countless millions around the world starve.

The end is indeed nigh.


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