Combustible Celluloid
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With: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Tom McCarthy, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Liam James, Morgan Lily, Zlatko Buric, Beatrice Rosen, Alexandre Haussmann, Philippe Haussmann, Johann Urb
Written by: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language
Running Time: 158
Date: 11/11/2009

2012 (2009)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Destruction Sites

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The sun has suddenly begun bombarding the earth with a higher neutrino count, heating up the earth's core and causing massive disasters on the earth's surface, from earthquakes to tsunamis, and even the shifting of the north and south poles. A secret project is underway in Tibet to build "arks" to rescue a certain number of people, but seats have been reserved mainly for the world's richest and most important. While a scientist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) collects data and fights against greed and corruption, a small time Los Angeles author (John Cusack) tries to rescue his ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and their two kids, get them to Tibet, and secure them seats on one of the arks. But can he do this impossible task in time?

Disaster movies are usually very popular and have long managed to thrill great numbers of people with their huge scale and awesome special effects, and since 2012 is one of the biggest and most spectacular, it will no doubt follow suit. And in terms of effects and clear, exciting filmmaking, it is admittedly well done, while an impressive, appealing cast of actors does its level best to read through the third-rate dialogue without too much eye-rolling. But anyone looking for depth of character, powerful emotional content, intelligence, poetic images, or personal expression of any kind is advised to look elsewhere. At best, it's a nearly three-hour film packed with several tons of clich├ęs whose best features are explosions and general destruction. At worst, it's a gruesome, depressing subject as viewed from the seat of a passing roller coaster.

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