I was going to try and make this a spoiler-free review. Then I realized that the title of the movie pretty much gives away what's going to happen. Roland Emmerich (Independence Day / The Day After Tomorrow) has decided to bring the disaster movie of all disaster movies to the screen. Based around more goofy beliefs that a typical day of 24 hour cable newscasts... 2012 takes all of these end of the world beliefs, and combines them into an epically bad day for the Earth.
Basically, the Mayans were right, and a cosmic line dance (filmed almost in a 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque manner) combined with a massive amount of neutrinos from the largest solar flare... EVER are raising the core of the Earth's temperature so much, that the whole place is just going to throw it's hands in the air and give up on 12-21-12.
We get to follow failed writer, husband, and father Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) in his valiant attempt to save his family from said impending doom. Oh yeah, how did he figure out the world was going to end before most people? While camping with his kids in Yellowstone Park, a crazy AM radio jockey named Charlie (played wonderfully by Woody Harrelson) told him it would. Oh yeah, and there's that one guy from the government (played by Chewetl Ejiofor) who kind of helps Jackson connect the dots. Why? He liked Jackson's book (one of about 500 in the world), naturally.
Meanwhile, on a more global scale President Wilson (Danny Glover) and other world leaders have decided to build arks to save "the best and brightest" (I'm not going into this later, but you can imagine that great disaster cliche... basic human greed comes into play) to try and keep the human race going. Also, certain important cultural items and animals are placed on board the arks to help keep some sort of normalcy. The rest of the people? Well, good luck to ya!
AS A MOVIE (IN GENERAL)
It's not a good movie. The dialog is beyond cheesy (just try to get through the final speech without cringing...I dare you), the situations are straight out of every disaster movie ever written...you'll figure almost everything out before the title card of the movie even pops on screen. If you go in expecting anything of any real substance, you will be disappointed. Don't even try to apply logic to certain situations...it will just make your hair fall out.
AS A MOVIE (DISASTER)
This is Citizen Kane. If Citizen Kane involved crushing the White House with an aircraft carrier. Roland Emmerich and the hundreds, if not thousands of people who worked on this film, have made quite possibly the definitive disaster movie. There were moments when I actually found myself squeezing the armrest because the situation and chaos was so overwhelming...I seriously was unsure if they would pull through. It was made THAT well. One touch I really appreciated was the use of miniatures at certain points. It's a small thing, but the use of miniatures instead of CGI just made certain scenes look so much more convincing. It's something that I feel has become a lost art with the advances of CGI effects. There weren't many miniatures scenes, but the ones I noticed were quite effective.
As you may be able to tell, I loved this movie. It was not perfect. I wish somebody could write a disaster movie today with half the quality script-wise of The Poseidon Adventure. There were maybe 2-3 lines in this movie that were memorable. Also, 2012 runs 2 hours 38 minutes. I understand the epic nature of the film, but there were some places where a little more tightening would have been helpful. 20 minutes taken out of the film would have been about perfect. If you want a truly good mindless popcorn film, go see 2012. You will not be disappointed. A solid A grade in my book.
Heck, after this movie, I have no idea what I want to write about next. Oh yeah I do... I found this glorious "Disaster Collector's Set" at Best Buy a while back. 4 movies for $5. You know that will be of the utmost quality. I'll review the entire set next time (which may be a while since I have to get around to watching 4 movies). Thanks for reading.