That is, about half good
I went into the theater expecting 2012, starring Jon Cusack and Amanda Peet, to be awful in that colossal sort of way reserved for truly bad movies. I already had a catchy headline picked out and everything.
Instead, I found myself entertained for 130 minutes by a colossal disaster flick filled with beautiful eye candy carried along by adequate dialogue, acting, and directing.
Make no mistake, 2012’s main selling point is its effects, which begin about fifteen minutes in and don’t stop until the end. During the credit roll, I counted no less than five different main effects companies along with scores of contributors. By themselves, those effects present an impressive, almost overwhelming, glimpse into what the end of the world might just look like.
If the best picture Oscar could be awarded solely on looks, 2012 could win, hands down, but most of the academy is looking for plot, dialog and directing, and it is in those areas that the movie falls short.
The plot, a divorced writer trying to save his children and his ex-whom-he-still-loves from the end of the world, shoots like a laser from the beginning to the end. There aren’t any surprises, and a lot of viewers will be bored after the first twenty minutes.
I say after twenty minutes because that’s when the movie’s most memorable character, Charlie Frost played by Woody Harrelson playing himself, dies. After that, 2012 settles into a predictable rhythm of campy one-liners and scripted emotion scenes hung on the clothesline story that connects the beginning to the end.
Granted, one might ask how much plot the end of the world really needs, but I think this movie will leave most watchers wishing for a little more than what they got.
That said, it’s a movie worth seeing once, just to see Yellowstone explode into a super-volcano and tsunamis as tall as the Himalayas. For that, I’ll give 2012 a C+. Even average can be good if it tries.