If there’s anything 2012 has made me realize, it’s that I don’t care about cinema as entertainment anymore. Maybe I’m just too old for this – I was able to slog my way through the film in one sitting, but it took me approximately two months to do so. I make this statement as a slam against me, because during my viewing of the film, it made me feel wrong. There is nothing in the world that could possibly make me feel smaller than 2012 - this thing was made for two hundred million dollars. While the actual amount is reasonably nominal in Hollywood, at this point in my life, I can’t even visualize that number in my head. So clearly, 2012 is some kind of an accomplishment in terms of creation – good or bad isn’t even a factor. Not only that, 2012 has gone on to gross (according to Wikipedia, and we all know how trustworthy they are) over seven hundred and sixty-nine million dollars. When you take that into consideration, I have to ponder: could I be the one that’s wrong? Numbers don’t lie. Who the fuck am I do roll my eyes while frowning?
While I don’t have the credentials that will convince you to take the jerk-off motion I’m making with my hand seriously (who does by the way? Roger Ebert probably does because I have the feeling he knows how to have a good time, whereas Armond White has never beaten off in his life), I want to tell you about my experience with 2012, without the aid of sexualized pantomime.
2012 is a black hole of dour. I know what you’re thinking; “2012 is a disaster film about the end of the world fucknut, were you expecting to have fun?” Well, yes. I have a big, giant, disaster film-boner, but here comes 2012, trying to infuse a human edge to the film, which works against it. Does 2012 have to be such a downer? In its 158-minute running time, 150 minutes of the film is literally dedicated to scene after scene of people saying goodbye to their friends and family moments before being hit by giant tsunami waves – so giant, they lose all sense of meaning. The only break in this patch of glumness comes early, as Woody Harrelson invites the destruction into his heart – a brief moment of maniacal glee that breaks up this sad-face of a film – too little, too early. That moment made me ponder the apocalypse. I wonder if I will be one of those guys at the top of a mountain, looking down at the world crumbling under my feet, rubbing my hands together and saying “Here we go!” I sure hope that’s me – I want to go with a sense of curiosity and wonder, as opposed to shitting my pants.
Unfortunately, Woody Harrelson’s hippie craziness isn’t the man focus of the film – what we have here is John Cusack, who I lost respect for years ago when I heard he hated Better Off Dead…, as a divorced parent trying to put his life back together in the midst of armageddon. And you know what that means: precocious children, a cheesed off wife with her new spouse, and a lot of hangdog thanks to a cheerless Cusack. Is it bad that I just want to see the earth crumble below Oliver Platt’s pudgy, spider-veined feet? Roland Emmerich apparently thinks that bringing a broken nuclear family back together will turn his film legit, but you and I know better. Don’t cock-tease me with a fat Russian twin children back story; I think I really would be happy with a clip show of only the most violent scenes of the film, out of context. Nothing but pornographic mass murder scenes of buildings collapsing onto packed freeways full of families, pets, technology in ruin. In those moments of the film, the slightest flutter of a smile crosses my lips, but there just wasn’t enough of it for my tastes.
My awful, slightly disconcerting tastes.
A WORD ABOUT THE VISUAL QUALITY OF THE FILM
2012 comes to us clearly filmed via digital video. Time and time again, I have railed against the use of such cameras, especially on gazillion-dollar blockbuster films, and now it’s time for me to complain yet again: 2012 looks fucking awful a majority of the time. Technology should dictate that special effects grow so advanced that they merge seamlessly with the film, not that the (digital) film quality should degrade to match the special effects, right? That’s 2012. And it makes me want to claw my eyes out. Maybe it will look better once I get my HDTV and Blu-Ray player, thanks to this year’s tax return. Or not. I’m not sure if I filled it out correctly, so I may be getting over $800 back, or it’s also possible that I owe the state $900. Fingers crossed.
As for the audio, you will probably be turning it down. Even without a sound system, it packs enough wallop to annoy the neighbors, I’m sure.
BUT WHAT OF THE SPECIAL FEATURES?
There’s not much to say in regards to the bonuses included in the film. You have your obligatory Commentary Track featuring writer/director Roland Emmerich reminding everyone why homosexuality isn’t entirely accepted in the world. Tagging along with Emmerich is co-writer Harald Kloser, and if you think I’m actually going to stick around for the entire running time at midnight, you’re both insane and high.
We then move on to both the Alternate Ending and Deleted Scenes. And if you think I’m actually going to stick around for these, you’re both high and insane.
But don’t worry, there’s more – we have the sloppy, open mouth kiss that is Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic and the “Time for Mircales” Music Video by Adam Lambert. I don’t know much about Adam Lambert other than the fact that he’s some kind of American Idol punchline, but the song is entirely serviceable if you’re into that sort of thing, but his attempt at emotion is truly frightening in the face department.
A PARTING THOUGHT
I’m not entirely sure who the target audience of 2012 is – meatheads pining for total annihilation will be bored by the butter-churn pacing of the plot, while those wanting a little more time taken for personal relationships is probably not going to be totally amused by the genocide onscreen, as they’re clearly more sensitive, caring human beings. I lie somewhere in-between, and for that, all I can feel is an overwhelming sense of apathy – both for this movie, and this review.