Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Written by:Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Thomas McCarthy, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Liam James
Released: November 12, 2009
Grade: C-

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen our fair share of disaster movies.  I speak of films such as Armageddon, Deep Impact and The Day After Tomorrow.  Roland Emmerich’s new film is trying to outdo them all.  He has tried to create the biggest, most catastrophic disaster in world history.  To borrow a newly coined phrase – this is “doomsday porn”.  We’re creating entertainment but killing as many people as possible.

Of course, the film tries to skirt around the whole “death” thing.  Billions of people are killed by tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanos, you name it.  It’s all done with average looking special effects and since most people like ants from a distance, you probably won’t care too much.  I know I didn’t.

The storyline begins in the current year when a scientist in India picks up on unusual goings on beneath the earth’s crust.  The core is heating up at an alarming rate and within a few years, the surface on which we walk will start to fall apart.  Word filters through to the President of the United States who decides to keep this information from the world.  He doesn’t want to create panic and see his society fall apart.

Instead, he comes up with a secret plan to build a series of arks in China which will be used to save a small number of people when d-day arrives.  If they manage to survive the looming disaster, then perhaps there’s hope yet for the human race.  I’m not entirely convinced however since the space aboard this arks has been reserved solely for the rich and powerful.  Would you really want to live in a new world with these people?

There needs to be a central character amongst the mayhem and his name is Jackson Curtis (Cusack), an author who once wrote a book about something similar.  Jackson gets wind of the disaster from a crazy nut (Harrelson) and will do whatever he can to save his family.  I lost count of the number of times in which Jackson escaped death by a microsecond.

I hated this film and consider it one of the year’s worst.  There are a few funny moments but on the whole, it’s just too melodramatic.  Every storyline is a cliché.  Take for example the strained relationship between the divorced Jackson and his wife’s new husband.  I can’t really blame any of the actors since there’s little room in the screenplay for character development.  It’s all about special effects, which looked average at best.  The biggest insult is its running time – a ludicrous 158 minutes.

Topped off by a silly ending, 2012 turned out to be complete waste of time.  It’s a shame John Cusack agreed to star in this but hopefully it put a little money in his bank account and he can go back to starring in some quirky, independent comedies.  It’s what he does best.