2012: The End of the World Turned Out to be Worth the Wait

By , March 19, 2010

We finally got to see the big-budget disaster movie, 2012 (paid link). It was worth the wait! I may have set my expectations low enough to end up being surprised. It isn’t Oscar material, but it was pretty much what I wanted: a decently exciting movie about the end of the world.

It lived up to my expectations in many ways—completely over-the-top special effects disaster mayhem, the star out running epic destruction, including the most massive volcanic eruption of our time, on foot, and other totally improbable events. And, as a bonus, snappy dialogue! I think my favorite was character, Carl Anheuser’s throwaway comment: “Kind of galling when you realize that nutbags with cardboard signs had it right the whole time.” Woody Harrelson’s crazy broadcaster was very entertaining, too.

I’m not going to nitpick about the premise. I trust you know that the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 isn’t a prediction of the end of the world, but the end of an era. I won’t gripe about the questionable science, faulty physics, or anything like that. Those are okay in a disaster movie.

I was even tolerant of the moments that tried hard to tug at our heartstrings, particularly the cute dog interlude. That was embarrassing! A couple hours of watching billions of people dying violent, nightmarish deaths, and then: Look! A puppy! Will she make it up to the ship in time? Oh no! Right. That’s not manipulative. Don’t even get me started on the ramifications of that particular breed of dog being the only one I saw surviving. That prospect is just too depressing to contemplate.

In some ways, the movie was actually better than I expected. Several times they chose not to take the standard Hollywood turns I assumed they wouldn’t be able to resist. I give them points for deciding against the “alternate” ending in the special features, for one thing. Sure, the divorced star had to get back with his ex wife. I think that’s a law or something. There had to be an uplifting ending, which they did, perhaps without overdoing it. It delivered what it promised, and what I wanted: a ringside seat on a transcendent, ennobling life upheaval event.

Danny Glover is almost as good a choice for president as Morgan Freeman, too!

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