We Were Warned.
Running Time: 158 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Country: Canada, United States
The end of the world as we know it, famous buildings being destroyed and a multi stranded story of ordinary people trying to survive in a dying world havent we seen that before? Yes, a fair number of times now. So, for 2012 to justify its over-hyped release, it would have to be something special. Lo-and-behold, its not and the end just cant come soon enough.
The apocalypse comes in 2012, just as those canny Mayans said it would, and the earth’s core begins to dissolve and the crust is destabalised by huge earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. As nature starts to take its revenge, estranged Dad and failed novelist, Jackson Curtis (Cusack), learns of the end of the world before most and he sets off to rescue his family. Jackson loves his kids and is a generally good guy and his wifes current boyfriend drives a Porsche guess who we are supposed to root for? Meanwhile, government scientist Adrian Helmsley (Ejiofor) and slippery politician Carl Anheuser (Platt) are trying save some remnant of society, some random families throughout the world show that its a global phenomena and other peripheral characters dutifully await their deaths.
The family implausibly manage to out-fly, out-drive and literally out-run a series of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, and when it is so obvious that they arent going to kill off their main star vehicle and Hollywood isnt in the business of having kids die on screen, the action doesnt grip and all gets a bit tedious. Although I suppose if they had died within the first fifteen minutes then it wouldnt have been much of a film. On the whole, the characters arent all that likeable, its only Helmsley who comes out of it as a well-rounded, caring human being. As the film is about an unwinnable battle with nature, a villain is created in the human form of Anheuser. He is made out to be a scumbag because he doesnt let the whole world onto their escape vessels (think Noah’s ark) and then refuses to endanger thousands of peoples lives for the sake of Jackson and his family. The Russian family are shameless stereotypes and act as a contrast to the all American family they travel with. Compared to the likes of Independence Day this is all pretty humourless, except for Woody Harrelsons conspiracy theorist. Random bits of humour, like excruciating one liners, normally drag a film like this into the So bad, its good category, but instead this is just plain old bad.
As with all epics, the film is indulgently dragged out to a marathon two and a half hour runtime and it really doesnt deserve it. 2012 does manage to perk up when most of humanity has perished, as it travels into the sci-fi realm of what next? but then it flatlines at the end as it descends into melodrama. Finally, the whole premise of the film is destroyed with one line Africa is now the highest point in the world. It probably never even flooded. Saving humanity? What fluff.
It's Got: A marathon runtime
It Needs: Characters you can care about, main character death roulette
The end can’t come soon enough with this overlong and overhyped disaster epic that all been done before – just far better.