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Roland Emmerich: The '00s

The Patriot

The Day After Tomorrow

10,000 BC

2012 (November 12/09)

The latest overblown end-of-the-world disaster epic from Roland Emmerich, 2012 follows several disparate characters as they attempt to outrun a global cataclysm that threatens to destroy all life on Earth. It's a solid premise that's generally employed to relatively positive effect by director and cowriter Emmerich, as the film - which seems to have been structured using a disaster-movie template - hits virtually all of the notes one might've expected and ultimately boasts some of the most eye-popping computer-generated special effects in recent memory. There's consequently little doubt that the film is at its best when focused on the damage inflicted by the worldwide event, with the admittedly impressive performances (from folks like John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Oliver Platt) inevitably rendered moot in the face of Emmerich's unapologetically over-the-top sensibilities. The inclusion of a few undeniably poignant moments - ie Danny Glover's President Wilson addresses the nation for the last time - proves instrumental in infusing the proceedings with all-too-brief bursts of humanity, yet it's just as clear that Emmerich's penchant for introducing more and more characters as the story unfolds effectively dilutes the impact of the survivors' ongoing efforts at staying alive. Likewise, 2012 suffers from an entirely needless third act that features comparatively low-rent visuals and generally feels as though it'd be more at home within an entirely different movie (ie it's as though the filmmakers have crammed both 2012 and its sequel into one bloated endeavor). It's nevertheless worth noting that the movie does deliver precisely the sort of larger-than-life thrills that its promotional campaign has promised, and although it remains an almost aggressively bloated piece of work from start to finish, 2012's relentless emphasis on destruction ensures that most viewers will inevitably walk away satisfied.

out of

© David Nusair