2012 (M)

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The ViewWellington Review

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Review byMatthew Turner13/11/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 158 mins

Hugely enjoyable, impressively directed disaster epic with state of the art special effects, thrilling set-pieces, superb performances, a decent script and, oh yes, a bit with a dog.

What's it all about?
2012 begins in 2009 with an Indian geologist (Jimi Mistry) explaining to US scientist Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) that solar flares have destabilised the earth's core and that, as a result, the world will come to an end in 2012, just as the Mayan calendar predicted. Adrian swiftly becomes chief advisor to both the president (Danny Glover) and his chief of staff (Oliver Platt) and the three of them set about making contingency plans for the end of the world.

Flash forward to December 2012, with divorced novelist-turned-chauffeur Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) meeting nutcase Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), who broadcasts his 'the end of the world is nigh' messages from his trailer in Yellowstone Park. However, when the earth's crust starts to collapse, Jackson realises that Charlie knows the location of the government's emergency operation, so he frantically tries to rescue his kids (Liam James and Morgan Lily), his ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and her new husband (Thomas McCarthy) and get them to Yellowstone before LA falls into the ocean.

The Good
Director Roland Emmerich is famous for blockbuster disaster movies with great special effects and thrilling set-pieces but he's really outdone himself here; the film is worth seeing for the limo drive through a collapsing LA alone. Other highlights include: Jackson and family outrunning an exploding volcano with a Winnebago; a plane crash-landing on an ice cliff and the bit where an aircraft carrier and a tsunami take out the entire White House.

Cusack is terrific as the world's greatest limo driver and there's strong support from Peet, McCarthy, Ejiofor and the always-reliable Platt, whilst Harrelson, Glover, Mistry and Thandie Newton (as the president's daughter) are equally good value in smaller roles. The sharply written script wisely strips down the traditional disaster movie's huge cast in favour of focussing on a handful of characters we really care about.

The Great
Despite its whopping 158 minute running time, 2012 never drags, largely thanks to Emmerich's pacey direction and the engaging characters.

Worth seeing?
2012 delivers everything you could possibly want from a blockbuster disaster movie, though you have to wonder how Emmerich is going to top the end of the world. Highly recommended.

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2012 (M)
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Content updated: 27/09/2017 01:45

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