Director: Roland Emmerich / Script: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser / DP: Dean Semler / Editor: David Brenner / Music: Harald Kloser
Cast: John Cusack / Amanda Peet / Chiwetel Ejiofor / Thandie Newton / Oliver Platt / Woody Harrelson / Danny Glover
Any clues? Armageddon it…
We recently moved house. As an experience second-only to funeral planning in terms of its potential for stress, I have to say that, looking back, it could’ve been much, much worse. A disaster, even. So, in honour of what might’ve been (and because I like living vicariously), I turned to a real car-crash of a film: 2012
Roland Emmerich co-writes and directs this hot mess with conviction, if little else. The world is turning itself inside-out, thanks to an improbable premise. Billions are dying (many on-screen). But rather than spend our tour of the Apocalypse in the company of someone we can empathise with, we’re lumbered with John Cusack, who would’ve phoned it in, had the phones been still working… We spend every minute of his screen-time, in the company of a man whose inner mantra was surely ‘How did I end up here?’
Amanda Peet eventually reconciles with this lumpen prole (called Jackson Curtis, but who’s counting?) after her plastic surgeon b/f gets heroically (& ironically) mangled. Chiwetel Ejiofor is wasted as the noble scientist, but chews the key Basil Exposition lines with self-aware vim, as does Thandie Newton, God Bless Her. Oliver Platt, too, tucks into the script buffet with a gourmand’s enthusiasm.
That leaves Woody Harrelson as an addled talk-radio host with a ringside seat to The End of the World (and boy does he feel fine). Throw-in a couple of kids, a Russian tart-with-a-heart and an accessory dog (that survives, natch) and we’re almost there.
FX is thunderous and CGI impressively done, if OTT in its scope, though perfectly judged, I’d say. At the sight of the USS JFK surfing in to crush the White House, I half expected President Danny Glover to mutter ‘I’m too old for this shit!’ That might be so, but you still took the cheque along with the others, didn’t you Danny?
It could afford to be a big, dumb roller-coaster, because that’s all it – and the audience – expected. But deserved? One wonders how Christopher Nolan might’ve treated the concept… Alas, we might never know. Thanks to Marvel & DC, our summers now have a distinct superhero-flavour about them. 2012 might very well be the last tentpole release that stands alone: I for one, can’t help but feel a little sad about the prospect.
Lift your big ass for Sasha!