Sunday, January 24, 2010

2012: A Movie About Disasters or a "Disaster" Movie

Roland Emmerich is mostly known for creating so-called “disaster movies” or films that show either a near-apocalyptic world scenario or another major catastrophe that strikes humanity. Emmerich himself has stated he likes the idea of disaster movies because they put ordinary people in extraordinary situations and reveal their character. The logic behind such an idea might be true but Emmerich’s movies often show little to no character development whatsoever. The most recent and highly anticipated movie is of course 2012. So does this movie do a good job of depicting a fairly accurate doomsday plot? The answer is…there is no one answer.
The movie opens in the year 2009 when a scientists discovers that an ancient Mayan prophecy about the end of the world might actually have some credibility to it as apparently the Sun has begun emitting deadlier particles which will result in the destabilization of the Earth’s mantle and crust respectively. Disregarding the scientific fallacies behind this discovery the average viewer could consider this a fairly plausible exposition for the rest of the film. The plot goes on to reveal how the leaders of the world begin a massive plan to evacuate as many people as they can. Both useful ones and such that have enough money to pay for a way out are selected. The story continues to show the protagonist who takes his kids camping to Yellowstone National Park where he meets an apparently crazy radio host who keeps talking about the end of the world and how the government is hiding it all. Naturally, few believe him but that changes relatively soon as doomsday is indeed close at hand. As the world around them begins to fall apart the main characters flee to China where the government of every major nation has built a ship to float on the upcoming tidal waves. As the catastrophe escalates the viewer becomes a witness to dazzling visual effects and suspense. Indeed, the scope and depth of the devastation is shown in a perfect manner and the destruction reaches epic proportions at its pinnacle. With that said, the character development and realization remains low as they seem to take the news rather well for average people. Of course, there are numerous subplots of betrayal, affairs, and twists which seem to ultimately arrive to a happy ending.
Yes, a lot of people die, and yes the movie is praised mainly for its visual effects rather than thorough story and scientifically based facts but it still is pleasant entertainment for the whole family.