Many theorists think that the world is going to end. Some claim better accuracy to place that day to be 21/12/2012. The Mayan calendar also ends on that day and Nostradamus must’ve also predicted this along with pretty much everything else. This flick is over two and a half hours long but some really bad sequences make it seem like it is a full eight hour sitting. No, the film is not that bad. The special effects are astounding. Roland Emmerich, director, takes you on a rollercoaster ride that passes pretty much every part of the Special FX amusement park. There are lots of tidal waves, tsunamis, collapsing skyscrapers, shifting land masses the size of cities and so on. He tries every trick known to Hollywood but then goes ahead and casts John Cusack in the lead? I know he’s done this before where a meek hero saves the day in Godzilla, Independence Day (ahem, not exactly) and The Day After Tomorrow. Our protagonist, Jackson Curtis is one of the luckiest humans alive as pretty much every disaster misses him by either an inch or a microsecond. After a while you start getting confident that he’s going to be saved and that’s when you start to realize that you’ve been conned.
2012 follows the all important disaster flick formula. In the first act – various dire pronouncements are made about the future of earth. Second act, Reality – in which 75% of the special effects are showcased. Finally the last act – Resolution, in which heroes do heroic things that save most of the human race. There’s no suspense, no twist because one it’s no longer important whether characters live or die. Their fates, which causes all the ‘excitement’ is disposed off rather unceremoniously.
The first person of any importance that we’re introduced to is Dr. Adrian Helmsley, scientific advisor to the President -the messenger of bad news. In 2009, on a trip to India, he uncovers evidence that the world is about to be destroyed. Three years later, his prediction is reaching reality. He’s the leader of an international team assembled to investigate the ‘problem’ and come up with a ‘solution’ by which the human race is saved. His boss is Carl Anheuser, who is taking emotion out of the equation when it comes to life itself and becomes something Adrian and friends can’t accept. As the ‘problem’ of the planet accelerates, plans get adjusted.
Meanwhile, LA-based fiction writer Jackson Curtis is camping with his kids from a broken marriage, when news of a massive earthquake in the city causes him to head back, but not before he has a heart-to-heart with a radio show host, Charlie Frost. Charlie, who appears to be cuckoo in the head, lets Jackson in on the world is about to end phenomenon. He gives the whole deal about the Mayans and December 21, 2012. Jackson and his kids arrive at the house shared by his ex-wife, Kate and her plastic surgeon boyfriend, Gordon, just as the destruction of LA is beginning. So everyone jumps in Jackson’s limo (yes he’s a limo driver) and escape. Destination Yellowstone, where Charlie claims to have a ‘map’ of a ‘big ship’ made by the government to save well-healed humans.
There are other characters, too – an Indian geophysicist, a pair of old musicians on a cruise ship, a rich Russian who is glad to get hold of an Antonov to escape and some people in Tibet. All of them have even lesser to add to the entire plot. To sum up, if you live in suburban India, chances are you will always find those 3 hours where you want mindless special effects. That is exactly where 2012 would slot itself.
Contributed by Roopesh Shah