Last night, my friends J and R invited me to see the new movie "2012" with them. To be honest, I really wasn't expecting much. J has HORRIBLE taste in movies. Every movie he's dragged me to has been completely unenjoyable ("Max Payne", "Pride and Glory", and now he wants to see "Ninja Assassin"). The one reason I figured "2012" would be different was that there would be lots of cool explosions. So I agreed to go and, surprisingly, didn't regret it afterward.
Now, let's be real here. If you're looking for quality cinema, this is not the movie for you. I'm pretty sure that any intelligent person can gather from the trailer that this is not a movie full of great dialogue and compelling stories. The characters were clichéd and underdeveloped. The filmmakers kept introducing characters who were all connected, and I'm assuming we were supposed to feel some sympathy for them when they were all killed off. However, since there were so many people dying and we never really had a chance to connect with any of them, my response was mostly, "Huh. That sucks. Can we get back to the volcanoes?" The dialogue was stilted, and, despite several talented cast members (John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, and Oliver Platt, to name a few), the acting was downright awful. It mostly consisted of people shouting and people acting sad. The plot was horribly predictable (I think we all knew from the very beginning who would die, who would survive, who would fall in love, etc.), and everything about the situation was completely unbelievable. I'm pretty sure that if you put any of the science to the test, none of the so-called facts would hold up. In addition to that, the filmmakers felt the need to throw in half-baked moral lessons that seemed pretty unnecessary, if you ask me. Yes, we get the point: family is important, the Tibetans are better people than the Chinese, care more about humanity than money, plastic surgery is bad. So many messages jumbled all together and presented so half-heartedly...the only thing this movie inspired me to do was roll my eyes. So, compelling filmmaking? Not in the slightest.
However, I highly doubt that anyone entered this movie expecting a cinematic masterpiece. We were all there to see the earth explode and watch natural disaster after natural disaster ravish the landscape and all the unfortunate people on there. And the effects were impressive, I must admit. Not only that, but the camera focused on them, so you really got the full scope of the destruction. None of that cutting away and cutting back in an attempt to build suspense. We got the full view of Yellowstone exploding, buildings crashing down, Tsunamis crashing over continents, and all the other delicious catastrophies that this movie had in store. It was one of those movies that was so bad you were able to laugh at it and enjoy it anyway. And it didn't hurt that J was sitting next to me giggling like a five year old and pretending to fly an airplane through all the clouds of smoke and collapsing buildings. Hilarious.
So, my advice? If you're looking for a great movie that's going to make you think, steer clear. This will only leave you disappointed. But if you want some good cheap laughs as the earth crumbles, this is the movie for you. Make sure to go with a group of friends who aren't afraid to make comments, laugh at all the stupid inside jokes you come up with, and just thoroughly enjoy the pandemonium. Perhaps you'll annoy a fellow patron or two, but for the most part, the rest of the audience will be doing the exact same thing as you are. After all, it's not as if you're going to miss any important dialogue. I can tell you right now, there isn't any.
EDIT: My very favorite part of the movie was when Queen Elizabeth came to get on the ships with two of her corgis. As a former corgi owner myself, I was thrilled to see that, although everyone else was dying, the corgi breed would survive. (Although I do have to admit that I was a little unhappy when I thought about how she would have had to pick those two out of all the corgis she owns. How do you pick which of your pets will live and which will die? Sad day.)