This is a great example of a film that had plenty of potential and didn't fulfill it. Money wasn't the problem. A decent cast wasn't the problem. A director not used to making a special effect laden action film wasn't the problem. So what was it? I have a few ideas like cheesy dialogue and lack of character development so we ended up not caring.
Many centuries ago the Mayan calendar predicted that the world would end in the year 2012. Some believed it, but most did not. Now it seems as if science is confirming that this is true.
In 2009 in India at a copper mine they discover that things from the sun have mutated into a new particle that is heating up the Earth's core. A geologist named Adrian (Chiwetel Ejiofor – Salt, Children of Men) comes back to Washington to bring the results to Mr. Anheuser (Oliver Platt – Frost/Nixon, Pieces of April). Anheuser reads the report then brings Adrian to meet the President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover – Death at a Funeral – 2010, Be Kind Rewind).
At the G8 Summit in British Columbia the U.S. president tells the leaders of the other countries that the world as they know it will soon come to an end. Panic ensues. In 2011 in Paris the Mona Lisa is sold and in 2012 in Guatemala a mass suicide is committed by the Mayans. Surface cracks start appearing in California and tides begin to shift drastically. The director of the French National Museums is killed before he can give a press conference. The President's daughter Laura (Thandie Newton – Run, Fatboy, Run, RocknRolla) has ties to the killed man and she wants to know what is going on. Her father tells her what is going on. The timeline that Adrian had developed is now useless.
Jackson Curtis (John Cusack – Hot Tub Time Machine, Serendipity) and his wife Kate (Amanda Peet – The X Files: I Want to Believe, Syriana) are divorced. His wife has remarried a plastic surgeon (Thomas McCarthy – The Lovely Bones, Baby Mama). Jackson is an author who has not written very much lately. He is going to spend some time camping with his kids in Yellowstone Park.
At Yellowstone Jackson notices plenty of changes. Government officials are flying into Yellowstone. The Army comes and tells Jackson he and his kids are in a hot zone and take them away. Jackson and the kids meet a guy named Charlie (Woody Harrelson – The Messenger, Seven Pounds), who is a conspiracy theorist. Charlie tells Jackson that the government has been covering up what they are doing to combat what is going to happen when the planets align. Jackson sees on television that earthquakes are happening in Los Angeles. Kate wants Jackson to bring the kids home.
The heating of the crust is happening more rapidly than previously predicted and they now have only 2-3 days tops. An evacuation plan has been developed by the U.S. government to put 400,000 people on spaceships.
Jackson works as a limo driver for a rich Russian man (Zlatko Buric – Dirty Pretty Things) and his kids tell Jackson that they are going on a big ship. They will live and he will die. Jackson rents a plane in order to try to get to his family. He wants to get all of them on this ship. At this point is becomes a race against time as the Earth is beginning to majorly shift and collapse.
Definitely a film that you should see on a big screen and on blu-ray in order to get the full effect. The volcanoes and the tsunamis are quite cool to watch. The effects and the way the film looks are its only redeeming qualities.
Somehow though, these stunning pictures end up ringing hollow. It ends up being boring. This is because you don't really care about what is happening and you haven't been given the chance to really care about the characters. There is very little flow and some of the editing is rather choppy to be honest.
Though I realize that tension has to be dialed up in a film like this there are only so many close calls that I can handle. The film at a certain point seemed to be one close call after another and that really had the effect of pulling me out of the moment.
-"Time for Miracles" Music Video by Adam Lambert
-Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic