‘2012’ has great effects and (shocker!) inept writing

Nov. 14, 2009 | 7:11 p.m.

Los Angeles Times senior film critic Kenneth Turan sat through a popcorn apocalypse. Here’s his review, with a few links added by me. — Geoff Boucher

John Cusack in 2012

As far as the new disaster film “2012” is concerned, the world will end with both a bang and a whimper, the bang of undeniably impressive special effects and the whimper of inept writing and characterization. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

In fact, it’s hard to say what leaves the more lasting impression, how realistically director Roland Emmerich has destroyed Los Angeles (it’s the third try, after “Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow,” practice apparently making perfect) or how difficult a time the actors have bringing any life to the script by Emmerich and Harald Kloser.

Nothing, not even a season of Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon, will give you more respect for how difficult it is to be an actor than watching top talent like John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet and Oliver Platt struggling to treat the film’s ungodly language and situations with perfect seriousness.

The deeper truth, of course, is that it doesn’t really matter and everyone with a hand in “2012” knows as much. Audiences with a hankering for the apocalypse shrug off the ridiculous and sit tight for the special effects. In this case, they are worth the wait.


— Kenneth Turan


2012 poster

Opening day: ‘2012’ looking huge, ‘Christmas Carol’ holding strong

Roland Emmerich on L.A.: “It’s always fun to lay it to ruin”

“2012” poised for a big weekend at international box-office

Scientists fuming about “2012” hysteria

Roland Emmerich promises “2012” is the “mother of all disaster films”

PHOTOS: David Strick on the set of “2012”

The mysterious messages of “2012”

James Cameron: Yes, “Avatar” is “Dances With Wolves” in space…sorta

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2 Responses to ‘2012’ has great effects and (shocker!) inept writing

  1. Looking forward to watch the movie, I watched the promo and was pretty impressed, hope the movie is as good or even better than the promos.
    And, the review definitely sounded satisfying to me. Anticipating the release very much, I wish all the best to the movie and all of the people involved in it.
    By the way, the review is pretty good. Cheers

  2. Etznab says:

    "2012: Time for Change" projects a radical alternative to apocalyptic doom and gloom. Directed by Emmy Award nominee Joao Amorim, the film follows journalist Daniel Pinchbeck, author of the bestselling 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, on a quest for a new paradigm that integrates the archaic wisdom of tribal cultures with the scientific method. As conscious agents of evolution, we can redesign post-industrial society on ecological principles to make a world that works for all. Rather than breakdown and barbarism, 2012 will herald the birth of a regenerative planetary culture, where collaboration replaces competition, where exploration of psyche and spirit becomes the new cutting edge, replacing the sterile materialism that has pushed our world to the brink.
    Interviews with design scientists, anthropologists, physicists such as Dean Radin, Barbara Marx Hubbard, John Todd and Paul Stamets and celebrities such as Sting, Ellen Page and Gilberto Gil.

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