‘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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