2012: The Day The Earth Yawned

By guest blogger Erin

 

A few years ago, my friend Courtney and I had a little blog that was solely dedicated to watching crappy movies and then making fun of them.  Our motto was “We watch them so you don’t have to.”  Unfortunately, after only a year or two of this, we realized that we had to stop throwing away our hard-earned money on tickets to really crappy movies.  But this weekend, we decided to give it another go and sought out a film that we knew would make us thrill to the delights of a bloated budget, gasp as yet another CGI marvel flickered across the screen, and swoon at a generic romance that had no place occurring while the world was coming to an end.  Yes, we decided to watch 2012

Before I go further, a confession: I actually really enjoy Independence Day, also directed by Roland Emmerich.  Like, legitimately, genuinely enjoy that movie.  When Bill Pullman inspires everyone via Rousing Bullhorn Speech?  When Randy Quaid commits suicide to save the world?  You guys, that is quality stuff!  2012 . . . is no Independence Day.

  

The film begins in 2009, with Earnest White House Scientist Chiwetal Efiojor learning from his Indian colleague that evil neutrinos have managed to burrow their way into the Earth’s core.  The neutrinos are cooking down there in the core, heating everything up, and causing things to expand, sort of like a soufflé.  A pseudoscientific, particularly untasty soufflé. 

Spurred on by these findings, Efiojor dashes over to the White House, where he meets up with Oliver Platt.  I have no idea what job Oliver Platt’s character actually holds in the White House.  I doubt he knows.  Later on in the movie, he appoints himself the Commander in Chief, proving that Emmerich knows even less about American government than he does geology.  But anyway, he Growls and Curses a lot, because Oliver Platt plays a miserable human being in everything he’s in.  Yet he enjoys his champagne, so he can’t be all bad.

  

A secretive and possibly nefarious plan is put into action to save some of the world’s population after the world ends.  It seems to involve eugenics and billionaires, which should at least put an end to all of that pesky racism and classism that so troubles our world today.  But instead of learning anything about this plan or, in fact, learning anything interesting at all, let’s spend time with John Cusack and Amanda Peet as Stuff Blows Up In An Improbable Fashion!

  

John Cusack plays a character named Jackson Curtis, and I only point this out to stress that in no way are Jackson Curtis and I related.  Apparently at one point in time in the vaguely distant past, Jackson Curtis wrote a book that conveniently was about struggling to stand up with your fellow man during the apocalypse.  I’m sure that this theme will in no way come up during this movie about the apocalypse. 

John Cusack’s character and Amanda Peet’s character used to be married and, from this union, produced two mildly-annoying offspring which John Cusack insists on carting around for the whole of this movie.  (I’m just saying, John Cusack, a giant crack in the earth makes a handy place to accidentally push your annoying children into.  They might get lucky and end up in a land with dinosaurs!)  Post-divorce, Amanda Peet now dates hapless plastic surgeon Gordon, who is Such A Nice Guy.  Even just-fertilized embryos floating around in amniotic fluid can figure out how this romantic triangle is going to play out.  Moving on. 

 Just before Shit Gets Real, John Cusack runs into Woody Harrelson, here continuing his run as 2009’s Most Surprisingly Enjoyable Actor.  I think Woody must have brought over some of his leftover Zombieland magic, because the scene in which he explains to Cusack (and the audience) about the impending doom of our planet via Internet cartoon and MS Paint is the only scene in this entire damn movie that’s enjoyable.

  

Anyway, so back to our ridiculously stitched-together plot.  The world starts ending in a series of ways: earthquakes and then volcanoes and finally tsunamis.  This is of course propped up by very impressive Scientific Theory that a 7-year-old studying earthworms in science class could poke holes in.  All of the required disaster movie tropes are present: Shit Blowing Up Real Good, improbable escape from impending doom by car/air/foot, Endearing Old Couple, families saying tearful goodbyes, characters bravely staying behind to Make A Stand, and a final showdown about how, if we sacrifice our humanity, the terrorists will have won  we are no better than aliens  Danny Glover would be sad.  Oh, also there’s a dog. 

So, there you have it, internets!  If you have $9.50 to spare, and you want to punish yourself severely but lack any instruments with which to flog your legs or gouge out your eyes, go see 2012!!  On the upside, look what happens to Los Angeles:

 

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9 Responses to “2012: The Day The Earth Yawned”

  1. I too love Independence Day. I mean, Will Smith! Hello!

    Thank you, Erin and Courtney, for watching this movie so I don’t have to. And thanks for the scathing review!

  2. The one thing I remember from Independence Day that bothered me – and I do mean the ONE thing – is that Bill Pullman ended his speech by saying “Today, we celebrate our Independence Day.” Those two “day”‘s (no idea what the punctuation rule is there) still drive me crazy! Ruined an otherwise flawless movie. Partial redemption provided by that Quaid brother, the Apple shoutouts, and Will Smith knocking out that ugly ole alien with one punch. Oh, and Smith and Goldblum smoking cigars and laughing about how they’re gonna about to self-destruct and take all the aliens with them.

    Man, that movie was some kind of magic.

  3. Not to turn this post into a review about ID4 but I also love that movie. Sometimes the summer blockbusters do it right, you know.

    Uh, yeah. This movie looks pretty bad. And now I feel like I know enough about it to make fun of it without actually seeing it. Were there at least some cool effects? I mean, high budg yes, but sometimes they still look bad.

    Conceptually I really enjoy apocolypse movies. Mostly just to take mental notes in case one actually happens. Of course, if you actually follow most of the advice from these movies you’ll end up dying of thirst or scurvey within a month.

  4. What I learned from 2012 is that if you want to survive the apocalypse, you need to know how to fly a plane. Or you need to sleep with someone who knows how to fly a plane. Or you need to be Oliver Platt.

    So . . . work on that, I guess?

  5. Jerry: dubs true on the repetitive construction of Bill’s speech. Like in “Come Sail Away,” when Styx sings: “on board I’m the captain, so climb on board.” DRIVES ME CRAZY.

  6. erin, you made one crucial mistake: you didn’t see this movie IN D-BOX. HELLO?!!! ridiculously over-the-top action movies are the whole reason why D-BOX exists!!! who CARES about acting or plot when yr chair jerks around and threatens to shake yr brain out of yr head?

    so yeah, suckas, i am totally seeing this movie (in D-BOX, in case i haven’t made that clear).

  7. I agree with the hole-in-the-earth kid trashcan. Hello. It’s not like anyone can give you grief over it if you lose your kids in the Apocalypse. It’s the perfect excuse.

    And can I just say, the original trailer for this film was AWESOME, and I was excited about this film, but that was also because there was no talking in it, and no Hollywood stars, just a HUGE WAVE taking shit out. Now THAT’S what I want to see for 90 minutes!

  8. Or like when in “Live and Let Die,” Paul McCartney sings, “If this crazy world in which we live in.” WHY DOES HE DO THAT??

    pd, I didn’t even think about D-box!! I don’t think my companions would have liked it though. But it would have helped shake up the tuberculosis germs our pancake house waitress had coughed up on me.

    Jill, if only it was just a huge tidal wave for 90 minutes. Instead it’s a lot of talking, some bad CGI, and Morals. FOR TWO AND A HALF HOURS.

  9. “in which we’re livin’,” I think.

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