By Dereck Rivera
Director Roland Emmerich (Indepedence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) seems to have a knack for depicting catastrophic events, as shown in his latest disaster installment, 2012. The movie loses touch with the in-depth Mayan calendar explanation of the apocalypse but becomes a visual, edge-of-your-seat joyride.
Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor, American Gangster), an American geologist, learns from a colleague that an underground copper mine is suffering radioactive decay from a massive solar flare that is increasing the temperature of the Earth’s core. Adrian informs President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover, Night Train) that this will initiate several catastrophic natural disasters. With the potential destruction of billions of lives, the government develops a secret, controversial project to preserve some of humanity and tries to keep everyone informed but optimistic about the dangers.
Jackson Curtis (John Cusack, Igor), a science fiction writer who also works as a limousine driver, coincidently meets a conspiracy theorist living as a hermit in Yellowstone National Park. The hermit, Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson, Zombieland), references the Mayan prediction that the world will end in 2012. He tells Jack that he knows where and why the government is building the secret project. Jack and his family prepare to survive the devastation.
Ejiofor especially commits to his role and makes his character special and important. In several scenes, Adrian addresses the public about what is happening and what needs to be done, but the government staff questions his credibility. Jack, meanwhile, doesn’t let his guard down with Mother Nature.
The action doesn’t take off until about a quarter of the way into the film. There is a fair amount of dialogue, which makes the pace of the film a little slow at times. Although 2012 doesn’t describe in detail the Mayan prophecy and viewers will have many unanswered questions, it is an all-around entertaining film. With a fairly weak script and several scenes that could have been omitted, however, the film is mostly eye-candy. The visually striking computer graphics will make viewers cringe.
The film gives hope to humanity and touches base with some controversial religious themes. Its three-hour length is made up for with special effects and thrilling adventure. Little tidbits of humor and its fantasy element detract from the film’s seriousness, but fans of Emmerich’s previous films will enjoy 2012 regardless.
2012 will play tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the BLC Theater.