Friday, November 6, 2009

REVIEW: 2012 - Spectacular, but fails to live up to promise


I must confess to being a little confused by the new doomsday themed movie, 2012. Whilst obviously a cleverly constructed and well shot sequel, it appears to have picked up almost none of the story threads, none of the characters, and certainly none of the actors, from the movie that started the franchise.


I found myself cast headfirst into a fastpaced narrative set 11 years after the end of the first movie, and introduced to a small group of new characters, led by the always reliable John Cusack, who confront a number of omens foretelling imminent cataclysmic events. As expected, they are soon struggling with a rapidly escalating series of natural disasters, always escaping with seconds to spare. In common with the first movie, there is a major plotline involving contact with an alien race, but it is a completely new race of beings, at a very different stage of technological development, and with their own set of reasons for journeying to earth and assisting the human race.

There is no doubting the craft and skill that has gone into the convincing creation of this chaotic world, and yet, I kept feeling shortchanged by the apparent abandonment of the storyline from the original movie. The glossing over of this discontinuity detracted from the spectacle, and I found myself wishing for more emotional substance to the story. Perhaps just a few scenes with the original's main characters David Bowman and Frank Poole would have provided this, not to mention some more time with the apes.

On the plus side, it's filled with stunning scenes of destruction and mayhem, and who isn't excited by that kind of stuff? People scream and flee for their lives. Buildings crumple and crunch and snap. It's all very satisfying in the usual disaster movie way. There are frequent shots of cities and towns suddenly transforming into vistas of mass death and suffering, and who doesn't like to gorge on that kind of imagery? Clearly, it's a crowd-pleaser. Grab some popcorn, and go see it.

4.5 stars out of 5

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