[John Cusack, Danny Glover, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiorfor]
The theatre was packed! And it was an early Sunday afternoon matinee! You would have thought that it was a Friday night opening. I ended up sitting in the single seat section reserved for companions of wheel-chaired patrons. Sorry guys, that section is the next best section after the first row behind the rail above the cross-aisle.
Synopsis: The end of the world is coming and it corresponds to the end of the Mayan calendar. Select few are aware of coming planet-wide disaster and the governments of the world band together in secret to devise a way to escape destruction.
Roland Emmerich brings us "The Day After Tomorrow" on steroids. Where "The Day After Tomorrow" puts the destruction of humanity squarely on our shoulders with our misuse of the planet and its resources, "2012" allows us to only be the victims of events that are beyond the controls of mortal man. In this case, the increased activity of our Sun leads to worldwide events of earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and land mass displacement.
Dr Adrian Helmsley, played with equal parts intelligence and compassion by Chiwetel Ejiorfor, discovers in 2009 that our planet is on the verge of destruction and sets in motion a timetable for our governments to react and save that will expire in 2012. Jackson Curtis (played by John Cusack), a divorced family man with two kids, stumbles onto the US government's plans at the same time that the natural disasters begin. Cusack is an unlikely hero and I prefer it that way. You all expect that Tom Cruise is going to save us from alien invasions, but you are willing to write off Cusack with every near-miss. Even Woody Harrelson is having a good year with his turn as a crazy hippie, conspiracy theorist radio host.
Playing out like a Tom Clancy novel, it takes much of the first act to set up the different characters around the world. But once the carnage starts, the rest of the movie is a roller coaster ride. I would not have believed that so many airplane escapes would keep me white knuckled. Equal parts adrenaline rush with summer blockbuster CGI and more quiet human moments, this movie runs along at a good clip throughout.
Is this just like the other Ocsar contenders purposefully released in November for maximum chance at the statue in the coming January or February? Of course not! This film is more summer popcorn fare than anything else, and I enjoyed it with my popcorn bucket in hand in the November cold as much as I would have in the height of Summer!
Worth: Matinee and a Blu-Ray