First of all, I have to suggest (strongly) you don’t try to take in this visual feast after drinking two peyote and papaya smoothies.
Going into the movie, I had certain expectations. I find that going to a film is much more enjoyable if one lowers one’s expectations, and the danger of a seeing a movie with really bad reviews (2012 has a 25% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty low, even by Hollywood standards) is that your expectations are already lowered. I mean, this quote from Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal is typical: “This oafish epic about the End of Days–as predicted by the Mayan calendar–operates in a dead zone roughly equidistant between parody and idiocy.”
But this does not lower your expectations enough. Lower them some more if you want to have any hope of enjoying the “story”.
Now, based on my experience watching such classics as Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow and 10,000 BC, I lower my expectations on several fronts.
So here is the second thing to remember. There are things you can expect, and things you can’t reasonably hope to see. Here is a short list of things NOT to except from a Roland Emmerich film:
- coherent narrative
- lucid use of science
- well-developed characters
- sensible dialog
- full-frontal nudity.
So, you’re asking, what is the point of seeing his movies? Well, the man has a flair for blowing things up! I mean, if I was going to hire someone to direct the apocalypse, Emmerich would certainly be on my short list. I mean, in 2012 he wipes out the White House with an aircraft carrier! (The John F. Kennedy if I remember correctly, but remember: peyote milkshakes.)
Face it, he’s a master of disaster porn!
And now you’re thinking, peyote milkshakes, what gives there? Well, I’ll tell you. In 2012, things blow up real good, but you don’t often get a sense of what that’s doing for all the people in the middle of the blowing up. (I suppose this is so we can enjoy the lashings of CGI laid on the movie, without feeling sorry for all the human beings having their existence snuffed out.) So, the peyote, in the right circumstances, gives you a mystical connection to ALL life, and disconnects you from reality somewhat, so visions of California sliding into the sea, or the Sistine Chapel caving in and crushing a church full of Catholic clergy may sound cool, but is pretty devastating, emotionally speaking.
But it does blow up real good. I’m sure the Farm Film Report would give it five out of five peyotes, but I’m afraid I can only give it two:
And now, the Farm Film Report: