I wasn’t sure I was going to like this movie. I liked the cast, but a ‘end of the world’ movie isn’t really my niche. I did like it, but it wasn’t outstanding.
The movie is set between the years of 2008-2012. A top geologist, played by the great Chiwetel Ejiofor, informs the government that they are heading towards the end of civilization due to scientific and climate issues taking place in the crust of the Earth. Before you know it, the world as they know it is crumbling into dust clouds everywhere they look.
Director Roland Emmerich, disaster movie extraordinaire, has made many movies like this one. He is responsible for films such as Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. I feel that this is the weakest of the three. I felt that disaster in this movie was too repetitive. For the most part, nothing new was happening; it was the same effects time after time. I wasn’t shocked by it towards the end of the film, I just expected it.
I’m torn on the casting of this movie; some choices I loved, some I hated. I was not familiar with Ejiofor prior to this movie, but I thought he was great. I felt more connection to his character than to John Cusack’s. Oliver Platt was scary good in this film. I’ve seen him play a variety of characters, starting with Flatliners in the early 90’s, but this made me think of him in a new way. He plays selfish and authoritative in such a believable way. Woody Harrelson was perfectly cast as the erratic, over-the-top conspiracy theorist. He was definitely the comic relief in this film.
As for what I could have done without: Danny Glover as President. I don’t know why, he’s a great actor, but I didn’t buy him in this role. I love Cusack, but I don’t know that this was the right film for him. I know that Emmerich likes to combine personal stories with the destruction, but it was just too typical I think – he misses his family, disaster strikes, they reunite.
I am by no means a special effects guru, but I just didn’t care for the effects in this movie. Kind of like what I said earlier about everything being too predictable. At least in Emmerich’s other two movies, there was a variety of things happening that lead to different effects. I felt they were sort of one-note. I’m sure I will get disagreements on this, but strictly from my viewpoint that’s how I saw it.
I would take Independence Day over this film any day of the week. I do recommend this movie, though, as it’s still interesting to watch. Be prepared for its running time is approximately two and a half hours.
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