“2012” was directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich who is best known for other films like “The Patriot”, “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Independence Day” and the 1998 remake of “Godzilla”. The film stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt, Danny Glover, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton and Woody Harrelson. This film refers to both “Mayanism” and the “2012 phenomenon” in which both theories state that the world ends in this particular year.
In 2009, American geologist, Adrian Helmsley (Ejiofor), and astrophysicist Satnam Tsurutani discover the sun’s release of neutrinos which begin hearing the Earth’s core which causes some natural disasters throughout the world. Helmsley brings the information to the White House Chief of Staff, Carl Anheuser (Platt) and US President, Tom Wilson (Glover). In 2010, the President and other leaders begin a secret project to ensure the world’s survival. The G8 nations begin building 9 ark ships which can carry over 100,000 people but the funding of this project is by selling spots on the arks to the highest bidders. In 2011, precious artifacts, documents and valuable art works are moved the first ark that is completed along with the First Daughter and art expert, Laura Wilson (Newton). In 2012, science fiction writer, Jackson Curtis (Cusack) and his 2 children are visiting Yellowstone National Park and are subdued after entering a restricted area. The 3 are bought to Helmsley who happens to be a fan of Curtis’ writings. After they are released, they are met by Charlie Hapgood (Harrleson) a crazed scientist and conspiracy theorist who warns them about the impending doomsday coming to this world. When Jackson is returning his kids to his ex wife, Kate (Peet) and her new boyfriend, the San Francisco area begins experiencing massive earthquakes and they all manage to escape to the local airfield. With time running out, Jackson and the group must find a way to stick together and get to a safe location in order to survive this global catastrophe.
Back in 2009, movies like this had everyone feeling uneasy as 2012 was approaching. This movie however was actually pretty good. It has similarities to “The Day After Tomorrow” and “War of the Worlds” but does have some great action sequences. At the same time, it has all the cliches of a disaster movie, from power struggles to narrow escapes and even cheesy comedic moments.
Overall, this wasn’t any different than Emmerich’s other disaster films but this was visually stunning and holds up today. While it didn’t break any new grounds, its still entertaining to watch. Roland Emmerich would go on to direct 2013’s “White House Down”, 2019’s “Midway” and the 2016 sequel “Independence Day: Resurgence”.