The script for Roland Emmerich's upcoming disaster movie saps the will to live.
SPOILERS AHEAD, if you give a damn. I don't.
When Hollywood gets on a cold streak—as it oft does—and releases a string of big-budget stinkers, there’s a lot of head-scratching and chin-stroking about just why hundreds of millions of dollars are routinely thrown at crap. A lot of old warhorse answers are trotted out—most movie audience members are moronic teenagers, movies are test-marketed to death, movies are too tied in to franchises, big movies are developed by committees, not artists, etc. And they’re all part of the truth. But sometimes, contrarian sophisticates try to be apologists for Hollywood. Basically, they argue that all movies begin under the auspices of good intentions—it’s just that it’s so hard to make a good movie that somewhere along the way the wheels fell off.
After reading the script for 2012, I can tell you that’s not the case for this one. This thing came straight from the turd factory from day one. And anyone who had anything to do with it’s being made and perpetrated on the public—from the exec who bought it to the movie stars who slum in front of the cameras for a paycheck—are culpable. Goddammit, why?
2012 is the latest offering from hundred million dollar-plus B-movie maestro Roland Emmerich (it’s co-written by Emmerich and Harald Kloser (who apparently can’t even spell his own name) and “polished” by Matt Charman)). Chances are that if you live on planet earth, millions of marketing dollars have ensured that you have heard of this man’s films: Independence Day, Godzilla, The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 B.C. Chances are that you’ve seen a couple of these films, and secretly like at least one of them (though probably not The Patriot). Chances are also that you probably hate the part of yourself that likes this one film of his and wish it would die (in my case, I have an ineradicable fondness for The Day After Tomorrow that has baffled a whole team of doctors who've tried to cure me of it (at least the first half, before the whole Dennis Quaid treks across the frozen continent to save his son for no reason at all part takes over and even I tune out)). In any case, you’re no doubt very familiar with the Roland Emmerich Recipe: take a big disaster, stir in a multiethnic cast full of a few heroes and few bits of “comic relief,” add feces, and press to 35mm film. 2012 is a soufflé made with religious adherence to this recipe.
2012 is basically The Day After Tomorrow, but makes less sense. There’s a disaster on its way that’s going to completely change the environment and destroy a lot of cities. The ridiculous cause of the Disaster is explained in one Mumbo Jumbo scene, and then we see characters survive that Disaster. In Tomorrow, it was something involving Global Warming that made everything cold instantaneously. Here, it’s an Apocalypse forecast by the Mayans or some shit. The pseudo-scientific explanation has something to do with the planets of the solar system aligning, the Sun sending lots of radiation out, and then apparently that causes a bunch of earthquakes, tidal waves, and volcanoes on earth.
So then basically in your standard Emmerich vehicle you’ve got your Disaster, and now you’ve got to get your disparate groups of humans who run from said Disaster and try to survive. In this case, there’s a science adviser to the President who’s early warnings are shot down by an overzealous, turf-guarding Vice President or something. Sound familiar? Oh, maybe that’s because that’s the exact plot of The Day After Tomorrow. Roland, baby: if you’re going to rip someone off, can you at least get a Netflix subscription and steal ideas from someone besides yourself?
Besides the White House Plotline, the main throughline involves a divorced father who has trouble connecting to his son and daughter, who love their mother and rich stepfather more. Sound familiar? That’s because that was the exact plot of Spielberg's War of the Worlds. Apparently, Roland got that Netflix subscription after all.
Go fuck yourself, Roland Emmerich.
This role will apparently be played by John Cusack. Since this movie is in production right now, I can only assume that John is currently licking a stamp to place on the envelope in which he’s mailing in his performance at this very moment. I hope you enjoy that fat check, John. Let us know what you buy with it when the special effects involving a bunch of giant tidal waves and other cool shit trick us into thinking this movie might not totally suck and get us to plunk down $11.50 of our hard-earned dollars to see this two-hour piece of poop.
Cusack plays a limo driver who was estranged from his kids because he wrote a sci-fi novel that only sold five hundred copies and might have a plotline similar to what’s happening in the movie. Somewhere out there, there’s a good idea about an obscure sci-fi writer who somehow predicts the crazy events that come to fruition on earth. This is not that movie. In fact, they don’t really do anything with the subplot of him writing the book. It only serves as a thin tissue connecting Cusack and the science adviser guy, who read the book, and so is predisposed to like him.
Have you finished fucking yourself yet, Roland? No? Then I’ll continue spoiling your garbage movie.
So basically all the rich people on the planet secretly build a bunch of spaceships to get the hell out of here before we’re all killed by the Mayan god. Cost: $1 billion per seat on the ships. Cusack and his family try to get to China, where the spaceships are taking off from. That’s basically the plot of the movie: Cusack and co. trying to get to China to…do something, I guess. Although not much of anything. The main action in the movie is Cusack and family getting in planes and barely taking off before a deadly cloud of Apocalypse reaches them as they make their way to China. This happens three times in the movie. Very creative setpieces we’re talking about here.
Have I mentioned the ease with which suicide can be committed these days?
The redeeming factor, of course, will be some cool shots of tsunamis destroying shit and skylines crumbling from earthquakes. But I guaran-fucking-tee you there’s some much cooler disaster movie scripts filled with interesting ideas and characters sitting unproduced on Hollywood shelves. They just weren’t written by a German guy who’s delivered a string of profitable mediocrities.
Bottom line: 2012=worse than paying $11.50 to lick my own balls for two hours.
Look, I’m sorry this review is kind of incoherent. If you had sat down and read this entire script, you too would have lost the will to live.CC2K Co-Founder Robert J. Peterson invites you to support his sci-fi novel The Odds: Book One of the Deadblast Trilogy. It's a post-spocalyptic action-comedy that hearkens back to madcap movies like Big Trouble in Little China. Give it a look!
Ah, what the Christ.