Crazy sci-fi flick from Ronald Emmerich Discuss this article

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If the hysterical trailers for 2012 (wherein a tsunami crushes the White House and Rio de Janeiro’s Cristo Redentor crumbles into nothingness) remind you of pretty much every Hollywood disaster movie since Independence Day, there’s a very good reason: writer, director and producer Ronald Emmerich is responsible for both that and The Day After Tomorrow. Of course the main point of these movies – however milked – is the morbid thrill of watching mankind’s major landmarks swept from the map by natural forces far more powerful than ourselves: violent floods, roaring tornadoes and the like. And from the trailer, 2012 looks to deliver on this in spades: this time it’s not just the US that’s imploding, as Emmerich leaves no wonder of the world untouched (even the Vatican is in for a pummeling).

But while this relentless visual onslaught is likely to satisfy, we can’t help but wonder if there’s any promise of an even bigger cinematic treat: a plot. Independence Day set the bar for blowing cities to smithereens on-screen, and since then the repetition in these sorts of films hasn’t lain exclusively with the special effects, but the characters, too. There’s always a heroic Quaid (Randy in Independence Day, Dennis in The Day After…), good-looking two dimensional young ’uns, an all-American family in peril led by an impossibly brave and noble patriarch, and you can bet there’s some dog/cat/hamster that someone risks life and limb to rescue. (A great argument for never, ever investing in a pet. It always makes the apocalypse that more complicated). Might there be more to 2012? Will it really be any different to what we’ve all seen before?

Despite a cast of likeable stars – John Cusack, Woody Harrelson – we doubt it. As the world’s end as foretold in the ancient Mayan calendar begins, a band of familiars (a father and his estranged family; a nobody who knew this was going to happen all along but no one would listen… although there’s no Quaids this time) race to board giant arks built to preserve life beyond Earth’s destruction. No, it’s probably no different from all the others – but we quite enjoyed them anyway, so we’ll do as we did before: switch the brain to auto pilot and open them eyes up wide.

By Laura Chubb
Time Out Doha,


  • Duration: 158
  • Released: Thu, 12 Nov
  • Classification: PG15
  • Language: English
  • Website
  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Stars: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Thomas McCarthy, Woody Harrelson, Chin Han

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