My story here is pretty long, to see a susinct version go to How it Should have Ended on Youtube and watch their version of How 2012 Should Have Ended.
So, because we live under a rock- no wait sorry, because we are parents of twins without a disposable income to pay for $8.00/piece movie tickets my husband and I don’t get out much to the theatres for treats. We save it for a rainy day, like Batman: Dark Knight or Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows (you’ve got to pick your winners). So, when 2012 came out I didn’t have an overwhelming urge to purge my hard earned dollars to see what happens when an Underdog-can’t-survive-this screen play is artificially inseminated with CGI on steroids and fertility drugs.
As it turns out my hunch wasn’t far off the mark. I tried at first to just use the movie as background noise while I leveled my archeology on World of Warcraft, but soon I realized I’d have to pay a little more attention when they started making references to tectonic activity.
What? I thought this was about the end of the world with the Myan calendar (I had REALLY not paid attention to the previews/reviews). As a wannabe Jr. Geologist I now was lured into actually turning off my precious WoW and giving the movie my attention.
Don’t get me wrong, I love disaster movies, the summer that both Volcano and Dante’s Peak came out as well as the summer that Armageddon and Deep Impact showed were good times for me. Dante’s Peak was my favorite because they used real footage and other CGI based on the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens from May 18th 1980 and I remember the eruption from when I was little. Volcano was moderately enjoyable, if for no other reason I like it any time Southern CA gets pillaged by Mother Nature. Armageddon was more comedy then possibility, though both Armageddon and Deep Impact had people going up into space (I almost said Astronauts, but saying Bruce Willis and a bunch of oil drillers are Astronauts would be an insult to the NASA program) to knock the puddin’ out of the encroaching asteroid. Deep Impact gave me the pleasure of learning and liking characters and then getting to see them struggle for life. 2012 didn’t do such a hot job with that.
So, this is my not-short list of why 2012 sucked more then most movies sucked. The primary reason that over-rides all the others of why this movie was more lame then most is because it was a MEGA-disaster movie on the same page as The Day After Tomorrow, it’s not a localized event that is happening it’s a disaster that is reaching across borders and affecting the whole world.
Now, here is the break down just off the top of my head from what I can remember watching the movie once.
1) John Cusak’s character is a writer, most ‘writers’ aren’t too sporty and they certainly aren’t stunt car drivers. John Cusak however channels Evel Knievel/Dale Earnhart Sr. in what has to be the most frantic out-run the shifting ground and collapsing building movie montage I’ve seen in a long time. Not saying Sports guys can’t write (typically for ESPN), but you don’t find cerebral social commentary writers mixing it up with red-neck car racers learning the tricks of the trade.
2) When Woody Harelson reveals the memorial of those killed to preserve the story of the ‘spaceships’ and John sees a scientist that helped him write one of his books he doesn’t pursue the line of thought on SEEING the very map that the man was supposedly murdered over. Hence the whole ‘Oops we got to fly back there and get it’ plot line.
3) John brought the kids home early, but when invited in for pancakes he can’t because he’s late for work.
4) We’re introduced then to some fat Russian twin boys who brag that they’re going to live because they have special tickets. John instantly realizes the coo-coo Woody Harlson in the woods at Yellow Stone National Park wasn’t so coo-coo after all and starts racing back to his ex-wife and children beginning the amazing drive sequence mentioned previously.
5) Speaking of over-pampered rich Russian twins… The character of the bastard Russian Millionaire is ridiculous. Clearly he’s bought tickets and told the Twins what is up who are a mere 15 years old at most. However, as we see in Los Vegas he has an older son; who is masculine enough to be a prize fighting contender at Ceasar’s Palace, which is no small deal, and that his Father thinks the world of him and his prowess and how the men in their family are fighters, can’t be kept down, rah rah- genetic marvels of manhood etc. When Rich Russian Bastard gets the text message that it’s time to get his tickets for the Arks he gets up in the middle of the fight and walks off leaving his eldest, and you’d think most worthy son to help repopulate the earth, to get punched and sprawled out on the mat. What? They couldn’t have a code word in Russian that if he shouted it the Eldest Son would know what was up and drop everything/throw the fight to hurry up and leave? No, I guess not, Daddy decided to hedge his bets with Tubbo-Twins.
6) Ok- back to John and family w/ tag along step-dad who’s needed to perpetuate the story b/c he’s had one flight simulator worth of training to take off w/out performing the full pre-flight checklist just in the nick of time. Well, really, I don’t really need to say more do I? I mean experienced pilots crash those little planes when a cross-wind hits them wrong. Forget about Boob-job Doc out flying a collapsing run-way with shit hitting the propellers.
7) ~ Sigh~ Back to Yellow Stone where the Boob-job Doc manages to land the plane. Go ahead ask anyone with a flight license how easy that is. John Cusack’s character again gets to demonstrate his phenomenal driving skills with a lumbering boat of a vehicle. Ok, so the limo drove like a boat, the stolen RV (Were the keys in it? Does John also know how to hot-wire a vehicle?) probably drives something like an Aircraft Carrier over 65 miles per hour. I actually do not have a geological problem with a mega volcano under Yellow Stone- National Geographic did a spread on what scientists think is below the surface (probably the same article the writers of the movie read).
Here’s an image showing what is lurking under Yellow Stone. The Yellow Stuff = Magma and I have the full article from National Geographic at my desk at work if anyone wants to read it.
8) I do have a problem with John out driving the pyroclastic cloud of destruction from the Mega Volcanoe’s explosion. They didn’t even try that bull-shock-a-locka in Dante’s Peak with a substantially greater head-start. They drove the truck into the mine shaft entrance. Boob-job Doc manages to take-off where AGAIN he dodges foreign objects flying through the air and gets entirely engulfed by the cloud of hot ash. (I should note here that Chris was insulted that the woman could pump the gas for the air plane. Really? Ok, whatever, he thought it wasn’t as simple as for a car- maybe, maybe not, the nozzles look the same).
9) Let’s talk turkey about the people in charge- the Government. OK, so the MOTHER of ALL CONSPIRACIES has been kept silent. That right there is laughable given our country’s inability to hide the simplest indiscretion even for the sake of personal dignity if not human decency. Again, as in the Day After Tomorrow (the title makes me think of the consequences of beer goggles) the previously predicted scientific model of a comfy couple of years to prepare has suddenly been shifted into over-drive as they only have a few days left. There is some wasted script/dialogue about Thandie Newton who plays Danny Glover’s, the President, daughter being deceived to go along with the conspiracy she has been duped and used to perpetuate the fake cover-ups. She’s a Doctor of I don’t know of what. The character who I think is also another doctor is named Alex (the dapper assassin from Serenity) who seems to be the chief science advisor and the writers have him along to bring moral/ethical humanity to the story line in direct opposition of Oliver Platt whose taking the hard-line to perpetuate the species/existence/save ourselves route.
10) Danny Glover stays behind for no real good reason. So be it, if he wants to that’s his biz. What is lame is there appears to be a large quantity of support staff including who I think was the chief administrative secretary left behind- even secret service would have been redundant at this point. I guess years of loyal service and keeping the government’s secrets doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, you’re still not getting on Marine 1/Air Force 1 for the great escape to the next life if your boss decides to stay behind.
11) Airforce 1 makes it to China, I’m not sure, but I think they’d have to even refuel given the distance. Also, I’m not sure, but if the poles were switching their magnetism what the hell are they navigating with? Maybe I’m being stupid here, but everything used to calculate location was going to crap; does your GPS still tell you where you’re at if the magnetism of the Earth goes all wonky and at this point in the movie the tectonic plates are supposedly sliding around worse then hot bacon on a skillet? I’m pretty sure that superior sounding British tart of a voice-box would be constantly saying “Recalculating Route” over and over again as she tried to find her ass with both hands.
12) Upon landing and walking up to the ‘Arks’ Alex takes a few more jabs at Oliver Platt who at this point so far has maintained alpha dog status. Oliver tells him if he doesn’t like how it’s going hand over his ticket to one of the huddled masses. Basically telling the guy ‘put up or shut up’ and Alex goes with ‘Shut Up’ and walks on the boat. Besides, he’s checking out Thandie Newton and thinking how he’s going to be making a whole mess of beautiful babies with her and he doesn’t want to get left out in the watery cold if that train comes into the station. He talks a noble game and has soulful eyes, but in the end his jockstrap/survival instincts kick in. Thandie after verbally siding with Alex also doesn’t give up her ticket and gives him a look of sympathy- of what, I’m not sure and she too trudges on the boat.
13) Back to our intrepid group; John, Boob-job Doc, Rich Russian Bastard, Blonde Boob-Trophy Hooker (living out a hellish version of Pretty Woman with the Rich Russian Bastard), Exwife, Child 1 and Child 2, and the Tubbo-Twins along with Ceasar the party-mix Pekinese have crash landed in the Himalyan Mountains- unexpectedly because of the major continental shift (Bacon on a Hot Skillet, remember) Really Sexy Russian Male named Sasha dies. He and Blonde Hooker had a not-so-secret love affair going on under the nose of RRB. They kill him off after he stays behind to crash the plane safely. Wait what? Really? Why did he have to stay where he was to crash the plane, why couldn’t he get in the car with them they obviously weren’t steering the plane and the breaks sure as hell aren’t working. Also, since when do a car’s headlights come on after being in an accident when previously in the off position and no key in the ignition? We see from one of the over-head shots that several cars besides the Bentley they’re in have their headlights on- conveniently to make it easier for the incoming Chinese to spot them.
14) The Chinese are air lifting LARGE, easily recognizable African animals. I saw a Giraffe, and I’m pretty sure a Rhino and an Elephant. What I didn’t see was 2 of everything, anyone pay attention to why Noah did that? The writers and CGI guys were in cahoots I think and must have done this because they needed big animals that a universal movie theatre audiences could recognize and animals that the little people on the ground could look up and recognize and say to themselves “Whelp, looks like they’re loading up animals to save them from the flood, guess we happened to crash in the right place. Lucky us. Too bad for that Sasha guy though.” You couldn’t have dangled animals in large safety containers with itsy bitsy labels saying “Fragile” “Don’t block holes, Live Animal” and “Rare Gallapagos Sparrow” or some such thing. That would have been absurd.
15) As hell is breaking loose faster and faster around the globe we now see a bunch of no-name-non-developed characters get killed off that we have no emotional investment in. Ooooh, the humanity! But, oh-well, I don’t know what those people were like or who they were so too bad so sad. The old and the young alike have now been gobbled up by giant trenches of death and tsunamis that toss Aircraft carriers like toy boats in a bath tub. Was it cruel irony that the John F. Kennedy Aircraft Carrier is the one to smash on top of the White House from the giant wave? I’ll let you decide.
16) Ok- many have died, Ark 3 isn’t going to make the accelerated time-line due to a damaged roof from one of the quakes, which appears from what I can see the Ark reserved for all the rich civilians who have paid to be saved. Irony again? Sure, why not. Meanwhile the Justice League of Lucky Shits has managed to get on board the United States Ark. We get to see Hooker get her little doggie Caesar back and flip the bird to Rich Russian Bastard and his Tubbo-Twins after they left her for dead in the mountains with the others. Our brief elation of her getting on the boat is quickly smothered when she is killed off moments later when she’s trapped in an automatic sealing bulk head designed to stop the flooding/sinking of the boat. Huh? Wait… supposed to STOP the flooding, yet she drowns gasping for breath and clinging to the grate while the aforementioned flying Giraffe screeches about his feeties getting wet. Don’t worry, the doggie Ceasar lives, those writers aren’t a bunch of heartless bastards.
17) The climax is approaching so events and stupidity really start moving fast. John’s team accidentally jams the hydraulic door that needs to shut in order to start the engine- why? I don’t know, the door isn’t anywhere near the engine room. They are now finally spotted on one of the numerous hidden cameras. Alex, the scientist- NOT mechanic, and Thandie Newton the – not anything but hot ass character, race down with a no-name crewman to solve the problem. Apparently anyone with actual technical skill is busy now trying to calm the hordes of people who Alex convinced all the heads of state over Oliver Platt’s objections to allow to rush the boat in a panic. Ok, Oliver’s character was all about keeping his eye on the big picture. I get it. Alex is all about the humanity of leaving those to die. It’s both rather stupid because there should have been a) plenty of food stored on those ships to start with. Loading enough food for all the chosen humans and animals should have been the first priority not the decoration of rooms with stark and impersonal lighting fixtures, and b) plenty of room. Because of the extreme rush to get to the Himalayas, which the journey would have been fraught for all those trying to get there, the American delegation had already lost several members; I would THINK that both the ranks of the rich civilians and those of other National Delegations would have been thinned by attrition. They could have accommodated the Ark 3’s population if they had taken the time when they first found out that Ark 3 wasn’t going to be used to just start herding the groups into the direction of the other ships in an orderly fashion. Crisis averted.
18) The above mentioned useless scientists who run to look at the non-working hydraulic door are made even more useless by the now closed bulk heads that blocks them from accessing the hydraulic area. John and Son save the day and everyone cheers. I’m sure they are cheering because their own butts got saved, but they work it into the movie like they’re cheering John and Son for being heroes, when really, if they’d not snuck on in the first place the hydraulics never would have been jammed and there, again, would not have been a crisis.
19) Snore- Thandie and Alex make googlie eyes and kiss.
20) Rolly-polly-comic relief looking scientists calls Alex to the bridge to excitedly declare that the new Top of the World is no longer the Hymalays, but a series of mountains in Sothern Africa, which I guess since the poles have switched is really now Northern Africa. Meanwhile earlier in the movie we learned that the new South Pole is like in Wisconsin or some such thing. So not only did the poles flip the Axis went way the frick off to the side (more than it is currently). The captain, who is uber-creepy looking, lamely suggests that’s why they call the area the Cape of Good Hope. So they group up w/ two other Arks and make plans to head there.
21) This is a problem. Why? As noted the poles have flipped, and been moved A LOT. K, so if Wisconsin is the New South Pole I’m pretty sure that prior-South Africa is going to be pretty darn chilly now too if it is the new ‘top’ of the world and due to the ‘shift’ of plates. Also, has anyone noticed in the news that Africa has some social angst going on, not exactly filled with snuggly, pillow sized wild animals, and they also have some viral epidemics with now a very dwindled supply of drugs, some economic problems and I think there are a few areas suffering from famine (which is about to be made worse since the sun will be blotted out from all the volcanic ash circling the planet). Granted it’s a BIG continent so I’m sure there’s a small corner of it that no one is using currently that a bunch of foreigners/illegal immigrants could land their big boats and make home.
I found this blog on a quick internet search that outlines areas that have issued warnings about travel that includes a map.
22) Lastly- whose bright idea was it to say ‘Africa was barely affected by the shifting and the tsunamis didn’t penetrate as far inland.’ Everyone’s happy and sets course despite some pretty major hurdles ready to meet them. Clearly the screenwriters made a small attempt to look up on Wikipedia the idea of polar shifts and that other drivel about plate tectonics etc. WHAT makes NO sense on any sort of geological hypothetical plane of existence is WHY would you say Africa was some sort of raft of serenity on these turbulent extra hot magma mantle? The place is rife with volcanic activity, none the least of which is the very large, very sinking East African Continental Rift Valley and to the North of that valley the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are also Rift Valleys that have been filled in with water. Oh, and Mount Kilamanjaro is right there in the Rift Valley on the border of Tanzania and about 260 miles SE of Lake Victoria. The volcano is the tallest mountain in Africa and is dormant by our standards today having the last major eruption not within recorded human history. Sure, The African Plate just said, “Meh, I’ll let all the other Massive plates own this one.” NO, it couldn’t even if it wanted to pout on the sidelines, if you are going to claim that the plates shift they ALL have to shift. They’re bumper cars on the sea of magma that is breaking up and rocking everywhere. Even if the Atlantic plate hadn’t spanked the West coast of Africa in the chain reaction of the North American plate doing it’s acrobatics on the other side of the ocean when the Euro/Asian plate made it’s shift (remember Tibet/China suddenly was where ocean was supposed to be and they crash landed in the mountains instead of the water) Africa would have had to move, and it would have been splitting/rifting/erupting just like everywhere else.
Hope you all enjoyed my ramblings. If you want funnier/better ramblings head to the link below. Alternate perspective on Carl (aka. Oliver Platt) from 2012 from Cracked.com