Thursday, April 01, 2010

My Fondest Wish is To Die in My Sleep so If the Apocolypse is Coming Don't Wake Me or The Movie That Wouldn't End

(Author's Note: It would be tempting to assume the following review is an attempt at April Foolery. That would be a mistake. I mean every bloody word).

You know how it is. Someone plugs in a movie and you watch it because the film was chosen by the same person who made your dinner so you feel an obligation to stick around, plus there's nothing on television. "2012" was The Spouse's movie pick last night.

Here's what was good about the movie:

1) John Cusack. Because I love him and he looks dandy in a suit, even when it is covered in dust and debris. Plus he has that wry way with him that plays very nicely as an ordinary guy (author of one book who is driving limo for a living while trying to be a decent father to his children with the lovely Amanda Peet who has left him for reasons that are frankly not very clear because I'd rather be married to John Cusack than the guy who played Amanda Peet's new squeeze). And he can deliver a joke in a deadpan way, which is entirely appropriate in a story where humor would be necessary but where "ha ha, you crack me up" jokes would be completely inappropriate.

b) CGI. This is a movie that was just waiting for technology to catch up. And I have to think that coming up with the wave upon wave upon (sometimes literal) wave of disaster and then creating it on the computer was some of the most fun the film-maker ever had. Never have I witnessed so much gleeful destruction. If you like watching stuff blow up or just enjoy a good effect, this is the movie for you.

Here's what is wrong with this movie: everything else.

Cheap shot, you say? Too easy? 'K - allow me to enumerate the ways in which this movie is horrible:

1) There are entirely too many characters and they continue to be introduced for hours, effectively rendering it impossible to give any of the characters...even the arc. With a cast that large there is nothing for it but to keep everything black and white. There are good guys and bad guys and that's the way it stays. And without character arc there isn't much upon which to hang an actual story. Which is why there isn't really a story here except that the world is going to come to an end. Which you pretty much knew from the beginning.

2) What story there is and the meager attempts at plotlines are completely unbelievable. I like a good adventure movie as much as the next girl and am quite adept at the art of suspending disbelief but pul.eeze. "Independence Day" is a more believable story. "Men in Black" is more believable. Freakin' "Wizard of Oz" is more believable than this damn movie. And I don't know what is worse, the smattering of unlikely sub-plots or the very freshman-film-studies-course attempts to tie them all together.

c) If you were driving in a car and the earth's crust began to shift and everything (and I do mean everything) was breaking apart and falling down I don't care how good a driver you are - no way you are successfully navigating through a crumbling neighborhood, a crashing freeway AND falling buildings without, uh, dying.

4) No one ever, ever, ever needs to see Woody Harrelson's bum crack. No one. Ever.

5) There's no way one guy with his family, which includes 2 kids, is successfully going to out run that many:
  • ash clouds
  • newly forming canyons
  • disintegrating runways
  • molten lave smackdown thingys
  • tsunamis
  • crumbling, crashing bits
  • flocks of freaked out birds
without major emotional breakdowns and/or, uh, dying.

I mean come on now. If that were happening to my family The Spouse would be screaming at me like it was somehow my fault that the world was ending and we'd both be screaming at The Child to "GET IN THE CAR" and she'd be plugged into her computer and all "In a sec" and then the house would crush her.

6) I didn't really get the Tibet thing although it did remind me of the season of "Battlestar Galactica" when the humans colonized that planet that wasn't earth but (thanks to Baltar's cowardice) the Cylon's took over and the humans were all subjugated and Lee and Kara almost got together but then she went off and married Sam who we later learn is a Cylon and Kara is, turns out, an angel. And THAT was more believable than this movie.

7) The ark thing was a) predictable and 2) more convincing in "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow".

8) No one has cell coverage that good or batteries that last that long. Please.

412) There were efforts to address themes: the power of love, family, reconciliation, what makes a hero, the indomitable human spirit, what is required to recreate civilization (and who gets to decide who lives and dies to make that happen). But none of these notions were seriously developed. There was a pallid attempt to create tension with devices like conspiracy theory and political power grabbing but all this just hung out there on the surface, along with all the stereotypical characters who (as I mentioned previously) do not develop in any meaningful way. Each "moment" designed to offer anything in the way of profundity comes off only as a filmic sound bite. Because the point of this movie wasn't to tell a story. It exists only to entertain those who enjoy watching stuff blow up and fall apart.

And, also, this movie never frakking ends.

I've often worried that at the end of my life God will say to me, "Dude, you spent waaay too much time on like, "The Sims" when you could have been doing my work". And you know what I'll say - as CGI images of the destruction of the Sistine chapel hurl through my brain?

"Forgive me, Lord, for squandering the time you granted me but please, give me credit for saving even one person from seeing "2012". And you know what God will say? "Fair point, that," and into heaven I will go.

To sum up: "2012". Seriously. Don't.

The Czarina gives this movie 3/4 of a Koihead. Because the effects are awesome. Andbecause John Cusack is my boyfriend.



Blogger Mom opined...

I think I'll watch a couple of reruns of The Mentalist instead.

April 01, 2010 7:36 AM  
Blogger Alyssum... opined...

Thank you, I will not see it. And John Cusack is my boyfriend.

April 01, 2010 8:53 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Excellent use of your time, Mom.

You're welcome, Mols. And he's my boyfriend because I saw him first.

April 01, 2010 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

I thought I liked it, but I think you just made me change my mind.

Ultimately, I guess it held my attention, until they got to China and they lost me.

April 01, 2010 11:01 AM  
Blogger Sling opined...

'Because the point of this movie wasn't to tell a story. It exists only to entertain those who enjoy watching stuff blow up and fall apart'..WOO HOO!!
It'll be a great date movie,with my girlfriend,Jane Cusack.

April 01, 2010 12:29 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

JP, it does hold one's attention. So do vise grips.

Sling, you'll love it. Tell Jane 'hi'.

April 01, 2010 5:08 PM  
Blogger ikw opined...

you can use me as a notch on your get-into-heaven belt since you have saved me from watching this mess.

April 01, 2010 5:50 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

Did I say Jane?..I meant Joan.
No wonder she's pissed at me!

April 01, 2010 8:27 PM  
Anonymous opined...

Fine. Now I have E-Mail. Old flower children dont particularly trust these kinds of halucinogenic things but I could no longer stay anonymous. I think.

Count me as one. Was thinking about buying a used version of 2012. I wont.



April 02, 2010 9:50 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Hey, Robert! Welcome to the 21st century!

April 03, 2010 7:32 PM  
Blogger Eric opined...

You missed the point. 2012 follows the exacting Irwin Allen disaster movie paradigm.
this is a fun popcorn muncher and nothing else. dylan and I watched it on Friday and we both enjoyed it.
No it aint Pride and Prejudice
But there is nothing wrong with a couple hours of fun and excitement.

The word ios dinto btw

April 05, 2010 9:23 AM  

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