2012 is a 2009 American drama sci-fi disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich. It was produced by Harald Kloser, Mark Gordon, and Larry J. Franco, and written by Kloser and Emmerich. The film was released on November 13, 2009.
In the year 2012, the billions of inhabitants are unaware that the planet of Earth has an expiration date on December 21, 2012. With the warnings of an American scientist, world leaders begin secret preparations for the survival of select members of society. When the global cataclysm finally occurs, failed writer Jackson Curtis tries to lead his family to safety as the world starts falling apart.
Why It Sucks
- The main problem with this movie is that it has no real reason to exist, and the film is based on the 2012 phenomenon based on the Mayan calender, which ended up being completely outdated and false after December 21 of that year.
- It is pretty much another generic and forgettable disaster film that cares more about the over-the-top action sequences and visual effects rather than the story, plot, or any character growth or development.
- The film tries so hard to be fun and exciting, but ends up being rather dull and exhausting.
- There is absolutely no logic in the movie. Notably, the family is able to survive underwater in the ark for over three minutes, despite the fact that the average human being is only able to survive underwater for only three minutes without dying due to a lack of oxygen.
- There are also several moments in the movie that break the laws of physics.
- The film also has a lot of extremely exaggerated and outlandishly unrealistic geographical and geological errors that are nonsensical. One good example is how the climax shows a mega-tsunami flooding the Himalayas, and after the waters recede, the Drakensberg mountains are now the tallest mountain range in the world, when in reality, the Earth could run out of water if that occurs, and the tsunami could easily flood the Drakensberg mountains as well.
- The film only involves the family was trying to find a way to escape the end of the world in December 2012, but after the climax, the rest of the movie boils down to into more than two hours of filler, in which barely anything is going on throughout the movie, at all.
- Several internal inconsistencies and contradictions, including:
- An officer says that all communications from the Earth have stopped. Later, Dr. Satnam Tsurutani is able to call Dr. Helmsley to tell him about the tsunami.
- After the Ark 4 engines start, clouds of soot emit from the exhaust stacks, indicating the engines are diesel-powered. Requiring a ship designed to survive an apocalyptic flood, with no set duration to how long it may be at sea, to rely on such a limited consumable as diesel fuel would be an incredibly poor design choice.
- Jackson removes the strap holding the Bentley's front tire in place, but he never removes the strap from the back tire. It's still in place when Gordon gets in the car. How were they able to leave?
- Much is made of the engines being non-functional while a door is open, with no explanation even suggested why the vessel would have been designed or built that way. In fact, it would require engine power to repeatedly close & open the doors, as well as powering all the electronic & hydraulic systems shown. It is eventually shown to be underway with every door open.
- While escaping Los Angeles, Gordon is reluctant to pilot the plane (a twin-engine Cessna 340), stating he's only had "a couple of lessons", even though almost immediately afterward he is shown executing advanced maneuvers and nearly flawless landings, even somehow navigating to Las Vegas. Multi-engine aircraft are much more complex than single engine, which is why beginner pilots are almost invariably start their training on single engine aircraft. Even if Gordon had been receiving training in a multi-engine aircraft, a "couple of lessons" would not begin to account for the skills displayed in the movie.
- When the film first shows Yuri, Tamara, Sasha and the boys in Vegas, their plane is on a hoist and Sasha shakes his head at Yuri, indicating his private plane isn't going to be able to fly (it's never revealed what happened to it, presumably a bumpy landing screwed up the landing gear). Then, while they're in the terminal, Sasha hurries in and says he's found an Antonov that was just about to take off but the tower wouldn't let them. So the Antonov isn't Yuri's plane, but the cars in the hold apparently are -- the Bentley's programmed to start at his voice command.
- The characters are so flat and cardboard, with it shows no likability or progression to be seen throughout the entire film.
- There are multiple filler moments throughout that could easily be removed without affecting the nonexistent plot.
- Mediocre acting, even from actors such as John Cusack, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson.
- A rather poorly-written script that sounds like it was written by someone who watched way too many disaster films.
- There are forty-five minutes of useless subplots that only exist just for filler.
- How come the family was able to escape every single disaster that was happening more than Indiana Jones ever did? While everyone else is screaming and dying, the family is running away safely.
- The film takes place on December 21, 2012, almost around the time of Christmas, but for a strange reason, there are no Christmas decorations, snow in the Yellowstone park, etc., which makes no sense.
- Multiple bland and clichéd lines throughout the whole movie. In fact, it's one of the most cringe-worthy parts of the film.
- This film is insulting to other nations. Even though plenty of presidents in the United States of America have been creeps, not all of them have been, and the characters can accept a heroic president in this movie. But, it is insulting to have other world leaders follow him blindly, and have him behave so nobly, going down with his country, while then portraying the Queen of England as one of the loathsome billionaires buying her way out, considering that the Queen Mum made a point of staying in London during the blitz.
- Tons of product placement such as Froot Loops, All-Bran, Rice Krispies, Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran, Crunch, and Randy's Donuts, as well as Chevron logos during the store scene.
- Plot Hole: How was the family eventually rescued from the emergency flood control barriers? It never bothered to show footage for that one part.
- Even though this film is set in December 21, 2012, there are a lot of things that are shown that were in 2009, making it an anachronism.
- Epic and fantastic soundtrack that was performed by Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander, especially "The End is Only the Beginning".
- The credits songs "Time For Miracles" by Adam Lambert and "Faded like a Photograph" by Filter are also actually pretty nice.
- The visual effects are very great, even for 2009 standards.
- Its dark tone is surprisingly handled pretty well.
- Some action scenes, such as the "Earthquake destroys L.A" scene, are intense and pretty good.
The film received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, with praise for its visuals effects, but criticism of its screenplay and runtime. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holding a 39% critic rating and 47% audience score, based on 244 reviews and an average rating of 5.02/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Roland Emmerich's 2012 provides plenty of visual thrills but lacks a strong enough script to support its massive scope and inflated length." On IMDb it had a 5.8/10, and a 49/100 on Metacritic, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
2012 grossed $166.1 million in North America and $603.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $769.7 million against a production budget of $200 million, making it the first film to gross over $700 million worldwide without crossing $200 million domestically. Worldwide, it was the fifth-highest-grossing 2009 film and the fifth-highest-grossing film distributed by Sony-Columbia, (behind Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and Skyfall).
In 2020, nearly eleven years after the movie was released, it gained renewed interest during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming the second-most popular film and seventh-most popular overall title on Netflix in March 2020.
- The movie was reportedly banned in North Korea. The year depicted in the movie was the 100th anniversary of the birth of their nation's founder, Kim Il-sung; any film depicting the year negatively would be deemed offensive by the North Korean government. Several people in North Korea were reportedly arrested for possessing (or viewing) imported copies of 2012 and charged with "grave provocation against the development of the state".
- This film was going to have a sequel/spin-off TV series titled 2013 set to air on ABC. It would've been about the survivors of the supposed 2012 disaster in the film and how they will build a new world and what will it look like. However, the series was scrapped due to budgetary reasons.