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TV & Video Review: ‘2012’ (DVD)

Near escapes is what this movie is made of, but the film itself is not going to subtract from your life expectancy as long as you know to expect a cool look with minimal story.

Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is a published writer with a failed marriage and two pre-teen kids. Dr. Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a geologist that discovers in 2009 the Earth’s crust is heating at an alarming rate. Charlie (Woody Harrelson) is a conspiracy theorist with a pirate radio show. It is the crossing of these characters’ paths that put the story events in motion. In 2012, the world as we know it is destroyed by massive natural disasters and the only hope of survival is a set of arks built in secret by the G8 governments.

The concept of an apocalypse in 2012 is becoming more prevalent as the year grows increasingly nearer. After we survived Y2K, the next countdown to the end began. According to ancient Mayan calendars, a rare aligning of the planets will mark the end of days December 21, 2012.

This movie is definitely king of all disaster movies as it features stunning representations of various fatal acts of nature. It’s captivating to watch as California falls out from beneath everyone’s feet, while the characters escape in a manner ideal for a 3-D motion ride. However, as the disasters continue to fill the screen they begin to lose impact.

The trailer did not do the film credit in regards to the calibre of actors involved, only featuring Cusack and the special effects. In addition to those mentioned, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet and Stephen McHattie are among the cast. And while there are many tearful moments, they all avoid the temptation to overact.

The film anchors itself in contemporary times with an assassination in the same tunnel Princess Diana perished; a speech by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; and the unveiling of the new Bentley. The final destination of the new civilization is an interesting choice, but the realism in needing to plan to begin again on Earth and not space is welcome. On the other hand, humanity’s dark side is exposed with the price of tickets for a place on the ark and the accommodations provided.

2012 will not disappoint the disaster movie enthusiast as it really does have it all and director and co-writer Roland Emmerich once again proves he can manipulate our world like no other.

Special features include: commentary with Emmerich and co-writer Harald Kloser; deleted scenes and an alternate ending; “Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic”; and the music video for “Time for Miracles” by Adam Lambert.

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