Should Roland Emmerich stick to trailers? While Independence Day
, and The Day After Tomorrow
all boasted the kind of showpiece special effects work that looks terrific when utilised in a rapidly-cutting teaser, the second-rate dialogue and risible plot development regularly served up by the German-born writer-director in his movies have historically proved rather less impressive. The suggestion seems to be that Emmerich’s upcoming gargantuan-budget offering 2012
could well follow this same pattern, with the copious helpings of eye-popping crash, bang, and wallop that buoyed up early trailers for the disaster flick being undercut by equally generous helpings of silliness whenever the characters blunder into shot.
We now possess further evidence of this marriage of destruction and daftness, with a new five-minute scene from 2012
having been made available ahead of the movie’s release on 13 November. The sequence in question chronicles the frenetic efforts of John Cusack’s limo driving Curtis Jackson to round up ex-wife Kate (Amanda Peet), their two kids, and Kate’s boyfriend Gordon (Thomas McCarthy), before their native California suffers a cataclysm to make the Great Deluge look like a nasty spot of drizzle. Heavy on CGI smash-up and ludicrous close shaves, the scene first treats us to an Ah-nuld Governator impersonator dismissing the prospect of any sudden apocalypse with some dubiously mangled pronunciation (“It zeems to me zat ze vurst is o-vah”). We then watch Cusack and company narrowly evade being splatted by a toppling giant doughnut, driving their car through a floor of a rapidly-collapsing skyscraper, and getting airborne just before the whole city is swallowed up by an ever-widening chasm.
In a week in which we have been again reminded of the misery caused by genuine natural catastrophe, the continuing quest of director Emmerich to decimate the planet in increasingly extravagant manner could potentially be seen as a shade distasteful. However his movies seem to be less about disasters per se than they are about giving visual realisation to a Western fantasy of a societal comeuppance. No people seem to really suffer in an Emmerich-helmed piece of devastation - they are merely distant specks falling into painless nothingness. Instead the director revels in the expensively-mounted ruin of famous landmarks and modern metropolises, offering a fetishistic expression of the notion that the natural/ancient world is due to bite back against the arrogance of contemporary living (in the case of 2012
, the global doom and gloom comes from a Mesoamerican prophecy).
As to whether 2012
is going to be any good, well it seems likely that enjoyment levels will correlate pretty closely with how much the individual movie-goer likes their special effects bonanzas. And, from the scenes we have seen so far, the pleasure levels may be increased just a notch further if you stick your fingers in your ears during the talky bits.
Sources: Ain't It Cool