Too much bang for your buck

The de­struc­tion is fun at first, but the end of the world takes for­ever in writes Don­ald Clarke

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

YOU’D THINK that the end of the earth might be the sort of theme to­wards which a film-maker would grad­u­ally, cau­tiously work his way. Af­ter a life­time mak­ing sen­si­tive, hu­mane films, Boris Von Me­ga­phone might even­tu­ally feel able to flood Africa and send earth­quakes rat­tling through the Rhineland.

Not Roland Em­merich. Fol­low­ing on from The Day Af­ter To­mor­row, this quite ex­traor­di­nary film marks the sec­ond time in five years that the Ger­man has laid waste to our poor wee planet. If you in­clude In­de­pen­dence Day, then he’s an­ni­hi­lated the world three times in 13 years.

You’ve got to hand it to Roland. Not only does he keep harp­ing back to the apoca­lypse, he does so with a shame­less de­vo­tion to the ob­vi­ous that be­lies a stag­ger­ing de­gree of chutz­pah.

Un­in­ten­tion­ally nod­ding to­wards Team Amer­ica: World Po­lice, 2012 in­hab­its (for a while) a world where ev­ery build­ing in Paris of­fers a view of the Eif­fel Tower, ev­ery win­dow in Lon­don over­looks Big Ben, and the Wash­ing­ton memo­rial el­bows its pointy way into ev­ery vista of the US cap­i­tal.

Later, when moun­tains fall and sky­scrapers im­plode, the ubiq­uity of the Sony Cor­po­ra­tion’s phones, com­put­ers and hand-held games con­tin­ues un­in­ter­rupted. When the Em­pire State Build­ing fi­nally be­gins to top­ple, a Sony Vaio may, you sus­pect, be all you need to pro­tect your del­i­cate skull. (Do we need to say which stu­dio pro­duced 2012?) What a brass neck this man has.

Okay, but 2012 must, I hear you say, be good fun. It’s hard to watch LA fall­ing into the sea without crack­ing the slight­est of smiles. Well, up to a point. If you re­moved all the hooey about “Earth Crust Dis­place­ment” and all the bor­ing stuff in­volv­ing John Cu­sack and his es­tranged wife, then you’d be left with about an hour of good-old knock­about com­puter-gen­er­ated catas­tro­phe.

Sadly 2012 stretches out to a mind-bog­gling 158 min­utes and, by its ab­surdly pro­tracted de­noue­ment, the end of the world would seem a blessed re­lief.

Like a 1970s dis­as­ter flick: Thandie New­ton (left) and Chi­we­tel Ejio­for let loose in 2012

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