$8 money shot

More disaster porn from Rolland Emmerich

Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG-13.
Rated 2.0

As most folks know by now, Dec. 21 of 2012 is ticking down to be a really big show. On that day, the antediluvian Mayan calendar stops dead in its tracks. No one really knows why it does, so a lot of people are of differing minds as to what it means. Some say that the course of human events takes a change for the better, others say the worse. Maybe the Mayan civilization was too busy collapsing to think that far ahead.

The burning question at this point though is, does 2012 the movie deliver? Does director Roland “The Day After Tomorrow” Emmerich put on a really big show? Well, sorta. The film is often big and noisy, but it’s more often bloated and dumb as a rock. One doesn’t expect disaster porn to do anything except stimulate the lizard brain, so mileage may vary as to whether 2012 serves its audience.

Here we follow the disaster-movie template set by Irwin “The Poseidon Adventure” Allen, as a bunch of disparate characters are thrown together as the world ass-over-teakettles on them. John Cusack is our hero, a failed novelist who uses the chaos to hook back up with his ex and figure out how to stop his daughter from wetting the bed. (I don’t know about other disaster-porn aficionados, but when indulging I’m not all that interested in some kid’s bladder problems.)

As it is, the flick is 20 minutes of CGI jockys ending the world as we know it and two-plus extra hours of bad melodrama. Buttloads of tone-deaf dialogue you can mutter a second before the actors are forced to spit it out. Emmerich samples from the choice cuts of every disaster movie ever made (and more than a few best-of moments from his own oeuvre).

It’s another one of those flicks that if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen the movie, short the boring bits that stitch the money shots together. While admittedly the CGI of Hollywood finally doing what the rest of America has been wishing it’d do for decades—dropping into the Pacific—does rock the house, one has to sit through a very bad movie to get there.