As I waited for it to begin, I thought up analogies for the self-inflicted torture I was about to endure: a midnight Thursday screening of 2012, the 160-minute Roland Emmerich movie about the end of the world. The best I could come up with was a baseball reporter taking a Mariano Rivera fastball to the face.
Undoubtedly, the predictably bombastic 2012 leaves viewers feeling similarly concussed, although Emmerich’s apocalypse is probably best viewed through bleary eyes.
Of course, I wasn’t out past my bedtime just for the lousy movie; I’ve been curious about these 12:01 a.m. screenings. Studios build buzz for tent-pole blockbusters by debuting them at midnight on opening day, presumably to crowds of annoying, costumed fanboys.
However, the Arden Fair mall audience was a pleasant group of about 50, none of them dressed as the crumbling Vatican or a Mayan calendar. They weren’t even midnight-movie chatty, and regarded Woody Harrelson’s turn as a pickle-chomping naturist with appropriate reverence.
As for 2012, you get what you pay for, although the same could be said for suppositories. Emmerich introduces seven pointless story lines before the opening credits and, yes, you’ve seen all the best parts of the apocalypse in the previews.
2012 is ideally filtered through a deliriously sleep-deprived mind, which is why I laughed uproariously at “sensitive scientist” Chiwetel Ejiofor’s impassioned line, “The curator of the Louvre was a threat to humanity?!” Keep in mind that it was past 2 a.m., and I was coasting on Cherry Coke fumes.
The banal, “sympathetic” survivors in 2012 don’t offer much hope for humanity. As one viewer leaving the theater at 2:45 a.m. said, “The effects were good, but the story …”
He trailed off. There aren’t words for it, not even in Mayan.