by William Goss
We are all going to die, and if Roland Emmerichís '2012' is to be believed, it wonít be with a whimper, but rather with a super-ultra-mega-bang.When aliens invaded in his Independence Day, one could feasibly hide out in the desert with Randy Quaid and the rest of the loons, or maybe find some caves and hope for the best. When the next big freeze came in The Day After Tomorrow, one simply had to suck up their pride and sneak into Mexico if they hoped to survive. But now, or should I say soon (see: the title), when the earthís crust displaces due to solar shenanigans and all manner of earthquakes, eruptions and tsunamis ensue (just as the Mayans pretty much predicted), thereís nowhere to run now, baby. Nowhere to hide.
"Itís The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Nothing)"
Well, okay, there are a few super-secret ships in the Himalayas aboard which the super-rich intend to ride things out, but hey, what are the odds of getting on one of those? What are the odds are even getting to one of those? Not too great for John Cusack and friends, apparently, as they scramble from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and right on over to China while every other chump falls to their doom in a hail of slo-mo and anonymity. (And letís face it: if youíre gonna go, thatís one cool way to do it.)
John Cusackís character canít die, because he is divorced, and one kid has bed-wetting issues while another insists on calling him by his first name. The President as played by Danny Glover? All heís got is a dead wife and a country thatís literally falling apart, so scratch him off. The conspiracy nut in Yellowstone embodied by Woody Harrelson? Heís got a handy map, but since he himself isnít a handy map and has no dysfunctional family to call his own, just hand him a red shirt and get a move on. Everyone whoís anyone has a family to fix, and thatís why John Cusack can dodge all manner of flying debris and depart from any crumbling runway in the nick of time. The rest of you? Cross your fingers for slow-motion, so that your death may be a truly glorious one, and donít worry. Even if your demise doesnít so much as register to us, it still probably wonít hurt for you. Probably.
So far as disaster movies go, 2012 ranks as the yearís second sliest parody of the genre, right after Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which didnít include tearful phone call after tearful phone call after tearful phone call and ran a good hour shorter for it. That computer-generated effort didnít tap into the zeitgeist nearly as well as this computer-generated effort, what with this ensembleís proud use of their Sony Ericsson telephones when theyíre not using their Sony Vaio laptops as the kids play with their Sony PSP gaming systems. (I couldnít tell if everyone was running toward Sony-brand arks, but they were being financed by the super-richÖ)
(That reminds me: in case of an emergency, do your best to tail the obnoxious Russians to wherever theyíre fleeing. Theyíre probably heading for whatever safest haven there is.)
(But, again, even if you have a family, if youíre not John Cusack, weíd really rather see you succumb to a massive fireball or a collapsing freeway. We paid good money to sit here and watch the world go tits up, so itís only fair. Thanks.)
BUT if you are John Cusack, youíve sure as hell got to make it for the finale, although truth be told, a climax involving the fate of a third of the surviving populace resting in the physical might of a divorced author ranks somewhere below waiting for Will Smith to upload a computer virus to an alien mothership and watching Matthew Broderick try to escape a Madison Square Garden filled with Godzilla babies on the excite-o-meter, especially when the running time is already breaking the bladder pressure gauge.Then again, these super-ultra-mega-bangs take time, but once itís over, youíll go on with your life for however long it may last. And when your time does come, and youíre hooked up to a Sony heart rate monitor, wishing that you couldíve gone out in a painless blaze of pixels instead, you can comfort yourself with the thought that - no matter how utterly spectacular or tremendously uncool your own death may ultimately be - at least the damn dog will survive.
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originally posted: 11/14/09 05:02:44