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2012 looks like the Playboy of disaster porn, the Debbie Does Dallas of destruction. Roland Emmerich will (hopefully) put himself out of a job after this because there will literally be nothing left to destroy. Either way, it’s not too late for someone to stop this man, if people pass on his film this time.
The scene, which you can see below, features just about every disaster movie convention and cliche stuffed into five minutes: as Los Angeles sinks into the sea, one family careens close to death, destruction directly behind, chaos ahead, all perfectly choreographed, and an escape from the city that looks conspicuously like something out of The Langoliers, as they watch the final moments of destruction from high in the air. The worst Arnold impersonator ever says, “The worst is over,” when it never is (at least the film is self-conscious enough to make fun of this convention).
I think that I’d rather live through the apocalypse than watch this film, though I admit that some people may enjoy the special effects. But in that case, they might as well show two hours of destruction. The human elements look about as tension-deprived and predictable as any other Emmerich film. Characters are simple plug-ins. Special effects betray the worst kind of competence: beautiful and staggering images in perpetuity that are hollow beneath. Actually, I don’t even know if that’s true. The effects themselves betray standard conventions. And I liked Independence Day because back then the fluff was kind of cute. Now it’s fat and repulsive and you just want it to move out of the house. But perhaps I’m just excoriating it in the worst way. Judge for yourself: