Summary: It turns out the Mayans running out of room on the rock they carved their calendar into happened to correspond with all of the planets lining up and solar flares that heat up the Earth’s core so much that every continent is violently moved. We follow a novelist (played by John Cusack) and his family as he gets into and out of one improbable situation after another on his way to safety.
Thoughts: I found this movie to be very conflicting. On one hand, it seems to want you to enjoy the destruction of all of the houses, roads, skyscrapers, runways, and land masses, but then seconds later expects you to care about the random character they threw in the middle of it (even if the rest of the characters don’t seem to mind either). All of the trailers show only the destruction, making you think that Roland Emmerich (director of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow) had finally realized that people only watch his movies for the destruction and not the forced human/dog element (there’s always a dog). However, a surprising amount of this movie is spent in dark rooms talking about what to do/not do. Sure, its nice to have a plot, I’m just not sure that much was necessary for a movie with this level of expectation.
Characters seem paper-thin. Everyone fills their cliched role and no more (obsessed writer, obsessed scientist, sad president, evil politician, rich Russian, crazy person). The effects weren’t that impressive either. Sure, it was thrilling to see California tip into the Pacific and Yellowstone explode with the power of thousands of nukes (everyone outruns it, of course. At least everyone important), but the effects were off just enough to make everything look a little plastic.
I can’t say it wasn’t without enjoyment. I did find myself on the edge of my seat a few times and the theater experience definitely added to that.
So I’m conflicted. On one hand, I enjoyed the action (even if we did see a great deal of it in the trailers), on the other, I was bored when things weren’t exploding. A fault of my MTV-generation thought process, my expectation from the trailers, or the fact that the movie was actually boring? I can’t be sure. All I know is though I wouldn’t watch it again, it was a fun ride.
Overall: Cliches abound, but its fun to see.