There's a Mayan prophesy (or some similar jazz) that foretells the end of the world in the year 2012. That coupled with the discovery of Earth's core melting and doing all sorts of nasty things to us folks on the top side within a finite time frame lead to various governments taking steps to handle the situation.
Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is a struggling writer who supplements his income by running a limo service for the rich. On a camping trip with his kids in Yellow Stone Park, he bumps into Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who tells him doomsday is upon them and the U.S government knows about it but obviously is not revealinng this to the people. Charlie broadcasts all of this and more over his conspiracy theory radio show. Once Jackson gets back to the city, there are more and more incidents which occur that lead him to believe what Charlie told him about the upcoming doomsday.
Anyway to cut a long story (at almost 180 mins long) short, Jackson, his kids and his ex-wife played by Amanda Peet (I love you... Marry me!) and her new boyfriend escape via plane to China where they manage to sneak onboard an Ark. These vessels (which was the master plan btw) were created for various governments around the world to help save 400,000 people who'd then help rebuild Earth so to speak.
Major disasters pepper the entire length of the movie at the end of which the Earth does get fucked and the people on-board the Arks survive.
Roland Emmerich, the director, is also the man behind biggies like Godzilla, Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. Now I liked the last two (having seen Godzilla only in bits and peices) especially I Day. The problem with the disaster genre is that there's only so much you can do. Boom, Bang, Crash! Admittedly Emmerich did well in the FX department which really has been the hallmark of most of his movies. But at the end of the day merely FX is not good enough. Sam made an interesting point about I Day. He said the reason why I Day did so well was that besides the FX, the human element really worked in that movie. Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum really were two characters which made that movie totally fun to watch. In 2012 however most of that interplay between characters in missing and when they did try some, it kinda fell flat on its face. All in all this movie is worth a watch if you liked Day After Tomorrow which again suffered from the same problem. Great effects but not enough drama.
John Cusack did alright as the geek author though methinks he probably went into this project wanting to do something different. The scientist played by Chiwetel Ejiofor was sincere and convincing although that last scene with him pleading with the other heads of state seemed too cliched. Woody Harrelson as the cooky Charlie Frost was good for a few giggles. The rest of the cast were ho hum going about the usual disaster movie scenes spouting the usual dialogues.
Good to see Danny Glover after a while on the big screen. I don't know if it was just me but there was atleast 5 instances in the movie where he could have said, "I'm too old for this shit..."
Roland - I'm free for dialogue consultation on your next.
PISS OFF ELEMENT:-
It has to be the atrocious accent of Jimi Mistry playing the part of the Indian astro-physicist. Yes, we Indians have an accent (and by God I am trying to eradicate the worst parts of mine) but fuck! he sounded like Apu on steroids.
The visual effects were the high point of the film for sure. It might have started to getting boring at some points but there's no denying the FX team credit for a job well done.
Also the chick who played Jimi Mistry's wife, Agamdeep something... cute!
**.5 - Will give this one 2.5/5 and at the same time tell you it is a watch for the big screen.