The sky is falling! Oh, that was Meteor. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s – aliens? Independence Day. No, in 2012 there’s no meteor shower, space ships, or drilling on the moon. This time, there are tsunami’s, earthquakes, and planet alignment. In 2012, this year’s The World is Ending movie, the Earth’s core is heating up, baking the earth from the inside out like a microwave, causing the Earth’s crust to shift (I guess I shouldn’t be complaining so much about cinema verite in law films – scientists definitely have a bone to pick with this movie), the Washington Monument to crumble, and Yellowstone National Park to turn into a bubbling, exploding volcano. Scrambling car escape? Check. Nearly missed by a flying train while escaping in a biplane? Check. National monument wreckage – of course. All of the classic disaster elements are there – sigh, the Earth is ending again.
The only reason this movie worked at all for me is John Cusack, playing a science fiction writer who “gets it.” I liked him, I liked his family, and I wanted them to live. Of course, since he’s a writer who “gets it,” he wasn’t “there” for his family, who leave him, and move in with mom’s new boyfriend, the likable, but not cool Gordon, a doctor who happens to be taking flying lessons. At the end of the movie, you know that both John and Gordon can’t both survive, because the family could not be reunited with likable guy Gordon in the way. I also liked the dog, a pretty ugly dog, but a dog nonetheless, and I was happy that the dog managed to live as well.
The movie has a lot impassioned speeches from the President, and his scientific advisor – the moral centers of the film. They talk like we would want politicians to talk – admitting wrong, taking the blame, “owning it,” and in the end, doing the right thing – more of a fantasy than the earth ending I suppose. Civilization be damned – we are going to do the right thing! And of course, it all comes down to John Cusack saving the day – but first, he has to reunite with his estranged wife – and there’s a long kissy cooey scene where the seconds are ticking away, and he’s supposed to be saving the world.
The movie is long – really really long – and editing out the romance would have been a nice way to speed things up a bit. I guess the producers thought that the marriage between Indpendence Day and Titanic would sell more tickets to women – I don’t know why movie folks think that to get women to go to the movies there had better be a romance with a satisfying ending. I don’t know – maybe they’re right – but this woman just wants to go to a good movie.