Roland Emmerich has quite the destructive pedigree under his belt. He beat up the planet with aliens in Independence Day. He took a few shots at New York City in Godzilla (1998). He then fired his warning shots across the bow of the planet with The Day After Tomorrow. I guess he felt a little bad, as Emmerich took us back in time for a rebuilding of sorts in 10,000 BC. Now he gives us his definitive attack on planet Earth with 2012. Believe me, no one is safe, least of all the audience.
Emmerich is one of those directors who can do a lot of things well. Unfortunately, there are an equal number of things that he does not do so well. He is a very similar filmmaker to Michael Bay. Both of these men know how to craft an over-the-top spectacle that will wow the eyes and dull the brain. Therein lies the problem with many of his films. While the effects are always first rate, while the visual splendor is more than enough to draw you in, his ability to craft characters and create compelling stories falls flat.
Can I be considered a fan? Sure, I guess so. Like a lot of people, I can be a sucker for a cool scene or a wild ride. However, I also like a little substance to go along with it. In the case of 2012, as destruction-laden as it is, it lacks that emotional core required to bring me along for the ride. Well, alright, it was able to keep my attention for the entire, if slightly bloated, ride but it could not make me care for the people.
2012 is based on a mash-up of Mayan science and Western cultural interpretations. The current Mayan calendar cycle is set to end on the equivalent of December 12, 2012. Many people believe that predicts an apocalypse of sorts, the end of the world as we know it. In fact, it is merely the end of a calendar cycle. Yes, there is other information that could lead to a variety of interpretations, but what it ultimately comes down to is a some real world information being twisted into one possibility and fictionally dosed into a film whose primary ambition is to entertain. Way to take the intelligence of others and dumb down for the sake of a movie.