Written by Pirata Hermosa
Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is an author, a very unsuccessful author who has written only one book that sold slightly more than 400 copies. His wife, Kate (Amanda Peet), grew tired of having her husband go through life with his head buried in his laptop, so she took the two children Lilly (Morgan Lily) and Noah (Liam James) and left him.
Still not having grasped the reality of the situation, Jackson carries on oblivious to his situation and ends up driving a limousine to support himself and his writing habit. When he is late picking up his kids for a camping trip to Yellowstone National Park, he has no clue of what incredible journey he is about to begin.
Three years previous, geologist Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) brought forth some Earth-shattering news. The recent increase of solar flares has been bombarding the planet with a high concentration of Neutrino particles, and much like a microwave, those particles have been heating up the planet’s core. While this is a normal occurrence, the intensity and irregularity of the solar flares is going to heat up the core so much that the Earth’s mantle is going to liquefy, the continents will shift, and the world will be flooded.
With no other course of action, the leaders of the United Nations have enacted an emergency plan for survival centered around a hidden shipyard in China. However, this plan only incorporates the rich and the powerful while leaving the rest of the population completely in the dark about the upcoming tragedy.
When Parker arrives in Yellowstone he attempts to take his kids to one of his favorite spots. But the lake that he once knew is no longer there and rising steam and dead animal carcasses is all that remains. The U.S. government picks the three of them up and escorts them off the premises as they have declared it unstable.
Shortly afterwards he runs into crazy old Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who ends up being a conspiracy nut broadcasting over the airwaves about the upcoming catastrophe and the government cover up. At first Jackson dismisses the man, but the more he hears about his story, the more he begins to realize that he is speaking the truth.
The entire time that he is piecing things together, earthquakes have been hitting cities all around the globe. When a large crevasse opens up in L.A. and swallows his neighborhood grocery store, he realizes that he must react. Quickly chartering a plane and rushing to his wife’s home, he gathers up his family along with his wife’s new boyfriend Gordon (Tom McCarthy) and races back to the airport in the limo. During the entire trip back, the ground is disappearing behind them, gobbling up anything in sight. Buildings are crashing all around them and the ground is pitching and heaving.
Finally they reach the airstrip to find the pilot crushed by a gas pump. Thankfully, Gordon has taken a few flying lessons as he gets the plane off the ground, does a few aerial acrobatics and flies them off to Yellowstone. Jackson needs to contact Charlie because he has a map to where the government has been hiding the survival ships. For the rest of the film the family is working their way towards China by any means necessary in the hopes that somehow they will be able to get aboard and survive the apocalypse.
If you’re looking for a cerebral film, then you certainly aren’t going to enjoy this film. As a matter of fact, you need to check your brain at the door and take it for what it is. If you give too much thought about how a relatively inexperienced pilot can fly through a narrow space as buildings are crashing and falling down above him, how a man can drive a limousine through a building, or if you can really jump a motor home over a 20-foot chasm, you’ll be walking out soon after it starts.
The basic idea of a man trying to save both his family and reconcile his relationship with them at the same time has been done many times over. In fact, there really isn’t anything new about the story at all. It’s very predictable and they keep managing to escape from one preposterous situation into the next, kind of a like a never-ending chase scene where they’re being chased by natural disasters. If you had to classify it, it would be one of those mindless summertime popcorn films.
With that being said, if you can keep your mind focused on the visual aspects of the film, watching the Earth being destroyed by earthquakes and tsunamis, you can probably have a fun time. The action is continuous and it doesn’t really feel like it is 2-1/2 hours long.