This movie exhausted me in every way possible excepting those with a positive connotation. Granted, there's more destruction in this then all of Emmerich's previous disaster movies put together, and the visuals are impressive with even the odd moment of morbid beauty, with nature at its most fierce. The landmark bashing feels a little familiar at this point though, so maybe skipping that next time might be a good idea, Roland. But as far as everything else that doesn't involve Super-Volcanoes or 1500 foot Tidal Waves, it sucks across the board.
The film is about the world being destroyed, sure, but its really about John Cusack's family surviving. See if they survive then its OK that this movie killed literally billions of people on screen. Its some weak pro-nuclear family propaganda, and one just has to look at this movies treatment of the family interloper, who nice guy or not, must suffer for having the gall to break up the cereal box American family. If I ever had any kind words to say about John Cusack, they are vanishing from my mind with a hastened speed, because if there is a bigger paycheck driven in anything else all year I'd be surprised. Cusack has almost a permanent look of disinterest and almost an undertone of depression, like he was fully aware that this was bollocks as he was doing it. Which makes him worse then no marks like Amanda Peet or Danny Glover, because they're in this movie because their career gives them no other option. Cusack chose this, and more importantly didn't even try to be good in it, so screw him.
Chiwitel Ejiofor does slightly better, in what for the most part is a highly sanctimonious role, but Ejiofor has enough about him to prevent the character merely being a source of exposition. I guess I enjoyed Oliver Platt's bureaucratic douche too, even if it was a placeholder of a role. But that might just be because Platt is another one of those highly talented actors with god-awful films consuming his CV. Thandie Newton continues to show that top honors from Cambridge can't buy you good taste in movies, as this is about the 600th shit movie she has made in 5 years. In one of the strangest casting decisions ever, Cusack's rival for his family's love is played by Thomas McCarthy, otherwise known as the highly credible director of Indie movies such as The Station Agent or The Visitor. Granted he is some kind of actor, he was in the fifth season of The Wire, but I guess his talent may be more behind the camera then in-front of it. Woody Harrelson shows up for ten minutes in an obviously pre-Zombieland role and gives an epically OTT performance that despite being ridiculous probably steals the movie.
But this ain't no actors movie. This is a look how awesome it is when shit gets destroyed movie, and if that is literally the ONLY thing you care about when you go to the movies then you may get something out of 2012, but its combination of joyous carnage with broad, unearned and cheaply manipulative moments of emotional outpour and for what it is its just crude and moronic, even more so then Independence Day or Day After Tomorrow. And that's saying something.