Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Woody Harrelson, Oliver Pratt, Danny Glover
Extras: Commentary Track, Tricia Track, Video Commentary, Alternate Ending
Roland Emmerich's latest movie once again deals with destruction on an excessively large scale and the end of mankind. This time he takes the various myths and prophesies about the impending end of the world in the year 2012 as the basis for his work, showing us what he thinks the arrival of the apocalypse will look like.
As scientists uncover events that lead to a superheating of the earth's core they try to warn the world about the problems that will stem from this process but the world governments decide to hush up the fact and do nothing about it, ignoring the inherent dangers as there didn't seem a sense of urgency about it. However, the events in the earth's core accelerate exponentially and within a short few years it becomes obvious that the end is not years away, or months, or weeks, but merely days and hours.
It turns out however that the world governments have made plans and as they world begins to fall apart around them, it becomes obvious that these plans did not involve the general populace. Secretly, these politicians have built giant ships to hold the government members and the ultra-rich of their respective countries only, and take them to safety. The rest of the population of the planet earth has to sit back and watch as the earth's crust cracks, its core erupts and giant tidal waves wash over every continent, wiping out the world as we know it.
Filled with spectacular special effects, "2012" is Hollywood popcorn cinema at its best. Tying the end of the world story in with the struggle of a group of survivors, the film makes sure to have some plotline to hold it all together and some likable characters to root for while they take their front-row ride through the destruction of the world. It all may not make a whole lot of sense and may devoid of some basic logic and human behavior patterns, but in any event, the film is a spectacular special effects orgy that won't give you a whole lot of time to ponder its shortcomings. It features a solid cast that includes John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Oliver Pratt, Danny Glover and one deliciously funny Woody Harrelson among many others, all of which do their best to bring across the gravity of the situations depicted.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has created a splendid high definition transfer for the film that hits the bullseye in every department. Whether you're looking far a pristinely clean image, mind-boggling level of detail or the image sharpness of a guillotine, this transfer has it all and struts it around like there's no tomorrow for the entire 158 minutes that the film is running. Colors are incredibly rich also and with its solid blacks, the transfer has incredible visual depth that adds to the experience.
A DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track complements the presentation. Firing on all cylinders, the track is brutally aggressive and can easily shake your house in its foundation. It makes constant use of the split surround channels and has a frequency extension that goes well below 25Hz, giving your subwoofer a serious workout – and by serious I mean, serious!
Despite all of the action and its aggressiveness, the track is never unbalanced, however, making sure that dialogues will always remain properly understandable and the focus of the presentation.
The Blu-Ray version contains an alternate ending as a bonus feature, as well as a picture-in-picture video commentary track, elaborating in details about Roland Emmerich's vision. A commentary track and Sony's movieIQ trivia track rounds out the release.
"2012" is a spectacle from the first to the last minute. Supercharged special effects take charge of this production and take the viewer on a disaster movie thrill ride of the largest scale I can remember. in fact, they should probably start measuring disaster movies on the Emmerich Scale from this day forward. Nonetheless, there are some nicely human moments in the film and some decent characters to make sure the film is not only a CGI smorgasbord and delivers at least a modicum of depth and story. Overall, it's a hypnotizing popcorn movie that will make you forget everything around you for its running length and quite honestly, I actually want that once in a while.