#234 | Roland Emmerich’s 2012

The problem with podcasting about Roland Emmerich movies is that, fundamentally, they’re all kind of the same. 2012 is a visually spectacular, occasionally wildly entertaining end of the world action epic – but so were Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. The A-listers slumming for a hit change faces, but the plot beats remain more or less identical.

In this variation on a theme, John Cusack leads the cast as Jackson Curtis, a failed writer and deadbeat dad who is drawn into a government plot to cover up the imminent end of days. It’s something to do with solar flares…

The ensemble cast also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor as a morally compromised geo-scientist, Danny Glover giving far more gravitas than this movie deserves as the soon-to-be last President of the United States and Woody Harrelson, who is the only performer who seems to understand exactly what kind of movie he’s in.

Considering the near 3-hour runtime of the film, it doesn’t actually take all that long for the earth to actually start blowing up. The problem is how rapidly it runs out of tricks. The first hour or so contains the kind of ludicrous thrills you’d happily buy tickets to a Roland Emmerich movie for. Unfortunately at a certain point – right around the time Woody Harrelson gets incinerated – the wheels start to spin, culminating in a final third that’s bizarrely a more or less direct lift from the last hour of Titanic.

On this week’s podcast, we discuss some of our highlights and lowlights, including John Cusack visibly phoning it in, Amanda Peet getting less than nothing to do, some insanely on-the-nose dialogue and dodgy accents galore. We also brainstorm some drinking games, check in with our listeners and pitch some sequel ideas to bring 2012 up to 2021…

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Next week, we welcome a long-time listener, who has chosen to torture Harry with yet another classic movie. Until then, happy listening and remember – never cheat on a Russian billionaire with tickets to the Ark!