Christmas is a time for friends and families to get together and exchange presents. Yesterday, three friends and I convened at the Tivoli in Downers Grove and received a lump of coal from director/ producer Roland Emmerich. I didn't know it going in, but our trip to see 2012 became the first impromptu meeting of the Bad Movie Society, and also our first field trip.
I didn't know much about Emmerich's career until I looked him up on imdb this morning. Turns out, he is responsible for one of my favorite movies, Independence Day, plus a lot of duds like The Day After Tomorrow and 10,000 BC. I kept thinking how 2012 had a lot in common with ID: Brisk walks through the halls of the White House, blowing up the White House, Air Force One, global destruction, giant vehicles, digital countdowns and probably a million other things I'm forgetting. I'd like to focus on one aspect of Emmerich's moviemaking that really struck me: the pursuit of people by disasters and their effects.
Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) narrowly flees an earthquake in a limo, drives a plane away from a volcanic firestorm, and holds his breath for like, a half-hour while tsunamis approach. He drives a motorhome really fast, and when chunks of molten earth explode in front of him, he maneuvers that clumsy thing around them goddamnit. What made ID convincing was that the aliens could only attack so fast. If you got out of the city, you were safe for at least a little while. In 2012, airport runways collapse behind our heroes, and just when you think it's alright- whew, they made it, they're in the air- the skyline of Las Vegas takes its best shot. No relief and no release of tension. Combine that with the greatest act of Russian heroism since the Cold War, and you've got 2012. I'm leaving out so much. There's Woody Harrelson! So bad, it's good. Highly recommmended.