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Mar 02, 2010

MPAA Rating:


Run Time:



John Cusack

Amanda Peet

Thandie Newton

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Liam James

Morgan Lily

Roland Emmerich.


2009 Columbia/ Sony Pictures

Official Website >>

Still shot from the movie: 2012.

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Overall B-
Run Time156

Making the Grades

The date 12-21-2012 may be looming large and ominous in the minds of some people. According to the ancient Mayan calendar, it signals the end of the world, as we know it. Whether that’s true or simply the result of tired stone workers going home for dinner is yet to be seen. In the meantime, Director Roland Emmerich, the man behind other apocalyptic films like The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla and Independence Day, has created a disaster movie reminiscent of catastrophe scripts like The Poseidon Adventure and Dante’s Peak.

In this story, John Cusack plays Jackson Curtis, a divorced dad who is taking his kids (Liam James, Morgan Lily) camping for the weekend in Yellowstone National Park. When they arrive in the wilderness, he is surprised to find the landscape has changed significantly since he was there with their mother Kate (Amanda Peet) years earlier. After the trio crosses into a restricted area and is roughly apprehended by gun-toting soldiers in military combat fatigues, Jackson suspects something is up.

Meanwhile, Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is a geological scientist working for the U.S. government. He, along with others (Jimi Mistry, John Billingsley), are charting radical changes in the Earth’s inner core—variations that threaten to cause extreme seismic activity in the not-so-distant future. However, their predictions for cataclysmic demolition begin to unfold much earlier than expected, leaving mankind poised on the brink of total annihilation.

For those with enough money or political clout, a survival opportunity exists. But for the masses, of which Jackson and his family are a part, there is little hope. Still, that doesn’t stop this deadbeat dad from tackling every option he can find to save his former wife, her new husband (Thomas McCarthy) and the kids. Driving a limousine, he careens down buckling city streets, squeaks under falling Interstate bridges and blasts through glass-plated office buildings in an effort to get out of the crumbling core of Los Angeles. The difficulty of the feat ramps up as the small group grows to include Jackson’s wealthy employer (Zlatko Buric) and his family.

To be truthful, anyone with even a fifth grader’s knowledge of science will know this script isn’t based on fact. Planes take off even as the runway cracks and falls away below them. Characters perform herculean tasks that would require more strength than the average freelance writer could possibly possess. And despite the total destruction of the continent, cell phones, with unbelievably good reception, remain usable until almost the final moment.

However, putting science aside, 2012 is a classic popcorn flick where guessing who will make it and who won’t is part of the fun. The visual effects, which depict the obliteration of iconic structures and statues as well as the California coastline sliding into the ocean, are amazing, even if the epic production occasionally becomes too caught up in the enormity of the destruction on screen. Fortunately, despite the devastation and the nastier side of human nature that are frequently seen, the storyline rebounds with redemptive acts of heroism and humanity, even from politicians. While 2012 might not lessen anyone’s fears about the future, it at least offers audiences a lively distraction from their present day problems.


Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about 2012.

In a similar scenario, would the best of humanity always be saved if only the wealthy or powerful were preserved? What types of people and skills would be needed to rebuild a civilization after such an apocalyptic event? Would a lottery be a fair way to determine a chance for survival?

Rather than just being seen in the background, product placements are becoming increasingly prominent in films. How are they used in this script?

If you knew you only had a limited time to live, what things would you do? Who would you contact?

Canadian Movie Ratings

PG Violence. Coarse Language.
AB PG Frightening Scenes, Not Recommended for Young Children
MB 14A
ON 14A Violence. Language May Offend, Disturbing Content.
QC G Not recommended for young children.

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of 2012...

2012 releases to DVD and Blu-ray on March 2, 2010.
2012 on DVD:
- Audio commentary with Writer/Director Roland Emmerich and Co-Writer Harald Kloser
- Featurette: Roland Emmerich: Master of the Modern Epic
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes
- Music Video: Time For Miracles by Adam Lambert
2012 on Blu-ray (Single Disc):
- movieIQ (BD Exclusive)
- Picture-in-Picture: Roland’s Vision (includes pre-visualization, storyboards and behind-the-scenes footage, along with interviews with filmmakers, cast and crew).
- Audio commentary with Writer/Director Roland Emmerich and Co-Writer Harald Kloser
- Alternate Ending
2012 on Blu-ray in a 2-Disc Edition:
Disc 1:
- movieIQ (BD Exclusive)
- Picture-in-Picture: Roland’s Vision (includes pre-visualization, storyboards and behind-the-scenes footage, along with interviews with filmmakers, cast and crew).
- Audio commentary with Writer/Director Roland Emmerich and Co-Writer Harald Kloser
- Alternate Ending
Disc 2:
- Interactive Mayan Calendar (find your horoscope and personality profile)
- Featurettes: Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar, Designing the End of the World, Roland Emmerich: Master of the Modern Epic Science Behind the Destruction and The End of the World: The Actor’s Perspective.
- Deleted Scenes
- Countdown to the Future
- Music Videos: Time For Miracles by Adam Lambert
- Making the Music Video Time For Miracles with Adam Lambert
- Digital Copy for PC, Mac & iPod

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Gab&Dad; says: Nov. 17, 2009

As a parent, I wouldn’t let my 7yr-old see this, although he was intrigued by the marketing he has been exposed to.  It presents disturbing images and ideas about human peril - even though ridiculous in theory (and execution) - still presented in a realistic way that I don’t think children can process in the “popcorn blockbuster” way that adults do.  That said, I think it’s rubbish for grown viewer as well! Impressive effects aren’t an end unto themselves….  2012 lacks plot or characters that engage us enough for something so “epic” - and long!  See my father and I review it together at:

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