2012 parents guide

2012 Parent Guide

Overall B-

Did the ancient Mayan civilization know when modern civilization would end? As the ominous predictions interpreted from their calendar begin to unfold, people all over the globe -- including Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) -- find themselves caught in the cataclysmic events.

Release date November 13, 2009

Violence C
Sexual Content B+
Profanity D+
Substance Use B

Why is 2012 rated PG-13? The MPAA rated 2012 PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language.

Run Time: 156 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

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.

Starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Liam James, Morgan Lily, Roland Emmerich.. Running time: 156 minutes. Theatrical release November 13, 2009. Updated

Rating & Content Info

Why is 2012 rated PG-13? 2012 is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense disaster sequences and some language.

In the true nature of a disaster film, this movie is packed with scenes of destruction and devastation as entire cities and their citizens are swallowed up in huge cavernous cracks in the Earth’s surface. Other characters are crushed by falling cars, buildings or rocks, swept away in huge tsunamic waves, drowned at sea or blown up in naturally caused explosions. After riots break out, characters are crushed or pushed off the edge of a high precipice. The corpses of people who committed mass suicide are seen. A man is shot at and blown up. During seismic activity, highways heave, buildings crumble, cars fall out of a parking garage, road structures collapse and volcanic eruptions happen. Some bloody, injured and dead people are seen. Raw sewage is sprayed across a car. One character is crushed to death and another has his legs torn off in a huge gear system (the bloody stumps of his legs are shown). Some weapons are used by the military. Adults drink at social events or while facing impending death. Brief comments are made about adult sexual activities. A woman discusses her breast enhancements. Partial male buttock nudity is briefly seen. The script contains frequent profanities and terms of Deity, as well as an extreme sexual expletive and a crude hand gesture. A prolonged sequence of flashing lights may also be disturbing to some viewers.

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2012 Parents' Guide

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?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of 2012 movie is March 2, 2010. Here are some details…

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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Several actors from 2012 take on roles in other films where families are also under stress.Thandie Newton, who plays the First Daughter in this script, stars as the overworked wife of a man struggling to find work in The Pursuit of Happyness. John Cusack performs as a father who must tell his daughters their mother has been killed in combat in Grace Is Gone.