MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1

Content: -3

John Cusack, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt. Action, end of the world thriller. Directed by Roland Emmerich.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Disaster movie maven Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) crafts this apocalyptic sci-fi thriller following an academic researcher who endeavors to prevent the catastrophic prophecies of the ancient Mayan calendar from coming to pass. According to the Mayan calendar, the world will come to an end on December 21, 2012. When a global cataclysm thrusts the world into chaos, writer and father Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) uses his knowledge of the ancient prophecies to ensure that the human race is not completely wiped out. It’s an Armageddon film without any of that pesky old biblical perspective found in Revelation.

PREVIEW REVIEW: It’s Earthquake, Airport, The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno all in one. All that’s missing are Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.

Although disaster films have always been with us (San Francisco, The Rains Came, The Hurricane), in the 1970s they began to take on a glitzy, though trashy quality. They were exciting, filled with a roster of who’s who in Hollywood’s firmament, and boasted state-of-the-art special effects. So, I can’t blame young audiences for wanting to see today's disaster movies. I must have seen Airport a dozen times. 2012 is just as glossy, just as slick as any of its ‘70s predecessors, only bigger and, in the eyes of effects aficionados, better.

The film is problematic, however. Traditional Hollywood’s lack of reverence for Jehovah is further displayed. I was saddened to think that teenagers will see this one several times, letting the twelve “G..D…s” and “Jesus Christ’s” stew inside their brains. By now, profanity is so excessive in movies that it is forming a deadened scab over society’s regard for matters of spirituality. By the way, most of these profanities come from the lead actor as he stumbles past the art of language, settling for an all too familiar way of expressing the sound of his fury.

The film could more appropriately be titled “Split Second,” for it takes on the melodramatic qualities of 1940s Saturday serials, where at the last moment our heroes are saved - over and over. But that’s not really a problem. Nor is it that that the filmmakers have done their best to represent all nationalities and ethnicities, making it the rainbow coalition of disaster flicks. The President is Black and a good guy, with his second in command, a portly White dude who’s more self-serving politician than frightened humanitarian, serving as the bad guy. Same goes for Russians – one’s good, one’s not. Most of the religions, however, are portrayed as passive, even inert, with Protestants represented by those carrying The End Is Near placards and deemed nutcases by eye-rolling passersby.

God doesn’t play much of a part in this scary end-times scenario. The planet has decided to stop spinning and that sets off the avalanches, volcanic eruptions and tidal waves. No one turns to prayer. God serves no further purpose in the storyline than to be a release of verbal tension. “Oh my God” is heard from time to time as the earth cracks and quakes, but mainly Jesus and the Deity are used as mere curse words.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Sony Pictures Releasing

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Two uses of the f-word by the male lead and several minor expletives from everyone else.

Profanity: Around 12 profane uses of either God’s name or that of His Son.

Violence: A whole lot of disaster developments lead to the PG-13 deaths of countless extras and supporting characters. Blood: A little blood, but not as excessive as the profanity. Evidently you can show the end of the world, replete with blasphemous dialogue, and be allowed a PG-13 rating.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 157 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Above

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