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"2012" storms in as another apocalyptic hit

Emmerich creates a modern, thrilling Noah's Ark for the big screen

By Blake Morgan-Gamber, Online Features and Sports Editor
November 17, 2009
Although several apocalyptic stories have hit the big screen within the past couple years, "2012" stands out with higher quality and an advanced plot. Director Roland Emmerich captures audiences' imagination with a multi-layered plot and visually stunning special effects. This epic adventure critiques the humanity of the governments of the world's most powerful nations by assessing how the world would respond to an apocalypse.


(released November 13, 2009)
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John Cusak races with his family to escape the dangerous earth deterioration. Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Live News.
"2012" is an epic survivor story revolving around Jackson Curtis (John Cusak) and his fight to save his family from the world's end. As large surface cracks begin to appear all over California, Jackson becomes skeptical of his home state government's assurances that everything will be okay. Jackson hears the radio broadcast of blogger and conspiracy theorist Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), who warns that the end of the world is quickly approaching, just as the Mayan's predicted. Meanwhile, the world's most powerful nations, including the United States, recognize the imminent end-of-the-world and sell tickets for billions of dollars to board arks that will save a small percentage of the human race. Jackson must navigate his way to China in the hopes that the nation's leaders will allow his family, as well as other families who do not have tickets, the chance to board the arks.

Emmerich created the film to serve as a modern retelling of the biblical story of Noah's Ark. In the film, Dr. Satnam Tsurutani, an Indian geologist, represents Noah, and proves to the United States government that the earth's core is heating up faster than predicted, causing the world to end in 2012. Thus, the leaders of the "G8 countries" construct arks that will float on the ocean, to safely contain leaders, citizens and animals of these nations that are considered necessary for future survival. Similar to the biblical tale, the film causes audiences to question the ethicality of who can board the arks and explores the impact of morality when a global population is at risk of extinction.

The film is full of chaos and is never dull for a moment; however, it verges on running too long. Throughout the film, characters struggle to escape incredible earthquakes, collapsing buildings and enormous tsunamis. While each scene is exciting, audiences can only handle violent earth destruction for so long.

Notable acting enhanced the plot and helped move the story along. Jackson Curtis's two children, Noah (Liam James) and Lily (Morgan Lily), branch out of a typical children's role in the film and show true emotion that comes acr¬oss as sincere rather than cheesy. The overdramatic plot calls for an exaggerated cast and James and Lily did not disappoint. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Dr. Adrian Helmsley, an advisor to the White House, serves as the moral center for the film. Ejiofor effectively sticks up for humanity in the tumultuous nature of the world’s end.

The film centers on the Mayans' prediction that the world will end in the year 2012. While the plot of "2012" is truly unrealistic, the film possesses a unique quality because it provides insight into the way individuals and international leaders would respond to an apocalypse. "2012" invites audiences to re-examine the morals of our world in an introspective, yet action-packed plot.

"2012" ( 158 minutes) is rated PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language. Now playing in theaters everywhere.