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*ing: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Danny Glover and Thandie Newton
Directed by Roland Emmerich


"Inspired by the bestselling non-fiction book Fingerprints of the Gods by author Graham Hancock, 2012 is yet another attempt by filmmaker Roland Emmerich to bring the 'end is near' theory to the big screen. He is, after all, the man behind films like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow - both films dealing with the end of the world. So what makes this film different? For one thing, it's the cast that makes the film go round and of course, Hollywood at its best in depicting biblical floods across the world. Imagine a world where North Pole is in Wisconsin (USA), Christ the Redeemer statue (one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, in Brazil) falls to the ground. It's fascinating each time. The jaw-dropping sequences are all over the film and are enough to keep one glued to the screen. But that is only half the reason why 2012 works as a film. Director Emmerich uses the end of the world as a pretext to humanity and nothing is cut and dry. The film moves in different time frames and the heads of most nations around the world including the mighty US of A are all in the loop about the upcoming global natural disasters. Natural disasters that come in all shapes and sizes. Volcanic eruptions, typhoons, tsunami and glaciers all hit the earth faster than the scientists predicted. And then begins the game of political agenda, survival of human race, the rise of Asia and human faith in its purest form. There is nothing too extraordinary about this film. If you watch too much commercial Hollywood, this film might even be a turn off. Some of the apocalyptic scenarios do tend to go overboard, especially since the end of time is a recurrent theme in director Roland Emmerich's previous films. But getting past some similarities, Roland deserves a nod for extracting natural performances from a well-rounded ensemble cast. If there is one man who makes this film worthy, it's John Cusack as Jackson Curtis. He lives like a slob and is a published author but a very unsuccessful one I might add. He barely sleeps, lives off temp jobs and is divorced. But the unspoken words between him and his ex-wife Kate Curtis (Amanda Peet) and just the sparks between them is complicated but makes the story more real. Jackson is like the silver lining in a dark, hazy sky in 2012. His refusal to give up, his consistency in making every life count, his instinct to jump to protect others and the emotions that range from fear to panic and pain and even joy - John Cusack is the star of the show. The other star is Oliver Platt who plays Carl Anheuser, an adviser to the President of the United States of America. Playing political roles has always been Oliver's niche. From Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing to Executive Decision - Oliver excels in these roles. And in this film, he is the man you grow to hate. He stands between the scientists, world leaders and the truth. His inherent need to save genetically chosen special human beings who will take the next generation ahead is sick. He is despicable as the man who manipulates the government oh so slyly. Danny Glover in his role as the President of the United States of America is charismatic, humane and simple. He plays it like a pro and it's his demeanour to not be a part of a cover-up that sets him apart from other leaders. Thandie Newton, as the First Daughter, is fiery and headstrong. Ultimately this film is about its ensemble casting that makes such a difference. And the very idea that it ain't over until it's really over. At least that's the afterthought left. Check it out for not just jaw dropping shots but the stacked odds against humanity and the courage to fight.
Maheen Sabeeh,
2012 is now playing in theatres across Pakistan