So, I decided to take in the midnight screening of 2012 last night, not quite getting that the movie was just shy of 3hrs long...I thought I'd share my views on it for what it's worth. So you know where I'm coming from, I do have a certain level of tolerance for "bad" because I love horror (budget doesn't matter as long as there's entertainment to be had) and do have a soft spot for disaster films...Those that don't care for the disaster pics quite as much would probably be less generous. HAVING SAID THAT, here is not so much a review, but more of a list of observances on Rupert Emmerich's 2012. I wrote the above paragraph and this one after writing out the points below, and I realize that I've written a novel. If you get tired of me rambling, or just want the main points, you could probably glean that by either skimming or just reading the first sentence or two...OR, you could just skip the whole thing too, but I am still trying to sort out all of how I felt about this movie--perhaps I'll have more to say (dont worry, I won't be adding to this) and perhaps I'll think less if i go see it again--remains to be seen. Oh...Re: Spoilers...I've tried very hard to avoid anything that could be considered a spoiler, but please proceed with caution...Without further apologies or explanation however, here you go. Bad points first up: 1.) The very first thing that made me take notice didn't happen for about 15-20 minutes...Up until that point, it seemed to be the general plot set up, involving scientific mumbo jumbo, some of which seemed very legit and logical, some not so much, and some I couldn't understand--partially because of a screaming toddler (at 12:30am in a theater...) and partially because it didn't really make much sense to me so I let it go...What caught my eye though, is a scene where an attempt to "share critical information" with a person-in-charge...This person is at a black tie party full of DC politicos, and other "rich folk"....Let me just say, this scene would make an excellent drinking game where you play "Count the Bumpits".... Bumpits (Bump-Its?) are these little wiglets of varying shapes and sizes that people (women and/or drag queens, I assume would be the only logical wearers/users, but I'd rather not be sexist or exclusive--so, it's 'people') can sneak into their regular hairdo to give them an instant high head of hair, a la Patsy on AbFab, or Marge Simpson, or hmmm...I dunno....it's politics...could we say SARAH PALIN??? At first it was like, That woman who is somewhat conspicuosly placed in each shot so far must be wearing a bumpit...hmm..it looks kind of bad... Then another bumpity hairdo sashays by...then another, and another...and now here's one that has a round bun...There's one that looks like she has a dead tribble..oh, there's one with REALLY REALLY BIG HAIR, PILED UP REAL HIGH (spoken w/Marge S. voice).... In one way, it's almost kind of pretty real, because yes, Ms. Palin did make quite an impression with her bumpity bump, and I could see a lot of followers in the DC channels emulating that hairdo...BUT, it was, to me, kind of distracting after awhile, and I got quite a giggle when I stopped counting somewhere around 15, I think...Maybe it just seemed that way...Anyway...Watch the bumpit count lest the focus be taken off what is being said. 2. I know that it must be somewhat hard to create what could truly be called an original character, and I will say that none of the characters immediately screamed cliche, but really--many of them really were. You had a very standard disaster movie group---the young plucky mother, the intelligent but non-threatening rival for the heroines affection (almost guaranteed to be dead by movie's end), the young couple who are kept apart by fate (or whatever), the bratty kids who learn a VALUABLE LESSON, the cute kids in peril that are going to be used for some sort of horrible rescue...the old wiley coots who commit some act of heroism before they expire (either by swimming cause they're skinny underwater, or because they had to save the kid's pet or whatever)...I mean, each and every character has a double in some disaster flick of long past or recent past....It WAS kind of hard to get past the eye rolling in a few cases, but the thing that made this NOT such an issue is that many if not the majority of them end up quite differently than you'd expect them to---so this was kind of surprising....So maybe, they're cliches with fresh outcome...I dunno...Jury is out. 3.) Having endured only TELEVISION coverage of the worst disaster in my lifetime--the 9/11 destruction--- I know how it effected ME...I'm not saying everyone felt the same, or should have or whatever, but I really felt sick about it for a LONG time afterward...even to this day if I see certain images or hear about certain things, it triggers a deep emotional reaction, usually of sadness...I couldnt' begin to think about how it would have been like to have been there and witnessed it first hand, or been involved even for the smallest duration of time...Therefore, to see people who just lived through, either via personal experience or hearing about/seeing the destruction through another carrying on without much regard to the thousands/millions who have just perished---that kind of bugged me...granted, the movie was long enough without feeling like more time should have been spent on scenes of sad mopey faces, it just seemed like there should have/could have been just a bit more reaction---shock??? acknowledgement??? I don't know...The time frame in which the events happen--well, you really do get that there's not much time to sit around and dawdle, but jeeez...Even in the case of some rather major characters--when they kick the bucket it's almost like, "NEXT".... Kind of like in Meet the Feebles when a star performer bites it, they just open a hatch, drop his corpse in and let the giant Feeble living beneath eat the corpse...This might need to be rexamined on a second viewing, perhaps I'm being too harsh, but I don't think so...Where's the empathy people? 4.)Waaayyyy too many "Gotta get the plane going NOW NOW NOW" scenes...It was understandable how and why, but for me it didn't stop from getting old kind of fast...especially since it was the same sort of thing, or seemed to be. Even with other forms of transportation, it seemed like each and every one of the scenes involving the departure of one location in order to reach another played out the same way...They were all still pretty thrilling, and I am not saying it was boring at all--some were pretty intense, but overall it was the same thing again and again. Could they have portrayed the events without it being that way? Maybe not, but seems like it was almost like watching the same scene again and again. There were a few other very minor things here and there, some "catchphrasey" things said inserted in there that made me cringe, but none were big enough of an issue that I still remember them today at this writing, and frankly---they came at points in the movie where I was grateful for some element of alleviation, because I really was personally kind of scared by some of the scenes (to the level of which these sorts of things CAN scare me--but I think I can be pretty fair in saying they were damn intense, believable or not) Now, the good points: 1) Already touched upon this above, but wanting to reiterate---although characters were pretty standard disaster fare even though some were well disguised, the fates you'd normally expect the different types to endure/suffer/live through/die from---well, they don't all play out that way. I was surprised at what happened to many of the characters, and some scenes were set up I'm sure to have you believe certain things will happen, but then nope.... That was a plus. 2.) I was VERY shocked by most of the disaster sequences. there are things in the movie that were not shown in any of the clips I saw released---even the "Exclusive scene" broadcast on every channel and their dog. In some cases just split second differences, but what you saw happening in those split seconds--for me it really brought it home, and it was not cool--I say this as a compliment. The events being portrayed were in many cases final..THE END, for REAL and for SURE, and it was definitely laid out there to see. No, there wasn't tons o' blood and corpses all over the place as I remember someone saying there should be in order to be "real"...Well, while not a total gorehound, I'm fine with it existing in movies, and I've always said in regards to horror/scifi/disaster flicks, if there's no story or scares, it better be DAMN gross to give me some reason to continue watching....SO, I'm not offended or opposed to the showing of death or grue, but what I DID see in the movie seemed horrifying enough that I felt no need to see more. I really didn't want to see what happened to all those vehicles, people, trains, buses, and buildings that you just saw collapsing downward into a crevass of unknown depth...i didn't want to see the final outcome of a lot of the destruction sequences because i didn't feel I needed to---you knew what happened, and you knew that there wasn't going to be much of anything left, and the sheer scale of what was being depicted was for me quite enough...I thought that Emmerich DID show plenty, or at least he was pretty tasteful in the depictions and I didn't come out feeling like the death and destruction scenes lacked anything...A couple of them actually made me kind of sick to my stomach, so kudos! 3.) Many people might take issue and disagree for various reasons, but as the movie's focus turned to the plight of those who were left to try and survive the last remaining catastrophe before an expected length of time "riding it out Noah style", it seemed to have a series of groups separated out by nation/country...It made sense in the aspect of how the vessels they used to escape came to be built etc., I think...(again, the hows and whys and who partnered with who I didn't quite catch, and I'm not sure why or when it was explained, might have been during a potty break or the one and only ciggie break I took)...ANYWaY, beyond a group representing largely US refugees/survivors, the fates of the other vessels are left somewhat vague, and those that are identified as clearly making it through--well, you don't know what nationalities were there...I kind of liked it because it kept it from turning in to a "Why were so and so shown to live when so and so 2 was not? Why are these countries shown as being left when these weren't etc."....There was really very little that could be taken as showing favoritism or being racist towards this country or that, and the U.S. itself, while clearly the group with the "CHARACTERS YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT & WILL LOOOooVE", was not always shown as 100% rosy & cool...I thought that was nice, because it could have SOOOOO been worse. 4.) Lastly, even though YES, it does end on a hopeful note (see my comment about everyone being happy way too fast after the horrific death scenes etc.) , and yes, many scenes were a little too convenient or whatever, they did play it pretty real, and they played it pretty serious. I was grateful that there was nothing more the people at the end had to endure---for awhile there were so many sad and horrific scenes of annhilation in a ROW, with an increasing succession after the last, that I really kind of felt like I needed some sort of reprieve and I was glad to see that a sizable amount of people survived---ESPECiALLY to know it wasn't just Cusack and his brood like I thought it would be going in. I don't say this to insinuate I wanted them all to die, or that there NEEDED to be anything really, I just had hoped that they'd be realistic and not too over the top about last minute rescues or any of those scenes that you know are inevitable--The scenes do exist, and there are a lot of "yeah right" moments, but for me none TOO over the top..Nothing was TOO cute or TOO rosy- The movie WaS very intense, and so for once, I really kind of needed those little moments that otherwise would have me reaching for the barf bag. I would say to all here---if you like disaster flicks at all, this one IS worth it...and, if at all possible, DO see it in the theater, don't wait for home video. Some scenes have action spanning quite large areas at a time, and there is a lot of detail that I can't imagine will be possible to see and register on home screens of any size smaller than a 52", but perhaps I may be wrong... One last observance, one that I think speaks volumes about the experience moreso than anything I could think of to say above....As the audience filled up the theater, there were all the types you'd expect at a midnight screening...the punk kids, the groups of fratboy sounding jerks that kept hollering "hey bro" back and forth across the theater without a care to how loud they were...there were the drunk (or sober) giggling couples talking, those you knew were there to further their hate towards director/actors/plot conventions or whatever, and of course those who were just there to let it unfold however... The thing is, after the VERY first "slightly odd occurrence", most of the little comments, snickers (includng mine over the bumpits) and general chit chat had dropped considerably...After the first full on disaster sequence, that theater was SILENT for almost the entire remaining film...No jokes, no laughing...no little comments, no 'yo bro"...just total silence...You could occasionally hear some sobs going on here and there, and those "eyerollers" or whatever you want to call them did illicit the expected audience responses...But, whether shocked, scared or they simply ran out of things to say--who knows-- but I think I'm pretty safe in saying something about what they were watching REALLY got them, and it got them GOOD... with very minimal exception, I was right there with them.