When one thinks disaster movie, director Roland Emmerich comes to mind. After all, he has been behind the camera for such epic fare as Independence Day and its sequel Independence Day: Resurgence, The Day After Tomorrow, and even Godzilla. Another one of Emmerich’s big disaster flicks is the popcorn-chewing 2012 and it has just been added to the Netflix library.
Roland Emmerich’s 2012 actually was released in 2009 and it is from a script that he even co-penned. This disaster film stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson as they try to find safety as the earth shakes and explodes and crumbles and floods all around them.
Ejiofor is geologist Adrian Helmsley, who discovers that the alignment of planets caused a solar flare which in turn is causing the Earth’s crust to become wholly unstable. This instability is the reason for his prediction of massive natural disasters, which he claims will claim the Earth in a few short years. Because of his prediction, a secret Ark project is started to help ensure humanity’s survival. Of course, to be part of that survival, the cost to climb aboard one of the nine Arks is $1 billion per person.
Three years later, in 2012, these cataclysmic events begin to appear. Unfortunately, they arrive much earlier than predicted, causing the governments around the globe to step up production on the arks. John Cusack is Roland Emmerich’s everyday man, a down-on-his-luck author who chauffeurs to make ends meet. His present job has him driving around a Russian billionaire and his family. Estranged from his family (two kids and an ex-wife), Jackson attempts to reconnect by taking his kids on a quick camping excursion in Yellowstone National Park (even though it’s over 1,000 miles one way). Once they get to Yellowstone, Jackson and his kids come across a fenced-off area that they decide to explore. But the area is a United States Army fenced-off area. The trio is eventually caught and brought to Adrian, who has read a couple of Jackson’s books. After they are released, they run into conspiracy theorist Charlie Frost (Harrelson), who informs them of what is about to go down.
Roland Emmerich then brings Jackson and the kids back to Los Angeles for what is the beginning of the end. A 10.9 earthquake hits Southern California, causing mass damage, with most of California eventually sliding off into the Pacific Ocean. Jackson is barely able to rescue his kids, his ex-wife Kate (Peet), and her boyfriend Gordon (Tom McCarthy) by stealing a small airplane, which Gordon can fly.
As the Earth’s crust begins to shift, the natural disasters only get worse. More earthquakes and tsunamis follow. Roland Emmerich has a way with destruction, putting everyone in harm’s way, sparing very few. The race is on once Jackson and his small group find out about the Arks. They meet up with his former employer, the Russian billionaire, who promises to help them gain passage on one of the Arks if Jackson could fly them all to the base located inside Mount Everest.
Roland Emmerich’s movie is big, loud, unbelievable, and most definitely watchable. There is something about watching the world go down in flames only to be built back up again that can be appealing on some level. He does a great job with this, keeping the suspense and action moving with effects that look most realistic.
When he put the movie together, Roland Emmerich was given a $200 million budget and it looks as such. The set pieces are huge, the destruction is on a grand scale, and he also attempts to toss in some emotional impact, which for the most part, works. The movie was also big at the box office, as it brought in a tad over $791 million.
You may not be surprised to know that 2012 did not fare well with critics. In fact, many of Roland Emmerich’s disaster pics don’t play well with critics. But the good thing about his movies is that audiences flood to see them. The German-born director has brought in over $3 billion at the box office in movies he has directed, which has allowed him to make movie after movie.
Universal Soldier was one of Emmerich’s first big movies, which he followed with Stargate. His career, though, hasn’t been always surrounded by disaster. He stepped off the disaster train a few times, one being the 2000 movie The Patriot, another with the 2011 film Anonymous.
For the most part, Roland Emmerich has and continues to go big. His last film was the World War II epic Midway, the retelling of the attack on Pearl Harbor that led to the Battle of Midway. Up next for Emmerich is Moonfall, another disaster pic that concerns a space crew who must travel to the moon after it is hit by an asteroid causing it to be on a collision course with Earth. After that, it is heavily rumored that he will return to the Stargate universe with a new entry into the franchise he started but in what capacity we just don’t yet know.
You can watch Roland Emmerich’s 2012 on Netflix.