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post #1 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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2012-Blu-ray Review

Title: 2012
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Amanda Peet
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Written by: Roland Emmerich & Harald Kloser
Studio: Sony Pictures
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 158 Minutes
Release Date: 3/2/2010


Movie

Every decade or two, society must endure some sort end of the world, the rapture is coming thing. I grew up in the eighties and remember being terrified of random dates someone had gotten from Nostradamus and applied predictions of a global nuclear war to. I couldn’t sleep for almost a week after seeing ‘The Day After’. In the nineties it was all about the millennium and how the world was going to end as we knew it on New Year’s Eve 1999 by computer code that would launch all nuclear weapons but by this time I was much wiser to the whole thing and a network engineer. In its current form, the end of the world will come in ‘2012’ which is based on the notion that the world will end on December 21, 2012 because that is when the Mayan calendar ends. Of course there are multiple theories about how it will happen from “geomagnetic reversal” to “black hole alignment” but the end result is the same.


We already know that Roland Emmerich can destroy the planet like no one has done before and 2012 gives him another reason to do what he does best. In his latest “end of the world as we know it” spectacle, the director takes us on a journey through what I feel is his best looking and best sounding destruction of the planet earth to date and one that should get people to start forgetting ‘10,000 B.C.’


The movie begins in 2009 when Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a government geothermal scientist, is presented with evidence that the sun is producing solar flares bigger than any other time in history. These flares are causing the earth’s core to heat at a rapid pace which will eventually cause the planet’s crust to detach and shift. Adrian informs the white house chief of staff Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt) who in turn arranges a meeting with President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover). Six months later, now 2010, President Wilson meets with the leaders of other countries to inform them what has been found once all of the data had been validated. Before long it is 2012 and we find out that all of these nations have been secretly working together to build arcs to rescue a portion of the world’s populace as well as animals “2X2” and a host of other artifacts from our current civilization.


Soon we are introduced to a myriad of other characters starting with Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) who is a divorced father of two and a failed author that makes his current living as a limo driver for a very wealthy Russian man. When Jackson takes his children on a camping trip in an attempt to reconnect with them; they start to experience odd natural occurrences and meet Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), a conspiracy theory type of eccentric nut that explains his theory of what is happening and his knowledge of the arcs to a very reluctant Jackson. Not long after, Jackson realizes that Charlie’s predictions are coming true and the only hope he has to save his family is to find the location of the arcs and get his family there before the entire planet comes down on top of them.


Overall I enjoyed this movie and would recommend without preconditions to fans of the genre, audiophiles and videophiles. The performances were pretty consistent throughout the film with Woody Harrelson and Oliver Platt standing out; of course I believe these two to be extremely underrated actors already. I have not seen many movies with Chiwetel Ejiofor with the exception of Serenity, Children of Men and now 2012 however; I have to say I am impressed with his cool, steely yet very genuine persona. I hope someone finds the right vehicle for this man because I personally think he could be great. The rest of the cast gave fair performances but nothing to write home about either.


My critiques are around two areas. The first is the pace of the film. At 158 minutes, this movie is too long. The first two thirds of the movie seem to be fairly consistent and other than a couple of sappy “goodbye” scenes, the pace moves along quite nicely. The last third of the movie shifts gears drastically and turns into more of a ‘Poseidon’ type of adventure movie which wouldn’t have been bad but when compared to the quick and frantic action of the first two thirds of the movie, it really appeared to drag on. Additionally, I felt that there was a lot of filler that was absolutely unnecessary and only added to the lull that carried through the entire last act of the movie at which point I started to get annoyed and asking myself if this movie would ever end.


My second critique is regarding the social commentary which I personally thought was a bit too much. We get it. Money and power have the ability to corrupt people and governments. It has been going on since the Roman Empire and has gotten increasingly worse ever since, especially over the last 40-50 years. The state of the global economy today was caused by greedy, power hungry and corrupt bankers, politicians, etc. Like I said, we get it. Now I understand the need to relate to something that is currently going on in order to better connect with the audience, I just think it was a little too much. It could also be that the majority of it came out during the final act which was already dragging, either way it stood out a little too much for my taste.

If you know these things going in and don’t have a problem with it you will probably be alright. Then again, my guess is that if you’re reading a Bluray review on “The Shack”, it’s more about the A/V anyway.


Rating
I think the rating is appropriate and it should be respected. Seeing the world being destroyed can be very traumatizing and extremely frightening for younger viewers who don’t understand what is really going on in the movie. Older children, 10-12, are very impressionable and could be persuaded to buy in to the whole Mayan calendar thing and also be negatively affected by it. Special effects have come a long way in the past 20-30 years and I think parents have to be more mindful of what they let younger viewers see. I was about 12 when I saw 'The Day After' and still have a clear vision of how bad it messed with me.


Video
This is where the review gets tricky. 2012 is encoded with an AVC MPEG-4, 1080p transfer with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This transfer looks brilliant. Colors have superb hues and blacks and grays have tremendous depth to them. There is no noise to speak of and the level of detail throughout the movie is absolutely superb, which leads me to the problem I had. The special effects in the movie are extremely realistic looking most of the time however; there are some scenes where the CGI is more apparent on the Bluray than the standard definition digital copy such as when California is being torn apart by a monster earthquake. It wasn't the destruction that looked odd but the car driving through it that looked animated. Again, this is definitely a solid transfer and the special effects are jaw dropping even with the minor instances I mentioned.












Audio
Wow! That’s really all I can say about the DTS-HD Master Audio codec on this disc. The destruction and carnage are so well represented on the Bluray that Audiophiles should sprint to the nearest store and buy this disc. The lows are aggressive and throaty; you really get the impression of the world coming down around you. The dialogue is crisp and clear and the mix is spacious and very well balanced with plenty of attention given to all channels. The surrounds are very active and actually quite intriguing when the activity coming from those speakers collide with the almost offensive rumble of an earthquake ripping up the landscape. This mix is definitely in my top five Bluray for reference audio and will probably be in yours once you hear it.


Extras
I opted for the two disc special edition which actually turned out to be three discs counting the digital copy. It was five-dollars more than the single disc edition which I felt was worth it to get the digital copy. There are a lot of extras here and I did not get through all of them, I’m not an Adam Lambert fan, but what I did see was fairly interesting.
Disc One: Two commentaries are about equal in content but, one is a PIP version with Roland Emmerich only. I didn’t find either to be that riveting.
The Alternate Ending was alright to watch but I didn’t think it would have fit very well.
Miscellaneous trailers, movieIQ and BD-Live round things out.
Disc Two: Deleted Scenes, Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic, Music Video, Interactive Mayan Calendar, Designing the End of the World, Science Behind the Destruction, The End of the World: The Actor's Perspective, Making of the Music Video, Countdown to the Future, More Trailers.
The deleted scenes were forgettable but ‘Designing the End of the World’ was an interesting featurette.
Disc Three: Digital Copy (Yeah) Sony has the right idea, offer two editions. A digital copy is worth $5 more and if someone doesn't want all of the extras, they can buy a less feature laden edition. I'm sure that it is cost prohibitive to have multiple editions for every movie but, it still really annoys me when there is no digital copy offered.
Overall
Overall I enjoyed the end result and I think this Bluray is well worth owning for any audiophile, videophile or fan of the utter destruction of the planet earth. It may not be a movie that warrants repeat viewings of the full feature on a regular basis but there are scenes that will definitely find their way into the demonstration rotation when your show off your system to your friends. I am going to watch it again this weekend and may update this review if anything glares out at me but in the end I think the Bluray is well worth the price.





Regards,
Dale Rasco




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post #2 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 10:12 AM
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Re: 2012-BluRay Review

A brilliantly thorough review, but I've got to say it -- no matter how good-looking this Blu-ray may be and no matter how many extras they pack on there, it is one stupid flick with some atrocious acting. I saw 2012 in theaters with my family and barely made it through with my sanity in check. Ugh.
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post #3 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012-BluRay Review

Brando, would you agree that the movie would have worked had it been about 45 minutes shorter? Just curious.
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 10:30 AM
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Re: 2012-BluRay Review

I dont think shortening the movie would have helped. I thought the special effects were great but way over the top and for that unrealistic by a long shot. The older Russian and slutty female story line was the dumbest part and had no barring on the movie and really ruined it for me. The Day After Tomorrow was far better.
I bought the BluRay even though I saw it in the theaters as my kids really want to see it (have not watched the BlyRay yet) and I am sure the audio and picture quality are show off material so for that I picked it up plus it came in a deluxe tin box 3disc edition for $26CAD.

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post #5 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012-BluRay Review

I didn't expect much from the acting but I never do on a movie like this one which probably why it didn't bother me much. I still enjoyed Woody and Oliver Platt though. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.
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post #6 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 10:48 AM
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Re: 2012-BluRay Review

I definitely agree that shortening the film 45-60 minutes would have helped, but cutting the entire 158 minutes would have been better.
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post #7 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 2012-BluRay Review

Quote:
Brando wrote: View Post
I definitely agree that shortening the film 45-60 minutes would have helped, but cutting the entire 158 minutes would have been better.
Now that was funny!

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Dale Rasco




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post #8 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 11:36 AM
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Re: 2012-BluRay Review

Quote:
tonyvdb wrote: View Post
I dont think shortening the movie would have helped. I thought the special effects were great but way over the top and for that unrealistic by a long shot. The older Russian and slutty female story line was the dumbest part and had no barring on the movie and really ruined it for me. The Day After Tomorrow was far better.
I bought the BluRay even though I saw it in the theaters as my kids really want to see it (have not watched the BlyRay yet) and I am sure the audio and picture quality are show off material so for that I picked it up plus it came in a deluxe tin box 3disc edition for $26CAD.
This doesnt bode well for me then. I didnt think much of The Day After Tomorrow, Avatar was JC's worst work IMO and this looks and sounds like more of the same to me
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post #9 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 01:35 PM
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Re: 2012-BluRay Review

Nice review Dale, personally I liked the movie, typical Roland Emmerich over the top disaster movie but the PQ and SQ through my system was stunning, we all know what to expect from movies like this which is that they are a typical popcorn flick and I dont mind them
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post #10 of 21 Old 03-04-10, 03:53 PM
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Re: 2012-BluRay Review

Great review Dale. I'm a huge fan of disaster movies, and having successfully left my brain at the door in theaters, I'm sure the Blu-Ray is no different). I see this as good demo material rather than a good "film".
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