Dir: Roland Emmerich
Star: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt

"Windows recently downloaded and installed an important security update to help protect your computer. This update required an automatic restart of your computer." That is why this review will be shorter than usual, or perhaps just even more rambling than usual. For, having struggled once to come up with the appropriate verbiage to describe this, only to have my work wiped out by Bill Gates, I am significantly disinclined to do it all over again. The main thrust was two-fold. Firstly, how the phrase "disaster porn" was entirely apt for this - though I did also like Chris's idea that it should be titled "The Luckiest Family Alive". The porn concept is because this is nothing more than a selection of set-pieces depicting mass destruction: earthquakes, volcanoes and the final money shot, a tidal-wave which turns the Himalayas into a a paddling-pool. These are the purpose of the movie, with any semblances of a meaningful plot of believable characters secondary tertiary completely accidental.

In itself, that wouldn't be a problem. If you go in to this, expecting depth or subtlety, more fool you. And it's certainly fun to watch John Cusack drive his family in a stretch limo through an exploding, disintegrating city (hence Chris's title suggestion, as this is only one of the many miraculous escapes they manage), because there's a sense of gleeful anarchy that's fun. If it had continued on its Tasmanian Devil-esque way, I'd have been happy. However, the film instead grinds to a halt once they arrive in China, where secret arks have been built, to withstand the carnage wrought after solar activity microwaves the Earth's core like a bag of popcorn. Emmerich tries to make us care about the people involved, and this was the second part of my review, for it has been an increasing problem in his output, ever since the cheerful carnage of Independence Day, which had a consistent tone of not giving a damn, and was much more fun as a result. If Emmerich would just become comfortable and stop trying to make a Real Film, I'd be a great deal happier.

[April 2010]

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