2012 (12A)

Roland Emmerich (158 mins), starring John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton
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The Independent Culture

Roland Emmerich is the Cassandra of disaster movies. You want to see doom-mongering predictions of how the Earth might end – Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow? Emmerich is your man.

His latest is an attempt to outdo them all, a forewarning of the greatest apocalypse that computer graphics can muster. Three years from now, solar anomalies have destabilised the Earth's crust and caused a calamitous shift in the tectonic plates: cue massive earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and mountain-size tsunamis. We're talking global meltdown (and God help the London Olympics) unless you can get to the site where ark-like escape vessels are about to launch. That's where writer-cum-chauffeur John Cusack is heading with his estranged family – all fractures great and small here – outrunning the fast-collapsing scenery by limo, by plane, by camper van. In between the explosions and quakes you sometimes hear snatches of the script, and then wish you hadn't: it's the usual medley of mawkish self-sacrifice, I-love-you-dad avowals and the determination to make a new world from the ruins of the old. Oh, the humanity!