Director: Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 B.C.)
Writers: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
Producers: Roland Emmerich, Larry J. Franco, Harald Kloser
Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Thomas McCarthy, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 158 min.
Chaos and destruction has once again raised its ugly head in the world of Roland Emmerich; as it does every couple of years or so. Except this time there is no saving grace. There is no rocket ship to destroy an asteroid. There’s no computer virus that will snuff out the impending doom and there’s no brilliant scientist to selflessly push a button that will both make a martyr out of said scientist while simultaneously saving the planet by properly aligning the earth’s core rotation. What there is is a whole lot of wonderful effects of destruction, death and mayhem; interspersed with poorly paced melodrama, nick of time airplane escapes, overly convenient problem solves, paycheck acting, famous landmarks destroyed in seconds and of course a dog rescue.
Due to a rare aligning of all the planets that only happens once every 640,000 years, unprecedented solar flares release neutrinos that heat the earth’s core to such a temperature that enormous volcanoes erupt across the globe and earthquakes so large that they can’t even be considered earthquakes. These ruptures rip apart continents and literally turn the world upside down as the magnetic poles spin around the planet before finally the south pole actually settles over what was previously Wisconsin.
Through all of this chaos are the obligatory characters we’ve come to expect of nearly every disaster film (by Emmerich or otherwise). Jackson Curtis is a divorced father of two trying to regenerate his writing career while he watches a new husband take over his family. On a camping trip with the kids, Jackson stumbles upon a secret gov’t operation in Yellowstone National Park and a crazy, conspiracy theorist (Woody Harrelson) who was able to predict this disaster with accuracy and give Jackson all of the information he needs to possibly save his family. In an effort to remain succinct, there is also a good hearted American president, a brilliant scientist, the slimy advisor, a few potential love interests and a couple of other random civilians given to us for more dramatic impact – which lands mostly on your ass as you sit for an extra 45 minutes in the theater due to these characters.
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