Greg Enslen and I got into an early screening of 2012 last evening.. Here is my spoiler-free review…

Directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, ID4, The Day After Tomorrow), and starring John Cusack and Amanda Peet, 2012 is a story that takes the “natural disasters foretold by an ancient calendar” angle. This world-wide cataclysm begins with the bombardment of the earth with special particle neutrinos expelled from a solar flare that heat up the earth’s core causing the earth crust to destabilize and wreak havoc, first with Los Angeles and then with the rest of the US continent.

As can be expected from a Roland Emmerich film, his massive $250 million dollar budget allows him to express jaw dropping special effects in oh so many new ways. Probably the most amusing thing for me last evening in a theater packed to capacity was actually turning around during the action scenes and seeing all of the dropped jaws and incredulous looks from viewers. This weekend if you are looking for an adrenaline-pumping, action packed film that is chock-full of amazing theatrics and VERY narrow escapes.. 2012 does fit the bill.

I included the video of the Escape from L.A. because hands down this is probably the best action sequence I have seen since Raiders of the Lost Ark. While I am sharing this clip with you, it REALLY needs to be savored on the big screen.

2012 is more than 2 hours long, but thanks to the nail biting race-for-life action, keeps the sometimes predictable sequences moving along. Emmerich keeps you from saying “that could never happen” with his amazing attention to detail. (notably when one of the towers are coming down the glass windows break and you can see little people inside clinging to desks and lamps, toilets and plumbing becoming unhinged, etc.)

While I felt that they did a good job at representing the dubious scientific causes for the worldwide destruction, they spent no time in explaining how Professor West and colleague Satnam were able to foretell the future events with such amazing accuracy. Call them.. Super-scientists!

Emmerich for some reason had a desire to express some blatant political commentary in 2012 as well as take some pot shots at religion. From getting a Kennedy back in the White House to making sure that every character who prayed for salvation was mercilously killed. He also made it clear that while the human race does survive the Apocalypse, the christian faith does not. (he did let two Buddhists survive) The movie ends with smiles and laughter even though just 1 month and 27 days earlier, 6.6 billion lives were wiped off the face of the earth.

RATING: 8 of 10 stars

If you like action films and tons of explosions and wanton destruction.. This film will blow you away! You will be disappointed if you wanted to learn more about the Mayan calendar, solar flares, the END OF DAYS.

Break-out role: Woody Harrelson as crackpot radio host Charlie Frost. Definitely the most likable and interesting character portrayal.