"REPENT!" reads the crazy dude's handmade sign. The sign goes into further detail—there is, shockingly, something about the end being nigh, or near, or otherwise approaching more quickly than one would like—and it turns out Old Crazy Dude is onto something. For he and everyone else in 2012, the end is coming—in, like, 15 minutes—and those facing it should hurry with the confessions, 'cause a whole lotta shit is about to crumble and explode.
At the very least, the doomed should dig up their copies of Paradise Lost to reacquaint themselves with Pandemonium, both in the Miltonian sense (SO MUCH SMOKE AND LAVA!) and the more general sense (SO MUCH STUFF CRUMBLING AND EXPLODING!). 2012 is pure pandemonium, and it's like two and a half hours of it, and if you're not in the mood for an inane summer blockbuster in the middle of November, then move along, killjoy—no one wants you here. For the rest of us:
FIRST, there's Woody Harrelson, playing a pickle-chomping conspiracy theorist who claims the world is ending because of, I don't know, neutrinos or plate tectonics or some other bullshit. Anyway, Woody Harrelson meets John Cusack in Yellowstone and John Cusack's all, "Woody Harrelson, you so crazy." BUT THEN THE WORLD ENDS, and John Cusack's all, "Whoa! Turns out that pickle-lovin' son of a bitch wasn't so crazy after all!"
SO THEN, John Cusack loads his annoying kids and his grumpy ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and her wiener-ish new husband into a limousine and floors it so that they OUTRACE AN EARTHQUAKE, and behind them, the earthquake breaks the road into jagged chunks, which John Cusack uses as ramps so that the limousine catches some serious air! Then a sewer pipe breaks and splatters the limousine with shit, but everybody keeps their spirits up as they drive through a skyscraper and hop onto a plane and fly underneath a subway car, and in the meantime every single other person in Los Angeles screams and dies.
THEN: The Dalai Lama, Paris Hilton, 800 vaguely familiar character actors, a lot of people giving other people un-ironic thumbs ups, Bentleys launching out of cargo planes and onto Himalayan glaciers, Yellowstone turning into a volcano, President Danny Glover (side note: When did Danny Glover develop a lisp?), massive tsunamis, more explosions, people shouting "WE'RE GONNA DIEEEEEEE!", people shouting "HOOOORRRAYYYYYYYYY!", and the worst final line of dialogue in the entire history of cinema. "Magnificent" is not magnificent enough of a word to describe 2012—by the time the helicopters carrying giraffes start buzzing past the camera, the film is bizarrely, legitimately amazing to behold. 2012 is director Roland Emmerich's magnum opus.
Alas, in a recent interview with the New York Times, Emmerich gave the world some sad news. "This is my last, quote-unquote, action-disaster movie," the German director heartlessly proclaimed, turning his back on his history of illustrious works from Independence Day to Godzilla to The Day After Tomorrow. "I know I can't destroy the world again. That would be kind of a joke."
Indeed, Mr. Emmerich. Indeed. But allow me to thank you, sir, for showing us Pandemonium, one last time. I offer you a thumbs up.