Roland Emmerich has made his name with various apocalypses, be it aliens in Independence Day, Godzilla stomping its way through Manhattan, death by frostbite in The Day After Tomorrow and now 2012 tops them all.
We all die, and in the middle of the end of the world he finds time to shoehorn in the estranged families and heroic canine rescue tropes we know and endure. With 2012 he has achieved his goal; he has become Death, the destroyer of worlds.
Technology plays a huge part on the effectiveness of his catastrophes, with the model work of Independence Day giving way to the obliteration of the White House in 2012 by the JFK aircraft carrier – just one of the moderately sized set pieces which his CGI team throw our way. On Blu-ray it looks incredible, and the enhanced resolution allows the busy annihilation of the cities to be rendered in great detail.
I was able to watch as the helpless and hapless meet their maker in a cornucopia of carnage, with tiny buildings crumbling and miniature explosions populating the epic destruction. If you are going to see this one, and you have the hardware, then Blu-ray is the way to go.
Most film benefit from HD, 2012 practically necessitates it. The only reason to see this film is to watch the world ending in glorious Doom-o-vision and the scale of the devastation means that much of the detail is lost, particularly on a smaller screen. There is nothing in the characters which will engage; dialogue and narrative in Emmerich’s films often play second fiddle to the visuals and bombast but here the collection of plucky souls and stereotypes lack any engagement at all, and so we are left with a beautiful, hollow spectacle.
The Blu-ray extras are outstanding. If you want to see Roland Emmerich talk his way through the film, complete with storyboards and pre-vis pop outs, then you’re in luck with a Picture in Picture mode which is an enjoyable, if slightly geeky, way to watch the film.
As with most of Sony’s releases the Blu-ray incorporates the BD-Live service with MovieIQ functionality, meaning you can get all the info on the cast and crew as well as learning exactly when and where the world will end (I made that bit up).
2012 is a very long and silly film, but it has been polished up very nicely and looks great in HD, although this polish won’t help you enjoy the ridiculous nature characters and the cinematic lethargy which plagues the film, but if your idea of a good time is to watch billions suffer and die in the company of John Cusack then this, truly, is the film for you.
Here’s a HD trailer to get you in the mood.
2012 comes to Blu-ray and DVD on the 29th of March and here are the extras you can expect on the Blu-ray.
- Picture-In-Picture: Roland’s Vision-Includes Pre-Visualization, storyboards and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with filmmakers, cast and crew
- Commentary with Writer/Director Roland Emmerich and Co-Writer Harald Kloser
- Deleted Scenes
- Interactive Mayan Calendar – Enter a date to reveal your horoscope and personality profile! Delve even further into the secrets by watching Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar
- ‘A very silly, but with less Pull-Ups’ Alternate Ending
- Designing The End Of The World – an excellent SFX documentary looking into key scenes in the film.
- Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic
- Science Behind The Destruction
- The End Of The World: The Actor’s Perspective
- movieIQ and BD-Live connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie!