Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 Doomsday

When reviewing a movie like this one, I like to watch the DVD with a notebook in hand. That way, I can pause while I scribble notes and rewind to capture the more hilarious quotes. Such is not the case this time; I sat down to watch what looked to be a lame end-of-the-world thriller from The Asylum(Mega Piranha, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Transmorphers, Titanic II), only to discover it was in fact "a modern Christian epic in the tradition of The Omega Code" from The Asylum and Faith Films(Meteor Apocalypse, Sunday School Musical). I didn't make notes, so this review won't be quite as thorough and nit-picky as I like to be. I had to review it, though. Too good an opportunity to miss!

2012 Doomsday stars a group of unknowns as a bunch of half-dimensional characters in a mad rush to get to the pyramids at Chichen Itza before Doomsday. The year is 2012, when the Mayan long count calendar ends, and according to a bunch of prophecies (both Mayan and Christian) the Biblical End Times are upon us. If those characters don't get to Chichen Itza in time... well, that would be one of the plot problems right there.

You see, the Doomsday stuff (earthquakes, tsunamis, hail) are going to happen regardless of what any of them do. One character discovers the Earth's rotation is slowing down due to its alignment with the black hole in the centre of the galaxy, which will result in all manner of poorly animated CGI. The 'heroes' aren't going to stop anything by getting to the pyramid, and the consequences of their failure is never made clear.

All the characters (if you must know, the main ones are Susan, Sarah, Lloyd, Wakanna and Frank) have their own reasons for their pyramid race, ranging from good to lame to WTF. Frank found a crucifix in a Mayan archaeological dig, and a translated inscription reveals he must get it to Chichen Itza. Wakanna is about to give birth, and believes God wants her to have the baby in the pyramid. Susan and Sarah are sent by a feeling they can't explain, and Lloyd goes because Sarah is his daughter. Bad things happen to them along the way, and they all end up getting Faith.

2012 Doomsday is a terrible movie, with absolutely nothing with which to redeem itself. The writing is awful, in terms of dialogue, story points and logic. The actors sleepwalk through their parts, but one can't blame them; there is nothing remotely interesting about their characters. Their motivations are unclear, their interactions contrived, and character arcs range from predictable to non-existent.

Most scenes begin with text at the bottom of the screen, indicating how many hours remain until Doomsday. You'd expect that clock to tick steadily downwards, but it does not. Some scenes indicate only 8 hours remain, only to tell us 14 hours remain in the next scene. Was there a problem in the editing room, or is this just stupidity?

One scene that gave me a chuckle involved three characters in an SUV dodging hail in Mexico (just go with it). One hailstone smashes through the windshield and goes right through the driver's chest. Luckily he manages to say the Salvation prayer before he dies. And luckily for the other two, the hailstorm stops the moment their driver is hit. And, in spite of his massive chest wound, the driver still manages to park the SUV on the side of the road! The unintended laughs are a welcome relief, because they are few and very far between.

And the end? Is all revealed, giving sense to seemingly senseless story points? As a writer, I couldn't help but try to anticipate where the movie was going. Will the crucifix turn out to be magical, and getting it to the pyramid will save the world? No. Is the pregnant woman about to give birth to a Christ-like messiah? No. The resolution the film comes up with is too lame for words. We don't even get the big special-effects payoff that the box art suggests. Instead, the Doomsday sequence is poor, cheap, and over far too quickly.

Oh, and three-quarters of the way through the film, the Rapture happens. Blink and you'll miss it. If this is the best that Faith Films can produce, they'll likely face their own doomsday soon enough.

Likely To Convert - 0
Production Values - 0
Acting/Direction - 0
Likely To Be Sat Through - 1
Unintentional Hilarity - 3
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 1

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