John Cusack, plays the lead in his usual affable bloke manner, but he's no Dennis Quaid, he isn't a born action man. He's playing a loser, an unsuccessful writer who works as a chauffeur for a Russian billionaire. Separated from his wife and children, they treat him as the waste of space he is. But from this no-hoper, something truly small, but heroic grows. Even the wife's impressed. Her current husband, who has barely passed his pilots license, ends up flying escalating sizes of airplane, until he's lost in the final reel, minced and mangled between some rather large cogs. The wife recovers from this ghastly loss with quite unseemly haste. He was a nerd anyway, it seems to say. But then there was another rather super special effect building up off screen, that you wouldn't want to miss. This is only one of a number of quite tastelessly executed moments. The other honker being when the director of the Louvre is assassinated by a car crash, in the self same tunnel as was Lady Diana!
The film is way way too long at two and a half hours. I lost interest about two thirds of the way through, as I was compelled to watch the umpteenth nail biting cliffhanger. One did become exhausted with the heavy handed nature of Emmerich's never ending series of emotional upheavals. Also, as the apocalypse progressed the storyline began to take on an increasingly ludicrous tone. I remember precisely when I emotionally checked out, and surrendered to my disbelief. It was when the helicopters towing giraffes and elephants under them, heaved themselves into view across the snow swept Tibetan Himalayas. I mean come on, those animals would be either frozen to death, or traumatised for life, if you did that to them. But there were things still more improbable yet to come. 2012 was a bit like being forced to have all night sex,with a person you no longer love, after a while you just can't get it up any more.