What is absolutely assured is that with last weekend's blockbuster release, Roland Emmerich's 2012 will live past the Mayan Long Count calendar to see a sequel, though rumors are being thrown around faster than falling buildings in front of escaping limos and airplanes, that the big sequel may come in the form of a television series rather than on the silver screen.
Makes lots of sense when you consider that the hype for 2012 just might be true. This indeed may be the end-all-be-all of disaster flicks and after leaving the theater (on the 27th day of the new world) the most disastrous thing anyone can imagine AFTER the end of the world is Adam Lambert's attempt at a power ballad (A Time for Miracles) over closing credits. So the producers have that one covered too.
Roland Emmerich has succeeded in doing with 2012 what all other catastrophe movies have seemed to miss since the 70s, making far fetched spectacle work with ernest performances and mostly intelligent dialogue. The requisites for success and failure in this genre have only a very thin dividing line but the actors here make you feel like they're showing up on a project they believe in and are proud of - and the result are characters that pull back from caricature and become real people you care about and, more importantly, like. (With perhaps, the one exception of Woody Harrelson's broad comic turn as a nut-job conspiracy spouting independent radio broadcaster. Funny, but very cliché.)
It's a small group of actors that have nailed this balancing act but a proud group to be associated with. John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt and (terrific performances in challenging kid roles) Liam James and Morgan Lily, now join the company of the classic performances the likes of Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway (The Towering Inferno), Gene Hackman, Shelly Winters, Red Buttons (The Poseidon Adventure), and Burt Lancaster, George Kennedy and Jack Lemmon (the Airport franchise). Not bad company.
Because of lousy movies and lousy moviemakers, disaster films have gotten stuck with a "B" movie status. 2012 is class "A" moviemaking from the opening shot. We applaud Roland Emmerich for taking big chances with big budgets and for seeming to have such unabashed fun with it all. 2012 would have been an enormous hit whenever it was released but it's not a bad way to end the decade and 2009's blockbuster, and perhaps record breaking, box-office run at the movies.