Monday, September 20, 2010

2012 movie review

I finally got around to seeing the movie 2012; it's not bad. The acting and script are a bit ropey (or downright terrible in places), but the cinematics and direction are noteworthy. But to enjoy the movie I had to turn off a whole chunk of my brain - the logical science based bit.

A quick recap of the plot - a scientist discovers that the Earth's core is heating up which will lead to disaster for the planet. The world's governments get together and start plotting a solution which leads to a big engineering scheme in China. Jump a few years and our hero a divorced father of two limo driver learns about this scheme and determines that he's going to save his family. And that's it, but with lots of destruction and things going boom and tender heart-warming scenes.

Now we get into spoilers and the parts that made my brain ache. Non sciencey ones first - the sheer level of coincidence.

Our hero published a book that happens to deal with a 'what would happen if we had to save only a fraction of our population'. This had a run of only 400-odd and yet not only is this book being read by the lead geologist in this conspiracy, but they happen to meet up at one of the monitoring stations at which they've both only just arrived at.

This monitoring station itself is being monitored by a conspiracy theorist who approaches our hero afterwards and happens to have a map of where they've built the rescue ships given to him by someone whom our hero used as a scientific source for his book.

Then our hero drives some obnoxious rich Russian brat twins to an airport where they state they're escaping on a "big ship" and he's going to be left to die. Our hero puts all this information together and springs into action.

Having chartered a plane and picked up his kids, ex-wife and her new husband our hero arrives back to find  the pilot dead, good job the new husband has had a few flying lessons.

Flying to the conspiracy theorist to get the map they find he's not at home, but after driving around in his camper van they spot him. Good job he didn't stray too far while in the 3,500 square mile park.

Landing at another airport they catch up to the obnoxious twins their father and his girlfriend who's plane is out of action. Hey look another plane, and the Russians want to leave without our hero. Oh wait it needs two pilots so they have to take them along. This plane contains various models of brand new cars. The brats mention their father ordered one of these particular models that was going to arrive next month but he'd cancelled the order (remember this)

While flying to China they can't land to refuel so they're going to have to ditch in the sea. However thanks to the disaster the whole crust has displaced and their destination has moved towards them allowing them to crash land on the snow closer to the ships.

During the crash land the majority plan to escape out the back in one of the cars. But oh no the engine doesn't start until the Russian father leans over and commands "Engine start" it's a voice activated car that happens to be the one that he cancelled and happens to be positioned closest to the exit.

Having escaped they wonder what to do now at which point a group of transport helicopters fly over. One lands and picks up the Russians sans girlfriend.

Traipsing through the snow our group meet some locals who happen to have a brother working at the site who's going to sneak them in.

Now I've counted roughly 14 coincidences there and that's not the end of the faults.

Having jumped over the no trespassers fence at Yellowstone our hero and his kids find a dried up lake and some test equipment. Then the military turn up in two jeeps and a helicopter. Instead of just turfing them out they then take them to the base to meet the boss (the guy who turns out to have read our hero's book) who then gives them a plausible story about cordoning off the area due to instability that could have been given by the military on site. There's also an implication here that he only lets them go because he's reading that book.

Having reached the conspiracy theorists camper van and finding him missing rather than check the radio equipment to see if it can transmit to him or even bother to look around the van for the map our hero and his daughter, who insisted on tagging along, drive off to find him.

On breaking into the ship the group manage to jam the entrance door gears by accident preventing them from closing. This causes water to enter the area and the flood doors come down trapping the girl in the far compartment, the Russian girlfriend in the middle, and the rest at the entrance door. When our hero manages to unjam the gears those watching on the bridge lose contact. Oh no! And then he reappears and everyone whoops with joy. Yeah let's forget that the only reason for all this was because THEY jammed the doors and most importantly they missed out the tender reunion scene when the flood doors open and the little girl runs into her family's arms and they embrace over the cold dead body of the Russian girlfriend who'd drowned in the middle compartment.

Onto logical or scientifically wincing moments.

The film starts with a neutrino detecting site buried deep in a copper mine. So far so good neutrinos are sub-atomic particles that barely interact with matter so you have to shield any detectors from false readings. However they've been detecting more neutrinos in conjunction with solar flares. Nope neutrinos are created through nuclear reaction, solar flares don't create more of them.

These are special neutrinos they're heating up the water (used for detection) they're "acting like microwaves"Sorry but if they're doing that then they're not neutrinos.

During the earth crust displacement that proves so handy for our hero the magnetic poles also shift and reverse. Yep that's plausible except by what means are our heroes navigating the plane? Satellite positioning, with all these solar flares and the fact that the system is run by the US Military who can turn off all civilian use when they want?

Onto the design of the ships. Four are being built in one site in China. Now the built-in China I applaud it's one of the only places that such a large scale facility could be created with a workforce that wouldn't be picked up by the media. Except all of them in just the one area. Talk about eggs and baskets.

These ships have been built with really big ramps at the rear to load cargo and when I say big I mean airlifting giraffes into the ship level of huge. There's no need for these size of doors beyond giving us a plot point in the film. Also they can't start the engines until the doors are closed. You're kidding me.

Now these ships are built to withstand the force of a tsunami coming towards them so they're supported in place by giant struts. So they're extended off the building support struts outside the mountain in which they've been housed to be put outside on another set of struts so they can experience the full force of the wave coming in to hit them.

Oh and just for fun they're all parked next to each other too.

No doubt there are others I've just blotted out. But ignore all that and every single person in the film and just admire the explosions and near-miss collisions etc. they really are very well done.