Pre-warned is exactly how I felt when I sat down to watch 2012. It's as if the small print on the poster said 'Get comfortable, you will be here for a while ...rather a long while; your intelligence will be insulted at regular intervals...and yet you will find it difficult not to feel for the most part entertained'.
Amused too, I might add, for Roland Emmerich's movie is probably best appreciated as a semi-intended comedy.
Dr K's theory is that the reason it is here at all in Q4 2009 has absolutely nothing to do with the cosmological mathematics of Guatemala's indigenes (which is axiomatically correct, as Sheldon would say.) and everything to do with accountancy. For the producers need to maximise revenues across all media from celluloid to DVD and this will take approximately three calendar years to achieve.
The Maya don't get much of a look in here, though we are treated to a news report showing a neat circle of apparently indigenous elders who have picked the main acropolis of Tikal as the ideal spot for a mass suicide. The news hack makes reference to the troubling prophecies of the Quiche as opposed to the Quiché, which is a bit like the bothersome tendency of English football commentators of referring to Kaká as Caca. (How very gauché you might say.)
Yes it's long, and even longer when you realise that you going to have to watch its most destruction-laden sequences in slow motion action-replay mode. (...if only to spot the product placement for Comcast which tumbles into the chasm with the rest of LA.)
These tend to involve the family we care about (barely) driving through highly elaborate and fluid catastrophes where the term 'near miss' is debased to the point of geeky frivolity. It's as if the director periodically feels the need to run his characters through a CGI simulation of the end of the world where the sense of hazard is comprehensively diminished by its own prodigiality.
As well as being highly detailed, some of these effects are rather ropey: a special mention here must go to the fiery outbursts from the 'Yellowstone Caldera'.
Character is not this movie's strong point either. It's as if the writers said to themselves 'OK, apart from the obligatory divorced couple and two kids, who else can we include in this mess?' Zlatko Buric's Russian kleptocrat Yuri Karpov is a welcome addition to the mix whose fate is handled appropriately, but this is not so for several others who either survive undeservedly (as far as genre tradition might dictate) or die quite horribly simply because they're in the way at the time.