Cusack slumming it in blockbuster territory.

Roland Emmerich is as frustrating a director as you’re ever likely to find, best rivalled in this by the insufferable Michael Bay; both directors are capable of crafting an epic scope and visually stunning scenes of carnage, but neither can seem to work with anyone capable of knocking out a solid script. Emmerich’s latest disaster film, 2012, with all of its grandeur and odd moments of narrative cohesion, is a reminder that if he hired someone who could actually write, he’d probably have a great film on his hands.

2012 is not a great film, nor is it even a particularly good one, but it is easy to argue that it delivers the basic goods, just like his previous disaster films Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow; it is a mixed bag of good and bad, with the bad fleeting between bearably cringe-worthy and horrendously overpowering. As a summation of Emmerich’s various talents and flaws as a director, the film is a suitable travelogue, for it is aesthetically pleasing and chaotic, but also cheesy and overlong. It does offer a rare quality for Emmerich, though; a little food for thought, with a distinct air of nihilism permeating throughout this film, even if he does typically resolve to the supposed innate goodness of humankind.