2012, starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, some cute kids, two fat kids and a cute dog, directed by Roland Emmerich (2009): 2012 takes place in a magical alternate universe where the harmless neutrinos emitted by the sun suddenly decide to turn en masse into particles that cause the Earth’s core to get even hotter than it already is. Yes, it’s another heart-warming romantic comedy from the team of producer Dean Devlin and director Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla, Independence Day).

Given that the Earth’s core is composed primarily of nickel and iron, you’d think these particles would affect nickel and iron on the surface of the Earth, and perhaps even on other planets and asteroids in the Solar System, most notably Venus and Mars, which would be getting an even denser bombardment of nu-neutrinos. Apparently, the nu-neutrinos do not affect anything else, however, because the various governments of the world manage to keep impending global catastrophe hidden from the public until approximately five minutes before the Earth’s plate tectonics and magnetic field go completely haywire, killing several billion people and relocating the South Pole to Wisconsin. But happily, throughout this process, nickel and iron not located in the Earth’s core remain completely benign and non-reactive. Apparently, the sun just has it in for Earth’s core.

Much is made of the fact that the only way to survive the end of the world is in one of the humungous super-liners being built in the Himalayas by the G-8. Yes, the fate of the world rests in the hands of the G-8. Canada even gets a couple shout-outs. Yay! As long as Ben Mulroney survives the end of the world, everything will be fine.

Our hero is John Cusack, a down-on-his-luck science-fiction writer working as a limo driver for a rich Russian guy who, having given $1 billion to the makers of the super-liners, has a ticket on-board for himself and his two fat kids but not, alas, for his hot blonde mistress. Various plot shenanigans result in John Cusack realizing that the world is going to end, not least of which is the world ACTUALLY STARTING TO END.

Yellowstone Park turns into a supervolcano with a hard-on for Woody Harrelson, a tidal wave engulfs the entire world all the way to the top of the Himalayas, most of the Earth’s surface falls about 5000 feet into oceans of lava, an aircraft carrier lands on President Danny Glover, the Washington Monument kills the Lincoln Memorial, St. Peter’s Basilica crushes several hundred praying Roman Catholics, and so on, and so forth.

Luckily, John Cusack is The Best Driver in the World and manages to outrun the destruction of California all the way to an airplane, where he passes the baton to his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, who turns out to be the Best Pilot in the World despite having had only one flying lesson. Whee!

Many scenes of mass destruction ensue, but throughout all the solar-induced mayhem, Earth’s satellite and cellphone network remains working. I told you this was an alternate universe. Eventually, most of the good people we’ve been following survive and the bad people die various terrible and/or suddenly heroic deaths. The hilarious escape scenes almost make the movie worth it — the escapes from death by land and air have all the realistic heft of a Roadrunner cartoon.

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