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EMAILPRINTColumbia Pictures (Sony)

2012 reviews
5.7 User Score:

Mixed or average reviews

Based on 34 critic reviews
How did we calculate this?

Based on 204 votes
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Movie Info

Genre(s): Action  |  Drama  |  Sci-fi  |  Suspense/Thriller

Written by: Roland Emmerich
Harald Kloser

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

Release Date:
Theatrical: November 13, 2009

Running Time: 158 minutes, Color

Origin: USA | Canada


RATING: PG-13 for intense disaster sequences and some language

Starring John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson

Never before has a date in history been so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments. 2012 is an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors. (Sony Pictures)

What The Critics Said

All critic scores are converted to a 100-point scale. If a critic does not indicate a score, we assign a score based on the general impression given by the text of the review. Learn more...


San Francisco Chronicle Mick LaSalle

There's something to be said for a formula picture done almost to perfection. In 2012, Emmerich gives you everything you expect, but gives it to you bigger.

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Washington Post Dan Kois

2012 takes the disaster movie -- once content simply to threaten the Earth with a comet, or blow up the White House -- to its natural conclusion, the literal end of the world.

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Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

The mother of all disaster movies (and the father, and the extended family) spends half an hour on ominous set-up scenes (scientists warn, strange events occur, prophets rant and of course a family is introduced) and then unleashes two hours of cataclysmic special events hammering the Earth relentlessly.

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Variety Todd McCarthy

The visual effects are pretty sensational, delivering the cutting-edge CGI goods auds want and expect. It will be hard to watch "Earthquake'' ever again after this one.

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Slate Dana Stevens

2012 isn't a bad movie that, out of sheer boredom, you might snicker at once or twice; it's a two-and-a-half hour laugh riot that plays on our expectations of the genre by anticipating and exceeding them.

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New York Post Lou Lumenick

As you might suspect, the 2012 dialogue is pure Velveeta.

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New Orleans Times-Picayune Mike Scott

For all of its faults, ends up being relentlessly watchable as well, a summertime popcorn spectacle plopped down in the middle of the fall movie season.

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Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

God forgive me, but I enjoyed the nerve-racking silliness of this newest, loudest exercise in destruction.

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Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

For visual noise by the ton, Emmerich is my kind of hack, the pluperfect blend of leaden self-seriousness and accidental-on-purpose self-satirist.

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Chicago Reader Cliff Doerksen

Spectacular CGI disasters.

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The Hollywood Reporter Stephen Farber

Eye-popping special effects ensure that this movie will be a smash hit, and while it's entertaining for most of its excessive running time, the cheesy script fails to live up to the grandeur of the physical production.

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Time Richard Corliss

Any sentient viewer will be able to predict every lumpy twist of this ludicrous, fitfully enjoyable movie.

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams

This long, ludicrous soap opera is also a mighty spectacle, a new standard in disengaged destruction.

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Philadelphia Inquirer Carrie Rickey

This film that imagines the end of the world not as a whimper but as an implosion is a preposterously diverting, instantly forgettable, big-screen video game.

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Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

As far as the new disaster film 2012 is concerned, the world will end with both a bang and a whimper, the bang of undeniably impressive special effects and the whimper of inept writing and characterization. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

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Portland Oregonian Marc Mohan

Although 2012 is what they call "critic-proof," it's not immune to analysis. It depicts a world where no one, man or God, has much say in what happens to the planet, and where the survival of one family outweighs the deaths of billions.

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50 Stephanie Zacharek

2012 is totally, certifiably nuts, without being quite as off-the-wall kitschy as Emmerich's last special-effects extravabanzoo, "10,000 BC."

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USA Today Claudia Puig

The movie is an undeniable visual spectacle, but just as unequivocally a cheesy, ridiculous story.

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Film Threat Rick Kisonak

If characters with more than one dimension, a plausible story and some sort of viewpoint are moviegoing musts, you may leave 2012 feeling a tad shortchanged.

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New York Daily News Elizabeth Weitzman

Doomsday views are a knockout, but the script is a real disaster.

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Village Voice Chuck Wilson

The two-hour-and-40-minute 2012 is overstuffed with special-effects, but the Curtis clan's mad dash out of town is the closest the movie gets to actually being fun.

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Miami Herald Rene Rodriguez

The last 40 minutes test your patience -- and intelligence -- in a way the rest of this big, dumb, crazy movie never does:

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Boston Globe Ty Burr

The result is a state-of-the-art multiplex three-ring circus whose special effects stagger the senses and play like a video game, whose human drama aims for the cosmic and lands waist-deep in the Big Silly.

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NPR Bob Mondello

Say this for Roland Emmerich's latest movie: It IS a disaster.

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Christian Science Monitor Peter Rainer

It occurred to me that Emmerich and Co. might be playing this whole thing for laughs. It probably occurred to them, too.

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Time Out New York Joshua Rothkopf

The set pieces are grand—gloriously dumb and never realistic enough to make you wince at the fact that billions of microscopic souls are dying before your eyes. Rather, you wince at everything else.

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The New York Times Manohla Dargis

Despite the frenetic action scenes, the movie sags, done in by multiple story lines that undercut one another and by the heaviness of its conceit.

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Austin Chronicle Marc Savlov

Where else are you going to get a chance to see the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy drift down the side of a mile-high tsunami and take out the White House? Big. Dumb. Fun.

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ReelViews James Berardinelli

Perhaps the strangest thing about 2012 is that the bad parts of the film are among the most enjoyable, because they're so over-the-top ridiculous that it's impossible not to break out laughing.

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Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

Operates in a dead zone roughly equidistant between parody and idiocy. You do get the connection between tongue and cheek, but much of the humor still goes thud.

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The New Yorker Anthony Lane

Emmerich’s main achievement is to take a bunch of excellent actors, including Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Woody Harrelson, and to prevent all of them--with the exception of Oliver Platt and a pair of giraffes--from giving a decent performance.

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Rolling Stone Peter Travers

Beware 2012, which works the dubious miracle of almost matching "Transformers 2" for sheer, cynical, mind-numbing, time-wasting, money-draining, soul-sucking stupidity.

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The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Rick Groen

As always in Emmerich's rollicking Armageddons, the cannon speaks with an expensive bang, while the fodder gets afforded nary a whimper. Of course, that's just part of disaster's simple recipe: Blow us up, then blow us off.

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The Onion (A.V. Club) Keith Phipps

2012 is ultimately only about finding new ways to topple monoliths. Only they don’t feel that new.

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What Our Users Said

The average user rating for this movie is 5.7 (out of 10) based on 204 User Votes

Note: User votes are NOT included in the Metascore calculation.

Eli W gave it a9:
I enjoyed it quite a bit. The special effects were amazing, the acting was so-so, and the story was very compelling.

John L gave it a1:
PAINFULLY HORRIBLE.... I havent seen a movie in the theaters for about 2 years before I saw this one and Im probably never going back.. There are so many things wrong with movie, I dont know where to start.. The sad thing is this could have been a great movie if they have put the right people on it.. Danny Glover as President?? Please.

Keenan S. gave it a9:
Oh come on! Why are people so mixed about this film. This film is spectacular and is one helluva ride from start to finish. You mean to tell me, you'll go see New Moon and rave about it, yet hate this film? 2012 rocks and is easily one of the best action films I've ever seen, and is definitely a huge step up from the convoluted and disappointing film The Day After Tomorrow. GO AND SEE THIS FILM AND IGNORE THE HATERS! IT ROCKS!

Julia H. gave it a0:
Well, that was 2 and a half hours of my life that I'll never get back. I couldn't wait for it to be over and found myself wishing that the earth would actually split open and swallow up the theatre so that it would be. Special effects were ridiculously over the top and the storyline was beyond predictable and cheesy. I've seen better plotlines in beer commercials. Painful.

chris B. gave it a2:
Are you kidding? 2 and a half hours.. 8 dollars... and 3 planes barely taking off as the runway collapses later... im still bored.. This reminded me more of a movie spoof than an original thriller. Special effects weren't bad but it lacked any sort of captivating story or believable scenarios.

Bryan K gave it a6:
After not seeing a film for over two months, I sat down to Roland Emmerich's newest disaster film, 2012. The film was overall a very well designed motion picture. The acting from the cast came off as more realistic than in other films of this genre including "The Core" (2003). John Cusack was excellent in the main role while Woody Harrelson came off as more if a parody than a serious character. The only reason this film would not a 10 out of 10 involves the special effects. In disaster movies it appears CGI has taken over and replaced the classic model based effects. During the 1970's at the height of the disaster these effects were common, even some of the late 90's disaster films like "Volcano" used these effects. After a while, the disasters becoming annoying because its obvious it was created in a computer system and not by people by hand. Their is not feeling of what could be considered realism in this film. As a disaster film it was pretty well done , for now, but as an masterpiece in the genre as some have claimed, it isn't. It's a decent film, nothing more, nothing less.

Kate M gave it a1:
Just another movie about what America would look like in a disaster, with the occassional mention of what's happening in other countries, but, as usual, it all happens in the USA and the comic relief characters are those crazy foreigners, of course. It suffers from a problem that many films have, which is that it tries to be both a kids and an dults film at the same time. It has too much swearing to be a disney movie and not enough gore to be plausible. Too many close calls, typical main characters (almost exactly like War of the Worlds) and is dragged out for far too long. The worst part is the whole humanity BS the geologist guy goes on about. The best part is the graphics.

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