I said it to myself six years ago, and I stand by my stance today: every natural disaster film ever made for the rest of my life will pale in comparison to Roland Emmerich’s 2012. The pretenders will come, they’ll try to convince us their version of Mother Nature is the angriest of all times, they’ll knock over buildings by the dozen, they’ll grind hundreds of extras and millions of CG avatars into so much disaster mulch, and they’ll end with the reassurance that all the right costars will survive. None of them can hope to match Emmerich’s ludicrous audacity, the intimidating sight of America burning and sliding into the ocean, the world’s fastest limousine, the pre-Fast/Furious car-jump out of a flying plane, Woody Harrelson’s free-spirit zealotry, the post-apocalyptic speech to end all post-apocalyptic speeches as delivered by future Academy Award Nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, or the bizarre fact that the movie costarred a screenwriter but was co-written by its composer.
It’s cute when someone invests a lot of money in giving one a try anyway. My mom needs reasons to get out of the house and she loves disaster movies (for her the gold standard is Earthquake), so one night I found myself at a showing of San Andreas with zero expectations and the satisfaction in knowing that sometimes I do try to be a good son.