March 2nd 2010 marked the arrival of the big budget movies on Blu-ray this year, with the Sony Pictures release 2012.
This epic disaster movie ponders if mankind even has a future after cataclysmic events from an ancient Mayan prophecy.
The sun has gone into a new strange phase and neutrinos are heating the Earth’s core at an alarming rate.
Lakes are drying up and Los Angeles is suffering small tremors on a regular basis.
Meanwhile author turned limo driver Jackson Curtis is taking his family out on a camping trip, only to discover ‘the truth’ from a rambling crackpot radio announcer.
Can Jackson and his family escape the destruction as Los Angeles slides into the Pacifc?
Will they uncover the obligatory international government conspiracy to protect the wealthy and elite from the end of times?
Certainly the film makers have gone to great lengths here to present an exciting movie, but in reality it runs too long and the destruction of the planet’s icons becomes monotonous after a while.
They could easily have slashed millions off the special effects budget by making a tighter two hour movie.
In addition, while sometimes it is fun to turn the brain off and munch on the popcorn, this movie took the suspension of belief thing to a whole new level – so much so that it just fails to be even close to credible.
On the other hand, this film features top notch practical and computer generated special effects which are on a scale never previously seen.
The cast is also a pretty decent ensemble, including John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Woody Harrelson and Chjwetel Ejiofor.
2012 was directed by Roland Emmerich, famous for epic special effects movies including The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day, as well as factually loose period pieces like The Patriot.
Emmerich promises that this will be his last disaster flick.
The movie was given a a bit of a hard hard time by critics – it earned a Rotten Tomatoes score of 39% and IMDb score of 6.1/10, which I think is a pretty fair assessment.
2012 had a strong run at the cinema, reaching $166.1M at the US box office.
The video on the disc is an AVC 1080p encode at 22 Mbps, and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.40:1.
The movie looks great, as you would expect from such a high budget production.
For full resolution PNG screen captures taken directly from the disc, check out the details page for 2012.
The main audio is lossless DTS-HD Master Audio with 5.1 channels – 24 bits resolution at 48 kHz.
The disc is a dual layer BD50, with 41.7 GB used and is coded for All Regions.
Supplements for this title include Bonus View Picture in Picture streams and BD Live Network features.
The BD exclusive movieIQ feature allows movie details to be researched as the movie plays.
The Picture-in-Picture option features the director’s Vision, including pre-visualization, storyboards and behind-the-scenes footage, as well as interviews with cast and crew.
The first disc also features a commentary with writer/director Roland Emmerich and co-writer Harald Kloser.
Additionally an alternate ending that is a little more sugar coated than the theatrical version is present on the first disc.
Most of the special features are on the second dedicated supplemental disc.
There is a small selection of deleted scenes where good choices to be removed from the movie.
BD Java is put to good use in the Interactive Mayan Calendar where you can enter a date to reveal your horoscope and find your Mayan personality profile based on your birth date.
There is also a short featurette that covers the Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar and the extensive cycles that it includes.
The Designing the End of the World featurette is the main making of documentary, and it largely covers the computer generated and practical special effects that were combined to form the images on the screen.
In a lot of ways a film buff will likely find this segment is more interesting than the movie itself, especially with the scale of the practical effects used to give the film a feeling of authenticity.
The history and nature of the director is covered in the Roland Emmerich: Master of the Modern Epic featurette
The Science Behind the Destruction featurette looks into potentially plausible real causes for the disasters presented in the film.
The actors in the film take center stage in the The End of the World: The Actor’s Perspective featurette, which covers the casting and the challenges of acting in this kind of movie.
The Countdown to the Future featurette investigates the potential for the the end of the real world in 2012 due to increasingly unusual solar activity and the phases of Mayan calendar.
The Time For Miracles music video by Adam Lambert of American Idol fame is included along with a ‘making of’ feature for the video.
The Digital Copy for PSP is actually included on the supplemental Blu-ray Disc and is transferable to the PSP via a PlayStation3.
A separate DVD disc contains the Digital Copy for iTunes and Windows Media.
Whether you consider it an amazing disaster epic or an amazingly epic disaster, the two disc edition of 2012 is a great Blu-ray Disc release from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Even if the movie isn’t all that appealing to you, this disc is an excellent choice for demonstrating the capabilities of Blu-ray Disc and your home theater system.
The retail price is $39.95, or order it right now at Amazon for $24.99, saving 37%!
If you are not interested in all of the special features and the digital copy, you can find the 2012 Single Disc Version for a little less at $23.99, though I think the extras are worth the extra $1 myself.
- Picture-in-Picture: Roland’s Vision (BD Exclusive) – Includes pre-visualization, storyboards and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with filmmakers, cast and crew
- Commentary with Writer/Director Roland Emmerich & Co-Writer Harald Kloser
- Alternate Ending
- Interactive Mayan Calendar (BD Exclusive) – Enter a date to reveal your horoscope and personality profile
- Mysteries of the Mayan Calendar featurette
- Designing the End of the World featurette
- Roland Emmerich: Master of the Modern Epic featurette
- Science Behind the Destruction featurette
- The End of the World: The Actor’s Perspective featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Countdown to the Future
- “Time For Miracles” Music Video by Adam Lambert
- Making the Music Video “Time For Miracles” with Adam Lambert
- Digital Copy for PSP – included on the Blu-ray and transferable via the PlayStation®3
- Digital Copy for iTunes and PC
From Roland Emmerich, director of The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day, comes the ultimate action-adventure film, exploding with groundbreaking special effects. As the world faces a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions, cities collapse and continents crumble. 2012 brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors. Starring John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Woody Harrelson and Danny Glover.