I'm as surprised as the rest of you to say that 2012 isn't a total CGI disaster and I'd go as far as to say it's quite an enjoyable movie.
It really is a cinematic experience that needs to be watched on the big screen in order to appreciate the breath-taking visuals. After Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow this time around Roland Emmerich decides to annihilate a few more world famous monuments (as well as the rest of the Earth).
The iconic Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro in Brazil bites the dust, and you can either look forward to death by Sistine Chapel in Vatican City or be squashed when the Washington Monument collapses.
There's also the heavy-handed irony of the JFK battleship crushing the White House on the crest of a gigantic tidal wave.
For me the destruction seemed even more personal as the first effects of the Earth's crust moving are felt in Los Angeles and I felt oddly emotional seeing Santa Monica shelving into the ocean, freeways disintegrating and the skyscrapers of Downtown toppling into fiery chasms.
They certainly do tug at your heart-strings with the destruction of the world as we know it, but ultimately this is a family-friendly armageddon. Rather refreshingly the catastrophic circumstances aren't man-made, as the sun is the villain here and its neutrinos have caused the devastation rather than global warming or ecological neglect.
Having said all that it is a totally far-fetched and unbelievable plot, but fortunately 2012 has likable characters.
Chiwetel Ejiofor (of Serenity and Kinky Boots fame) is great as one of the scientists who discovers the world's imminent demise, whilst High Fidelity's John Cusack makes for a convincing lead family man and accidental hero.
There is a nice humour about the film too, from the voice command Bentley to Woody Harrelson's turn as a crazy survivalist radio jock predicting the end of the world. He's a joy to watch and will put a smile on your face. And for once, even the kids aren't too annoying.
I know there's no accounting for taste and even though I also enjoy movies like Precious, Fantastic Mr. Fox and documentaries like The Cove, I still love to see a good blockbuster at the cinema.
You can forgive the obvious story lines, like knowing exactly who will be killed off by the end of the film, or the blatant messages about morals, greed and being truly human and even the overly sentimental tear-jerking moments. You can forgive all this when you have a seat-of-your-pants action movie to entertain and amuse you.
2012 totally deserves four **** stars for pure escapist blockbuster fun, but I can't help but think a truly brave film studio would make a follow up to explore the 'what happens next' ramifications of a 2013 world.
It'll never happen of course, but that would make for an original story, but I suppose there'd be a lot less buildings to blow up in the sequel...