Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: 2012 Isn't Quite Earth-Shaking

Plus, Pirate Radio gently rocks, and Fantastic Mr. Fox is Certified Fresh.

by | November 12, 2009 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got a global catastrophe (2012, starring John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor) and some rock ‘n’ roll rebellion (Pirate Radio, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Bill Nighy). What do the critics have to say?



Nobody goes to a Roland Emmerich picture expecting art or realism; they go for sheer spectacle. On that level, critics say, 2012 largely delivers. However, they also note that if you enjoy character development, witty dialogue, remotely plausible science, and brevity, you’re out of luck. John Cusack stars as a sci-fi writer desperately trying to save his family from global calamity, while Chiwetel Ejiofor is the top government scientist who learns the earth is on a fast track to total destruction — just like the Mayans predicted. The pundits give Emmerich some credit: the man’s been destroying the world’s landmarks onscreen since Independence Day, and on that point, he’s still visually inventive on a grand scale. But they also say the movie’s way too long, and its characters too shallow, and its scenarios so ludicrous that it ultimately becomes overbearing. (Check out Emmerich’s Five Favorite Films, as well as this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down John Cusack’s best-reviewed movies.)


Pirate Radio

It’s an understatement to say that the mid-to-late-1960s was a revolutionary period for British rock music, and Pirate Radio is a fond, celebratory comedy about those heady times. Critics say it may not rock quite hard enough, but it’s got enough infectious good humor — and hummable tunes – to drown out objections. Loosely based upon the wacky story of the pirate station Radio Caroline, the movie tells the story of an American DJ (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who, on a boat in the North Atlantic, plays rock records all day and all of the night, much to the consternation of the staid BBC. The pundits say Pirate Radio often plays more like a collection of scenes rather than a full narrative, and the film lacks the gonzo sensibility — or the danger — of the era. Still, they also note the film works as a better-than-average nostalgia trip, with some big laughs and a fantastic soundtrack — that is, if you happen to like bands like the Who, Cream, and the Kinks. (Check out the RT staff’s favorite rock ‘n’ roll movies here.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Tag Cloud

reviews justice league Musical Marvel Studios reboot Super Bowl BBC facebook monster movies obituary deadpool hidden camera 99% Extras TCA Winter 2020 latino festival Mary Tyler Moore HBO Go WGN films Best and Worst Box Office criterion hollywood telelvision PaleyFest Sony Pictures DGA kids Logo Valentine's Day Captain marvel Mary poppins docuseries Photos DC Universe Brie Larson archives TCM A&E American Society of Cinematographers Country MSNBC kaiju golden globes zero dark thirty teaser comic VICE Watching Series stop motion TNT Chernobyl Music TV One MCU Fox Searchlight thriller USA new zealand DC streaming service See It Skip It TCA 2017 transformers Comics on TV Lifetime Pet Sematary Walt Disney Pictures dark know your critic Academy Awards docudrama razzies casting fresh Acorn TV NBC TV First Look nature diversity biography 2019 Sundance south america scorecard movies finale Columbia Pictures robots Certified Fresh harry potter medical drama IFC Epix heist movie Musicals Summer Tomatazos dceu spider-man christmas movies best australia jurassic park E! Cosplay talk show Hear Us Out Action APB FX Holiday ViacomCBS YA Star Wars rotten movies we love Paramount Plus werewolf Pride Month cancelled television Disney Plus Legendary Comedy Teen kong renewed TV shows comic books Discovery Channel mission: impossible live action cults movie Western Travel Channel die hard james bond Calendar documentary Hallmark Vudu Women's History Month parents classics Ghostbusters natural history remakes Broadway PlayStation BET anime Biopics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Hulu golden globe awards Lucasfilm cancelled Rom-Com cooking Rocky Crackle jamie lee curtis Pirates OneApp psychological thriller Alien New York Comic Con ghosts Cartoon Network Masterpiece NYCC news aliens crime thriller laika PBS sitcom 2020 Stephen King TLC Reality award winner Tubi Shondaland Disney Channel spinoff LGBTQ YouTube Premium Fantasy Mudbound Television Critics Association Drama saw animated YouTube breaking bad Universal Opinion Trophy Talk spanish 72 Emmy Awards Quiz women halloween tv what to watch crossover Infographic Britbox cancelled TV series Ellie Kemper foreign Reality Competition cartoon CW Seed crime drama all-time The Academy travel Elton John Paramount comedies Fall TV prank witnail USA Network Freeform Film marvel cinematic universe chucky ABC Signature Pop cats Avengers Bravo rotten concert 2021 Red Carpet Lifetime Christmas movies streaming movies king kong Tumblr 007 Star Trek IFC Films directors TBS stand-up comedy target Horror Countdown police drama LGBT binge book adaptation sports TCA Awards Martial Arts boxing Grammys composers cancelled TV shows spain blockbusters streaming Set visit japanese scene in color 24 frames Film Festival Turner Classic Movies boxoffice video on demand X-Men TV renewals TV Land Sci-Fi zombies OWN MTV satire worst movies El Rey FOX Premiere Dates VOD Emmys Black Mirror CNN CMT emmy awards The Walt Disney Company game show french Nominations doctor who blaxploitation Interview canceled TV shows space superman Ovation Podcast scary movies period drama godzilla cars politics Superheroes Oscars Character Guide Comedy Central high school CBS name the review series Classic Film black mockumentary 2016 Starz Winners San Diego Comic-Con screen actors guild independent Apple Holidays Polls and Games Pacific Islander ITV RT21 trailers DC Comics versus toy story Spike BET Awards vampires 2018 Thanksgiving romantic comedy Cannes Baby Yoda Showtime critics revenge discovery superhero Mary Poppins Returns science fiction international Arrowverse Food Network worst CBS All Access Winter TV dogs miniseries 21st Century Fox Emmy Nominations First Reviews Amazon dragons Pop TV adaptation GIFs aapi Disney game of thrones television indiana jones romance FXX Song of Ice and Fire documentaries Christmas AMC Apple TV Plus free movies Shudder war GLAAD Kids & Family Year in Review indie DirecTV Paramount Network richard e. Grant social media toronto Binge Guide Funimation historical drama WarnerMedia A24 technology 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Fox News Rock football nbcuniversal comiccon Sundance Now cops theme song based on movie rt archives Warner Bros. ID anthology Syfy zombie Toys Animation dramedy Sneak Peek GoT stoner dc Writers Guild of America halloween TruTV Nat Geo rom-coms History Anna Paquin Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sundance TV pirates of the caribbean Mystery cinemax Mindy Kaling ratings Adult Swim Schedule YouTube Red mutant strong female leads Family Netflix Christmas movies elevated horror Esquire VH1 new york 4/20 Amazon Prime TV movies National Geographic Amazon Studios asian-american Creative Arts Emmys President Marvel Television Tarantino Crunchyroll The Witch venice Black History Month 20th Century Fox Heroines ABC disaster unscripted E3 video 2015 Pixar Rocketman sag awards Turner Spring TV The Arrangement festivals Video Games sequels comics serial killer 2017 Endgame Dark Horse Comics TCA lord of the rings BAFTA tv talk book nfl Trivia hist hispanic Hallmark Christmas movies TIFF Disney streaming service SDCC SundanceTV 71st Emmy Awards joker Spectrum Originals a nightmare on elm street children's TV franchise The CW green book italian child's play Lionsgate political drama crime Exclusive Video Marvel Apple TV+ Election Netflix Comic Book new star wars movies blockbuster screenings twilight Trailer spanish language FX on Hulu adventure HBO BBC One The Purge spy thriller fast and furious 45 Nickelodeon popular The Walking Dead psycho Awards Tour 93rd Oscars supernatural ESPN RT History canceled batman Peacock Marathons HBO Max Superheroe SXSW Amazon Prime Video Disney+ Disney Plus quibi slashers singing competition Image Comics ABC Family universal monsters true crime Television Academy BBC America sequel Awards