Director’s Spotlight: Roland Emmerich

It’s not exactly arthouse cinema, but that’s not why you watched 2012

(Photo courtesy of Georges Biard)

By: Austin Cozicar

Roland Emmerich’s work has been criticized for being cheesy, unoriginal, and wildly unrealistic, and Peter Howell of the Toronto Star complained that Emmerich’s movie 10,000 BC deserves the “. . . Worst CGI, Most Annoying Narrator, Lamest Dialogue and Dumbest Action Hero [Awards].”

     This is not an inaccurate description. In his 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow, global warming causes an ice age to happen over the course of a few days . . . in 2004. In the film 2012, a character is reluctant to fly a plane because he’s only had a couple of flying lessons, only to turn out to be the world’s greatest pilot, expertly maneuvering a plane through catastrophic end-of-the-world stuff, like falling buildings.

     If you’re looking for deep entertainment, this is the wrong guy. But if you’re looking for a mediocre cliché-fest where a lot of cities get destroyed with a ton of CGI, look no further. Whether it’s aliens in Independence Day, Godzilla in, well, Godzilla (1998), or just the good ol’ Earth acting up. Whatever the cause, you can expect a lot of buildings to blow up, freeze, fall down, whatever. The explosions will draw you in, and the clichéd dialogue and obvious scientific flaws will keep you in your seat. Grab your popcorn, a nice cold bottle of Coke, and enjoy.

BONUS: While his 1992 action flick Universal Soldier doesn’t fit the category of his later films, it’s actually a pretty good action movie — probably better than the movies previously listed here. Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, I’d recommend a watch.