Scott Marks 3 p.m., Dec. 18
Roland Emmerich's widest view of disaster to date: the sky-high eruption of Yellowstone (Old Faithful gone Vesuvius), the toppling of the Washington Monument and St. Peter's Basilica (the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower would be so old-hat), the block-by-block collapse of Los Angeles (a rented limo outrunning the spreading crevasses and sinkholes, dodging the crumbling high-rises and overpasses), the monster tsunamis that engulf the White House and even, very far from sea level, the Himalayas. All of that is quite something — quite a lot of things — to see. And the plot attempt to update, to technologize, to science-fictionalize the Biblical story of Noah's Ark is something worth trying. The human drama, such as it is, strives to be no more than serviceable. As elsewhere in Emmerich's oeuvre (Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day after Tomorrow, chiefly), the degree of glee in the destruction appears more than equal to any shock and awe in it. And a viewer might well rebel at a test of his humanity measured by his willingness to hold his breath for the survival of the star of a Hollywood blockbuster, and never mind the billions who missed the literal boat. Still, in the inadequacy of its response to its chosen subject matter, in its merry refusal to think about the unthinkable, in its whistling past the graveyard, the film after all seems only human. Strange to say about an FX extravaganza. John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Oliver Platt. 2009.
— Duncan Shepherd
- Rated PG-13 | 2 hours, 38 minutes
- Official website