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2012 Blu-Ray: The End of the World?

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2012-john-cusack2012 is one of those movies I approached with trepidation. After all, we’ve seen director Roland Emmerich attempt to destroy the world on several occasions in the past (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow), and 2012 – the destruction movie to end all destruction movies – was bound to be just a graphics-heavy onslaught of… well, graphics.

And it is. 2012 is a bonanza of special effects and long, drawn out action sequences. But… it is epic. No, the script isn’t going to win any awards and the acting isn’t anything special (though Woody Harrelson hams it up as a nutty conspiracy theorist), but the action scenes are long, magnificent and exciting. The visuals are insane, some of the best of the year. The world is destroyed a hundred times over, and it is a complete and utter blast.

2012 is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray, and Sony was kind enough to send me a Blu-Ray to review. However, they sent me a single disc version, so there’s not much to review:

An Alternate Ending
The 2012 Blu-Ray includes an alternate ending, which is pretty much a longer, sappier version of the final minute of the movie. Thank God they didn’t go with this version. In this ending, it turns out that the father on the cruise ship actually survived (the ship is stuck on a giant rock). There’s lots of talking and cheesy sunsets and other goofy moments. Still, just like the terribly bad alternate ending for Emmerich’s ID4, it’s interesting to see what might have been.

Picture-in-Picture: Roland’s Vision
Here’s the perfect example of making a larger bonus feature out of a smaller one, and not necessarily for the better. The Picture-in-Picture feature allows you to watch the movie with pop-up video footage of the filmmakers discuss the characters, movie and other items that are appearing on screen; so, essentially, it’s a video commentary. However, what someone did is actually take a making-of featurette and splice it against the movie. There’s no synergy, and no added value.

Director’s Commentary
Easily the best feature on the disc – by default – is the commentary by Roland Emmerich. Not much to say, but the commentary (I listened to the first twenty minutes or so) is pretty interesting.

I did encounter one major pitfall with the disc. While the movie runs fine in my Samsung Blu-Ray player, it failed to work in my computer, using an LG Electronics Blu-Ray-ROM. The first time I tried to play it, it crashed my player; after restarting my computer, the menu loaded – but no actual menu appeared. The background loop continued to play, but there was no way to navigate to any player controls. Awesome.

The bottom line: If you enjoy bonus features, the single disc version is definitely not the right choice; if all you need is the movie, however, 2012 is a great experience for Blu-Ray.

See more 2012 details.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movies
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