But the wonderful computer generated imagery aside, the human interest angle, juxtaposed against the apocalypse, gives the audience this morsel to munch on: what makes human civilization "human"? Or more to the point: what is there about humanity that is worth saving?
The date of the End Times is based on the intricate Mayan calendar that predicts major cataclysms every 690,000 years, give or take a leap year or two.
In addition, there is a decidedly Maryknoll undercurrent of justice and solidarity with the soon-to-be exterminated human race that smacks up against the harsh realities of the modern world. Who gets to board the seven "arks" that the G-8 members have built? Such a project costs mucho euros, so billionaires underwrite the program in exchange for first-class cabins whilst the masses fight for what limited space remains. In all the screaming and explosions, the main point of the movie (besides making those mucho euros mentioned above) may get lost: "When we stop caring for one another, that's when human civilization ends."
I found the movie entertaining and, in a way, refreshing. For once, we don't get to see the destruction of New York or Tokyo. Instead we are treated to the "Big One" where Los Angeles is totally demolished and, along with all of California, gets pitched into the Pacific. That alone has got to be worth the cost of admission. Las Vegas and Washington D.C., Hawaii, India and even the Vatican get wiped out (No comment.)
Perhaps most unsettling is the scientific (and from my POV, plausible) premise upon which the end of the world comes about: unprecedented solar flares bombarding the earth with high concentrations of neutrinos causing the earth's core to overheat as if in a cosmic microwave. All this bubbling and churning causes major displacement of the continental shelves, with all the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis one might imagine.
So if you want to get into the Advent mood and prepare for the tribulation that prceeds the Second Coming, see 2012 but don't sell the ranch just yet. Chances are we and the Church will still have to carry the cross of discipleship into 2013 and beyond.