To reveal much more of the plot would inevitably spoil the fun for anyone hoping to enjoy the festivities spoiler-free, so I won't say much more about that. For me, the real head-scratcher about 2012 was the reason it needed to be made in the first place.

Sure, the disaster movie format provides countless opportunities to show off the latest CGI trickery, and there are a handful of memorable moments here, but certainly not enough to justify the overly long running time. And of course, a movie like this, with all its grand speeches and sacrificial moments that reveal a softer side of humanity in all the malady, is sort of a Hallmark card reminder to make the most of our lives because we'll never know when they'll end. But that point has already been made ad nauseam, and far more effectively, in movies that lack all the pretense and clichés of 2012.

Really, in terms of making any new, grand statements about anything remotely debate-worthy, there just aren't any here. By the time you get to the grand hurrah of 2012, the movie's very silly final act, you're just sort of worn out. After all, if it wasn't for the sheer thrill of everything being blown to bits, there would be no reason to watch at all because ultimately, you're only caught up in the sheer frenzy of the events. And with no food for thought after the credits have rolled, all you're left hearing is a sub-par song from American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert, which is actually sort of appropriate given the shallowness of what you've just been watching for the past two and a half hours.

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Social drinking.
  • Language/Profanity:  A smattering of profanity including the PG-13 allotment of "f" words and a couple of instances where God's name is misused along with da—.
  • Sex/Nudity:  Noah tells his dad, who he calls by his first name at the beginning of the movie, not to show him where he and his mom had sex during the family camping trip at Yellowstone. Gordon suggests that he and Kate should make a baby. She encourages him not to touch the "merchandise" (a.k.a. her breasts) in the grocery store. Since Gordon is a plastic surgeon, he says that many of his patients actually pay for that privilege.
  • Violence:  This is where the bulk of the PG-13 rating comes from as the world comes crashing down by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. Thousands upon thousands (of mostly faceless) people die, and a few of the characters we've spent time with do, too. There are also intense sequences involving flying and driving under serious duress. Basically, if you've seen any big disaster movie, you'll know exactly what you're getting yourself into.
  • Spiritual References:  People are shown praying as the end nears. "Religious fanatics" hold signs about the end of days. The President of the United States (Danny Glover) is saying the Lord's Prayer, but is cut off halfway through when destruction strikes. References to John 3:16.

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in St. Paul, Minn., she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog

For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.