"We were warned" goes the tag line for 2012, the latest from disaster fetishist Roland Emmerich, and it applies all around.

"We were warned" goes the tag line for 2012, the latest from disaster fetishist Roland Emmerich, and it applies all around.

In the film it refers to Dec. 21, 2012, the last day on the longest calendar left behind by the Mayan race and a magnet for apocalypse prognosticators.

A team of scientists including White House science advisor Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) discover in 2009 that the end is coming soon, via sun flares that are heating the earth's core, basically microwaving the crust on which we exist.

The president (Danny Glover) and his chief of staff (Oliver Platt) launch a massive, multinational, covert operation to protect the best of human culture, as well as the richest of its citizens.

Three years later, as the crust starts to crack and shift, author-turned-limo-driver Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) figures out the truth and herds his ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and kids toward sanctuary before their home - along with the rest of California - falls into the ocean.

Emmerich's previous films were the warning for moviegoers.

From Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow we should know that with him, the absurd thrill of watching people outrun natural disasters and landmarks of civilization crash and burn always comes with at least 15 minutes of excess running time, characters that feel more like puzzle pieces, miniseries-grade dialogue and a cast that deserves better.