Roland Emmerich has made ONE truly terrible film, "Godzilla." He's also made a couple of average films, "Day After Tommorrow" and "10,000 B.C." I'm prepared to argue that "The Patriot," "Independence Day," "Stargate" and "Universal Soldier" are all nearly-perfect examples of EXACTLY what they wish to be - generally, old-fashioned B-movies executed with A-budgets and not a HINT of irony, insincerity or post-modernism. Yes, even "Patriot," which is basically the closest anyone has ever gotten to capturing the feel of "Classics Illustrated" on film (the relative worth of the goal itself is, of course, debateable.)
True, he doesn't explore his material very deeply and he's not known to surround himself with the most complex of screenplays, but in terms of capturing impossibly large-scale action he is surpassed only by Spielberg, Cameron and (now) Peter Jackson among Hollywood filmmakers. He's Michael Bay with something resembling a soul. One need only watch ID4 opposite Transformers, or Patriot opposite Pearl Harbor, to see the difference between Pair his talents with a genuinely GREAT script and I'm convinced you'd have a modern classic.
A great script he probably DOESN'T have for his newest, 2012, but he DOES seem to have set himself the logical challenge of following up his previous action/disaster films: This time, he's LITERALLY filming The End of The World. Here's the trailer:
Yes, I know... we're all supposed to snicker at how innevitably schlocky the "drama" in this will be, but still... HOLY SHIT.
There's at least 10 "money-shots" in this that could EASILY be the ultimate scene of a lesser action film individually... but they're all in one movie!
A tsunami... drops the USS JFK... onto the White House! An entire city... sinking!!! The Vatican... falls over... and CRUSHES ALL THE PEOPLE PRAYING TO STOP ARMAGEDDON!!!!!!
Plus, it's got John Cusack! I'm callin' it right now... this is going to be this year's "wait... this is GOOD!!??" equivalent to Rambo 4.