These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Ensemble Darkhorse: The Russians. Among them, Sasha is probably the biggest for completely avoid any idiot tendencies and being a badass. Tamara for Ms. Fanservice and also being a good person.
Carl Anheuser has some fans.
Glurge: Noah's anguished tearful moment with Jackson before he goes to repair the gears. It would be a nice heartwarming moment...if not for the fact that the kid is holding his Dad up at a very time-sensitive moment and is risking millions of lives. Rather than sympathising with the kid, many viewers wanted to punch him for causing Tamara to drown.
No one will dispute the kid's general annoyance and uselessness. And yet, he is the one who saw that one of the equipments jamming the gears is the cable.
Ham and Cheese: Woody Harrelson gloriously overacts in each of his scenes, completely stealing the show.
Harsher in Hindsight: Japan getting destroyed by an earthquake. Come a few months later, the country was hit by this and a tsunami. Then come October 2012, and New York get flooded, which happens here, too.
Furthermore, whoever gave out passes to the arks should be blamed, thus not making it entirely Yuri's fault.
Yuri bringing his girlfriend along in the first place, knowing he's going to leave her behind just when she thinks she's safe.
Anheuser has the Arks launched early, leaving behind the refugees and passengers of Ark 3, even though there was plenty of room and enough time to board them. Lampshaded by an outraged Adrian when shown his quarters.
"What the hell is this?! You could fit ten people in here!"
The film even picks up on this. Once Anheuser makes this decision, his influence over the crew dramatically declines, to the point where they begin to question his leadership.
MST3K Mantra: Just enjoy it as a story about the human spirit in the face of adversity, plus copious amounts of Stuff Blowing Up, and this might turn out to be a decent film in an undemanding sort of way.
The Scrappy: NOAH. The kid is a dick to his father for the first act and does nothing but scream and complain for the entire disaster. He's also The Load and a borderline Damsel Scrappy. His sister avoids this by being funny and cute at times.
Strawman Has a Point: The closest thing that the film has to a villain is Oliver Platt's heartless presidential adviser, who's an obvious Take That to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney — note that his name is Anheuser, presumably after Anheuser-Busch breweries. However, after the fifth or sixth argument where his level-headed pragmatism is contrasted with the Honor Before ReasonSave Everyone bleeding-heart attitude of the rest of the cast, you kind of have to wonder if maybe the writers did not secretly agree with him. Some examples:
He is heavily criticized for keeping the impending disaster a secret from the general public, although announcing the end of the world would've caused massive panic and hysteria and helped no one.
Ejiofor complains that "only rich people" are being let onto the Arks, to which Platt responds that the money they spent buying tickets is what funded the Arks in the first place. That and snarking "Oh, you mean life isn't fair?!"
No one seems to point out that those "rich people" won't be rich after the catastrophe. Even if they could take all their money with them, it'll be worthless in a world without an economy to back it up. They'll have to work just like everyone else.
Basically after only minutes of Ejiofor explaining the situation he is in action and spearheads the top secret, international mega project to save the entire human species species, many of its cultural treasures, and many of the other species as well. This plan largely succeeds in spite of things happening months earlier than Ejiofor forecast and the meddling of many of the "Heros".
Then there's Anheuser's claim they shouldn't open the ark doors to let more people on the ark. For starters, they had 15 minutes before the water hit the boat (and it took a long time for the door to open), and if the door malfunctioned and wouldn't close, every person on the boat would be in danger, dooming the human race (which is exactly what almost happened). On top of that, people are going to be on that ark for years, if not decades, therefore they have a limited number of supplies. If they started running out of food, they would have to either start rationing food to ridiculously low extremes, and people would go crazy and kill people so they would have more food for themselves or some people would just starve to death. Yes, Adrian claimed you could fit 10 people in 1 room, however being confined with 10 people for years would not only be uncomfortable, but create major antagonism between the passengers, something you don't want when they are the last surviving humans.
The length of the trip can be disputed. This is the 21st century, it would be surprising if the trip to Africa took more than a week.
Yes, but nobody seems to have expected Africa to rise. Actually, it seems like nobody knew what the world was going to look like afterwards or how long it would take things to settle out. In fact, the planning seemed to assume at least several months on board the ships; there was apparent surprise that things settled out as quickly as they did when Africa rising was announced.