2012: A space for the ditzy
End of the world predictions have been around ever since the the world had lunatics… and that’s basically since the beginning of time. As predictions go, Earth has been subjected to the R.I.P. monitor on a periodic swing… The predicted cause of complete human doom has been postulated across meteor showers, volcanic doom, tidal waves, machine conquests, God’s interventions, planetary collisions, overheating suns, underheating suns, alien invasions, nuclear holocausts, mafia dominion, ecological collapses, economic meltdowns, and, of course, my favourite… zombie takeovers.
These predictions are often accompanied by expert opinions, where expertise in lunacy is apparently revered. One of the common names you’ll find in doomsday predictions is Nostradamus, the 16th century French apothecary, whose book, ‘The Prophecies‘, is on the must-read list of the clinically insane the world over. And every decade or so, some ‘scholar’ routinely reinterprets the book to revise the predictions to accommodate the current and past events. It has been reinterpreted so many times that skeptics believe the original manuscript may have simply been a bad French recipe for Macaronis Avec Le Canard et Cepes.
The new and improved doomsday alarm for humanity is set for the year 2012. This time, the nuts are REALLY sure about the date, because this is not supported JUST by Nostradamus, but also the ancient wisdom of the Mayan civilization. For some reason, these guys are seen to be the final word on stellar predictions and global collapse. And yet, somehow, they were not as great about predicting the inbound invasion that eventually wiped them out.
So far, doomsday predictions had been strongly made for early 1806, April 1843, early 1891, 1910, end of 1982, 1997, August 1999, Jan 2000, May 2000, and fall of 2008, all with what has now been revealed to be ‘compromised accuracy’. With all the hype and vigor given to doomsday theories, people are getting smart and either ignoring them or laughing at them… Unfortunately, this also rubs off on their senses towards REAL problems like global warming, pollution, and Cory Bernardi; nothing scares people these days.
But there’s no dispute that there WILL be a handful of doomsday scholars out on the streets with cardboard warnings. And there WILL be money to be made from the pseudo-fear. Hollywood has marked the first major milestone with the release of director Roland Emmerich’s latest blockbuster, 2012.
The most refreshing aspect of the movie is that they categorically refused to put efforts in a plot whatsoever. The official motto seemed to be“Plot schmot. Let’s just blow stuff up.” Any time wasted on the plot, which would be stupid anyway, is time they could use to blow up another global landmark. And THAT, of course, was what I was paying to see.
The movie was just as enjoyable as it was ridiculous… and that’s saying a lot. They used and abused all possible combinations of CG… From the floods from “The Day After Tomorrow” to the exploding landmarks from “Independence Day” to the cars spinning on the road from “Bad Boys 2” to the volcanic eruption and ash rain from “Dante’s Peak” to the drowned earth from “Waterworld” to the flight-among-explosions situation from “Air Force One” to the upturned ship from “Poseidon” to the shattered buildings from “Chain Reaction“, to the lottery selection of survival candidates from “Deep Impact“; they’re all here. Now you can see why there’s no room for a plot… and why you don’t have time to miss it.
The protagonist is Jackson Curtis, a rare combination of a limousine driver cum science fiction author, who stumbles on to a hush-hush government project that basically tries to save the genetically gifted and the fantabulously wealthy from the impending doom threatening mankind in 2012; A hush-hush government project that involves around 300-400,000 people in the loop; Talk about disasters waiting to happen…
But of course, there’s no time to ponder over that, as Jackson rushes off to save his ex-wife, their kids, and the wife’s current boyfriend. This is where the roller coaster ride begins. Everywhere they go, the ground starts falling apart; buildings crash, the earth opens up, explosions flare, and general pandemonium follows them around for the rest of the movie.
And, of course, all of the action happens around two inches behind the protagonist, as he flies, rides, climbs, swims, and skids across an unrelenting Earth. If he walks across the road, the road would collapse; if he jumps on a plane, the runway breaks apart, if he flies to China, the country disappears… Seriously, if he ever passed wind, it would light up. Danger was always that close… and you still don’t feel tense.
There is almost no real tension throughout the movie… Even as skyscrapers collapse and cities get wiped clear off, you just sit there and take in the CG works, marveling at the advancement in graphics. Cos you know, even though the deathtoll is literally in the billions, that by the end of the movie, the hero would just brush his hair, dust off his jacket, and flash a smile at the camera. Except John Cusack doesn’t really smile very much, does he?
Anyway, storm the theater. Enjoy the thrill ride. Pump more cash into Roland Emmerich’s pockets. Live out the 2012 hype and get it out of the system, cos when the real 2012 comes in the picture, things are going to rather fizzle out. By that time, of course, Roland would be rolling in a filthy stinking sea of thousand dollar bills stacked a mile high, giving off high pitched squeals of laughter. Roughly, 2012 will be neither more nor less spectacular than any of the years preceding it.
But then again, some insidious politicians are speculating that Sarah Palin would be running for the the 2012 presidential bid.
Hmm… Maybe the Mayans DID know something after all…