“2012” (2009). Cast: John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson, Tom McCarthy, Liam James, Morgan Lily, Zlatko Buric, Beatrice Rosen, Alexandre Haussman, Philippe Haussman, Johann Urb, John Billingsley, Chin Han, Osric Chau, Cheng Tsang, Lisa Lu, Blu Mankuma, George Segal, Stephen McHattie, Jimi Mistry, Henry O. Director: Roland Emmerich. Screenplay: Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser. www.whowillsurvive2012.com.
As one who writes about movies from a specific perspective—how they reflect law of attraction principles—I focus my efforts on reviewing films that effectively depict these metaphysical concepts rather than simply scrutinizing whatever happens to be current. Because of that, I tend to review only pictures that I like, those that I believe are helpful in portraying these notions for viewers (why write about movies that don’t work?). But every so often, a film comes along that, because of its hype (and its implied metaphysical connotations), simply can’t go ignored (or unreviewed). Such is the case with the blockbuster “2012,” a movie that I hoped would shed some light on this potentially significant temporal (and spiritual) phenomenon. Sadly, however, it’s an unmitigated disaster—both in its story and as a finished product.
There’s not much going on here. Essentially, the earth is falling apart, and mankind is racing against time to save something of itself before the special effects budget runs out. Sequence after sequence depicts the obliteration of familiar landmarks and global capitals as a result of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. It’s like watching every Irwin Allen movie ever made, all rolled up into one big episodically linked, computer-generated package of mayhem and destruction.
People are needed to carry the narrative, of course, so the film wisely incorporates some bona fide humans to accomplish this. Viewers thus get to watch Armageddon play out from various perspectives, including those of a down-and-out writer (John Cusack), his estranged wife (Amana Peet) and her new love interest (Tom McCarthy), all of whom always happen to be in the right place at the right time (they’ve obviously mastered the art of synchronicity, if nothing else); a team of intrepid scientists (Chiwetel Ejiofor, John Billingsley, Jimi Mistry) struggling to save the planet against impossible odds (maybe now they’d wished they’d paid more attention in religion class); a U.S. President (Danny Glover) trying to hold things together in trying times, aided by an ambitious political advisor (Oliver Platt) (some things never change); and a gonzo alternative journalist (Woody Harrelson) who broadcasts from his ramshackle RV (and who resembles a cross between Art Bell and Robin Williams).
Since the special effects are the real star of this story, however, the actors knew enough not to outshine their CGI counterparts, and so they accommodated accordingly by turning in performances so subdued that they might as well have phoned them in. But even the high-gloss special effects have issues, often portraying scenes in cartoonish, laughably implausible ways. It’s amazing, for example, how a capsizing aircraft carrier can ride the crest of a massive tsunami with its planes still on deck and apparently intact (and who says Americans can’t build things the way they used to?).
What’s most distressing, however, is how shabbily the film treats the 2012 Mayan calendar prophecy material. In fact, it’s barely given lip service, reducing it to passing references that amount to little more than “oh, and by the way, the Mayans predicted all this” (which, as most Mayans and Mayan scholars would contend, is largely inaccurate, too). Virtually nothing is said of the promise that could await us when a new era is ushered in with the Mayan calendar’s ending on December 21, 2012. It’s as if this material was used as nothing more than a convenient coat hook on which to hang the premise for an otherwise-unrelated tale of apocalyptic abomination.
It’s unfortunate so many film and television producers are taking such a dim view of 2012, for they’re painting a bleak picture that many viewers are buying into, which could have significant metaphysical consequences, particularly where the law of attraction is concerned. Since this philosophy maintains that we each draw to us the existence we seek through our beliefs and intents, it means we always have an endless range of possibilities available to us. And making the right choices in this regard is arguably becoming increasingly critical, especially now that we’re approaching a time that’s seen as so significant by so many.
So, given the foregoing, I can’t help but ask, why would we want to model our future on a possibility like the one depicted in this movie? Even if we see a need to cleanse the planet of its many ills, must we really destroy Tokyo, Rio and Paducah to do so? I’d like to hope we consider other options before unleashing a firestorm of natural disasters and social collapse to achieve that end, especially since mass event creations can manifest as potent materializations (for better or worse) when energized by the power of the human collective. I’d like to hope we end up agreeing with 2012 scholar John Major Jenkins, who, in a recent Coast to Coast AM radio interview, said of works like this film, “Maybe we need [them] to purge [such ideas] out of ourselves.”
As I noted at the outset, I rarely write negative reviews. But unless you’re someone who really enjoys watching things blow up for 2½ hours (destroying the world takes time apparently), there’s not much to recommend here. It’s a shame that those behind this film chose to tell a story about 2012 in this way, selling short what could be a miraculous time in the history of humanity and the planet. Such a missed opportunity, regrettably, is a bigger disaster than any of the calamities depicted on screen.
Copyright © 2009, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.
A lifelong movie fan and longtime student of metaphysics (with an emphasis in law of attraction/conscious creation principles), free-lance writer/editor Brent Marchant is the author of Get the Picture: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies (Moment Point Press, www.momentpoint.com). His additional writing credits include contributions to www.beliefnet.com and to Divine Revolution, Sethnet Journal and Reality Change magazines. Brent also maintains an ongoing blog about metaphysical cinema at www.getthepicturebrentmarchant.blogspot.com. He holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University and resides in Chicago. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.