Roland Emmerich’s newest disaster movie is based on the popular Mayan myth that the world will end in 2012. Somehow this movie has managed to turn that into a secret that the Government managed to keep hidden, along the lines of Roswell and Area 51.
For those uninitiated in myth based around a long-dead civilisation (go figure), the myth goes something like this: because a calendar that the Mayans made predicted some events and that it says the end of the fifth age of the world (i.e. ours) will come on 22/12/12, people and conspiracy nuts think that at that time our world will perish in earthquakes and fiery fun.* If the world does actually end in 2012 and the conspiracy nuts are proven right, I’ll reach for my pistol.
Plot wise (apart from the complete lack of aliens), this film is quite similar to the Spielberg shite-epic War Of The Worlds. One single dad tries to get his family to a rumoured spot where they may see out the apocalypse safely. Along the way he has to deal with his ex-wife and her new guy, his older uncooperative son and his stupid daughter. We see how the Government reacts to the Mayan’s warnings (badly; they hide it and commit murder to cover it up, like a certain other Evil Government that I spoke of so recently), headed by one of the only two actors who I recognise in this entire movie, Danny Glover. The other, incidentally, I recognise from my favourite low-budget movie, The Man From Earth. As President Of The United States, Danny Glover really does look like he’s “too old for this shit”. Speaking of the characters, it’s probably best that you don’t develop any attachment to most of them, as quite a few of them die in horrific ways.
As is normal for an Emmerich film (others include Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow), it’s very pretty, the science is dubious at best and it’s about humanity coming together and defying the odds.
If you absolutely must watch this film (and I assume you’re not being forced to), then do so with a television and sound system that can really make the film seem like an experience to remember and enjoy.
One thing that isn’t in this film that you’d expect is a moral message. Normally in this kind of film, there is some sort of environmental message (such as “pollution will usher in the new ice age”, “aliens will kill us all unless Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum are involved”, that sort of thing). Instead, we’re left without one, and a movie like this is like an airhead woman. There’s beauty, but no substance.
The only thing close to a message that can be gotten from this film is “Resistance Is Futile”. A message that planet-eaters The Borg made famous, it’s a fitting message for an apocalypse movie. That’s nice, when the world is crumbling, remember that Resistance Is Futile. Sleep well, children.
*I think they failed to account for the Gregorian calendar and they were actually trying to warn us about the Y2K thing.