Saturday, November 14, 2009


The Not Too Serious Apocalypse?
By Reymundo Salao

Most of Roland Emmerich’s movies have been mostly reminiscent of the 70’s disaster movies like The Towering Inferno or Poseidon Adventure. These disaster movies are essentially survival horror, wherein we are introduced to main characters that we are supposed to root for and follow as they try to survive a peril or perils that could kill them. This movie more or less combines all of it for something which can be referred to as the ultimate disaster movie because this one deals with the end of the world. As what the movie portrays, 2012 is the year wherein changes in the Earth and in the overall atmosphere of the planet (that’s as far as I can understand about the scientific aspect of the movie) will cause the Earth to experience global cataclysms and destruction, and basically may be interpreted as the end of the world as we know it.

The doomsday theory of 2012 is one that is very paranoia inducing. Unlike the doomsday conspiracies of the year 2000 or previous end-of-the-world theories which were more religion-based or literary prediction-based, the 2012 concept is based on the Mayan calendar which is regarded with some degree of accuracy. That is why it is very interesting to watch a movie like this. On the other hand, do not expect to go into details on the Mayan calendar detail because there is only about half a minute of reference of that concept in the movie. Everything that is explained is more on the science aspect. In addition, the science aspect is laid down, but never dwells on the explanations. If you plan to walk on this movie and expect to delve into the deeper and more thought-provoking issues about why the world is about to end or how this prediction has come to become real, you may not be satisfied because it really focuses more on the plight of our main characters to survive the cataclysms. Most of the movie is focused on running from earthquakes, running from lava, running from flood. Even the drama takes a backseat.

The movie felt like it needed a couple of more minutes of character development. There are pretty good characters here to work with. The old friends in the cruise ship, for instance, the movie needed more quiet moments with them. Every time the scenes simmer down, and you think there was going to be some character development about to happen, a great big special effect all of a sudden steals the moment and makes way for another destructive scene.

It was not easy to walk into another Roland Emmerich movie, after his previous movie “10,000 BC” (pattern-wise is also a movie title referring to a date in time, one that he ignorantly altered by his fictionalized interpretation) made itself as one of the worst movies ever made, in my opinion. But it was a good thing that 2012 was not as bad as I feared it to be. In fact, it was really worth my money, and if I may add, a movie I recommend for the big screen. The visual effects are awesome and the stunts were exhilarating.

The thing about this movie is that it takes this serious plausible concept and quickly turns it into a rollercoaster adventure. And that is one of the things that have given me this dual reaction; first I was upset with it because it takes this concept of paranoia and a plausible global cataclysm, and does not treat it with a very serious approach. It was a bit hard to swallow some action scenes which injected some humor because at one hand we are being shown scenes of extreme disaster and calamity, naturally the scene implies the horrific death of millions, yet elements of comedy are making its way unto it. If this was sci-fi involving alien invasions, it would have been forgivable to mix apocalyptic scenes of mass death with a sense of adventure.

But on the other hand, by the middle of the movie, you realize that the light, somewhat comedic, moments were needed to be injected to please a wide audience. Otherwise, we could have ended up with a movie too serious and too depressing that, by the middle of the movie, may have caused people to walk out in just sheer displeasure.

If you are one of those people who even remotely considers the 2012 doomsday conspiracy as plausible, this movie is indeed for you. It will both amaze and horrify you. Although it is indeed so ironic to refer to Emmerich's movies as a form of entertainment. I guess many of us Filipinos will be affected by this movie emotionally because of our experiences in recent unusual cataclysms. Many might hate it or many might relate to it.

The concept of the end of the world is the ultimate horror movie concept to work on. Emmerich could have made the ultimate horror movie. I would have been impressed if such bold approach was made. But I could understand him not doing that and opting to make an audience-friendly movie instead. I just hope that this movie would have something similar with his other movie “10,000 B.C.” …and that is hoping that this will purely be all fiction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine mentioned 2012 last night to me and it's the first I heard about it so I jumped on here out of curiosity. I think it's kind of sick and sounds like a bunch of skeptical jargon.
I choose to live every day like it is the last because let's be real, WHO THE HELL KNOWS what is going to happen or when it's your time to go on. The past is history, the future is a mystery and now is a gift, thats why it's called the present. It's not healthy to sit around and trip out about when you will die. Stop wasting your time you have now.
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