2012 (2009) - PREVIEW


2012 (2009)

John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover and Oliver Platt
Director: Roland Emmerich

U.S. Opening Date: November 13th, 2009

Director Roland Emmerich, who had loads of practice destroying major landmarks in Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and the Godzilla remake, will direct this disaster movie based on the ancient Mayan prophecies foretelling the end of the world in the year 2012.

Well, actually the Mayans' ancient calendar just abruptly stops on December 21, 2012 but some New Age types (and Hollywood producers!) have taken this to be a very bad thing as opposed to a simple lack of foresight. Go figure.

“Go on the Internet and type 2012 into a search engine. That’s what I did two years ago when I was researching the subject of my next film. The results were fascinating: no fewer than 240 million sites came up!” Emmerich recently told Fantastique magazine. “Well, you know I adore catastrophe movies. I had declared that I would not make another, but the opportunity was too tempting. Why not make the greatest film of its kind? And then, this time, it’s not about manmade destruction, but a natural disaster on a grand scale. After 2012 no one will be able or will want to make another film of this genre for a long time! So, for me, the famous Mayan prophecy inspired an excellent story. In fact, it’s the world’s oldest story: the myth of The Flood.”

The story begins with an American scientist discovering that the sun is undergoing enormously intense storms. Realizing the serious impact such a storm can have on the Earth he contacts a scientific advisor to the White House. But the head of the Cabinet, full of himself, will not allow him to warn the President. A year later, finally catching onto the danger, the President organizes a secret meeting with all the major leaders of the planet. The civilian population is however not alerted of the danger and has no idea of the impending cataclysm. At the beginning of the year 2012 the first signs of the apocalypse however become apparent: earthquakes on the West Coast, gigantic landslides, fissures in the surface of the Earth.

The movie then shifts focus onto the family of the hero (John Cusack), a limousine chauffeur who is a writer in his free time. They have to survive earthquakes that plague Los Angeles (so what else is new?), volcanic eruptions, acid rain and tsunamis. Cusack's character soon discovers that world leaders have financed a mysterious project that will allow the elite to survive and later rebuild civilization. But will the Noah’s Ark of the third millennium have any place for ordinary civilians who only wish to escape the second Flood?

As the trailer puts it, “How will the governments of the world help six billion face the end of the world? Answer: They will not.”

2012 is said to be budgeted at $200 million - a new record for Emmerich.

“Yes, the movie’s very costly,” the director admitted in the same interview with Fantastique. “But it’s the end of the world after all! The financiers who read the script agreed: we couldn’t do it without that sum. When Harald Kloser and I wrote the screenplay we never even thought about the necessary budget. We simply wrote the story we wanted to see. It was only after having finished the screenplay that we asked ourselves how we are going to put all of this onto the screen? It’s true that all that money puts more weight on our shoulders. But I think the adrenaline allows us to surpass ourselves and make an even better work . . .”

UPDATE (5 November 2009): In the upcoming disaster movie 2012 director Roland Emmerich destroys several famous religious landmarks, but one such religious site was however "off-limits" . . .

FEATURE: If the ancient Mayans were so clever, then why didn’t they have air-conditioning?


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