2007 it was announced that Transformers director Michael Bay’s next movie
would be 2012: The War For Souls, based on the Whitley
Strieber novel of the same name . . .
Since then the project seems to have died a quiet death.
Bay directed the highly anticipated
Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
sequel and is looking at bringing I Am
Number Four, an unpublished young adult sci-fi book by James Frey, to
the big screen before tackling Transformers 3.
In any case this week sees the release of Independence Day director Roland Emmerich's own 2012 movie starring John Cusack
so it is doubtful that Hollywood will ever mount another big budget 2012
2012 is of course the year in which the ancient Mayan
calendar expires. What does this mean? No one knows for sure to be honest.
New Age types believe that 2012 will be a cataclysmic year of great
importance. Some of them believe the planet will be destroyed following a
natural disaster or perhaps a nuclear war. Others believe that there will
be a “shift in consciousness” for humanity. What does that mean? Nobody
knows either. For all we know it might mean that America will finally
convert to the metric system - who knows! Maybe the Mayans
didn’t “see” the future after all, but just weren’t into planning that far
ahead . . .
Unlike Y2K, it is all infuriatingly vague as far as
Doomsday predictions go. However whatever happens – mankind dying in a
ball of fire or reaching a new state of consciousness – Hollywood will be there
to cash in on it.
So is the Michael Bay project really dead? Time will
tell. Normally one would say that there isn't space for two major
2012 Hollywood movies. But 1998 for instance saw the release of
two Earth Being Destroyed by an Asteroid movies, namely
Armageddon (ironically also a Michael Bay
project) and Deep Impact. The only problem
is that to cash in on the vague media hysteria surrounding December 21,
2012 (the exact day the Mayan calendar ends – keep your diary open!) any
movie must have 2012 in that movie’s title; otherwise there will be little
point to the exercise.
So what will happen in 2012 according to Strieber’s
book? Well, it seems that Earth will be invaded by reptilian aliens from
another dimension intent on stealing our . . . souls! No, really.
The War for Souls reads like a fictionalized account of author David Icke’s
delusional rants. One is never quite sure whether author Strieber himself
takes all this stuff seriously either to be honest. After all, Strieber is
the science fiction author who claimed in his best-selling 1987 novel
Communion to have been kidnapped and
anally probed by aliens (what is it with the anal probing always?). Since
then Strieber has made his own little cottage industry out of his alleged
alien abduction experiences, writing several sequels as well as some
“fiction” works involving UFOs and government cover-ups. (Rumor had it
that Troy director Wolfgang Peterson was interested in filming
Strieber’s novel The Grays – about so-called grey aliens - at one
"2012: The War for Souls reads like a fictionalized account of
David Icke’s rants . . ."
Never above mocking other people for their deep-felt
beliefs we here at The Sci-Fi Movie Page were quite intent on disliking
2012: The War for Souls, but we actually found ourselves enjoying
Strieber’s novel. Or at least chunks of it, which we found “immensely
entertaining” as a blurb on the paperback promises. It is easy to see why
a film-maker such as Michael Bay would be interested in filming it. The
novel kicks off with some big – and we mean big! – explosions in which the
pyramids at Giza are destroyed.
This sort of wholesale destruction of global landmarks
has “Hollywood” and “Blockbuster” written over in it in huge bold typeface
. . .
And all this within the first few pages!
the action doesn’t let on as an alternate version of Earth is being
overrun by alien invaders that steal humans’ souls, leaving behind mindless
husks who are culled as manual labor slaves. Why do I
believe Strieber takes this sort of thing seriously? Because all of this
is “witnessed” by a science fiction writer named Wylie Dale who writes
about it in his latest book. By the way, Dale has been – you guessed it! -
kidnapped by aliens in the past. Dale is so obviously based on Strieber
himself that it is all rather painful to read. One can only hope that all
this icky post-modernism gets written out of any movie version altogether.
The novel is at its best when focusing on the alien invasion itself
instead of Dale’s efforts to prevent them from invading his own planet.
Sure, these invasion scenes seem to be copied directly from Steven
Spielberg’s remake of War of the Worlds,
but with the American government actually aiding the alien invaders this
time round. We’re just suckers for this sort of End of the World thing!
If it all sounds too serious, Strieber at least has some
At one point he reveals that Earth’s Power Elite has
been infiltrated by shape-shifting vicious reptilian aliens and that
Robert Mugabe and Ann Coulter are in fact two such aliens (they are
actually a married couple in their home dimension). Ha-ha.
wishes that the book has more such humorous moments, but Strieber instead
lays on one audacious event and senseless plot twist after the other until
one feels as if one is reading an L. Ron Hubbard novel. A prequel to
Battlefield Earth perhaps.
Warning: plot spoilers. For instance, Dale and his wife turn out
to be aliens themselves! Members of an alien rebellion opposed
to invading Earth, that is. They however use a special DNA cream lotion to
change into humans forever. No, seriously. End spoilers!
One can see why Hollywood is attracted to Strieber's
novel. Like most modern Hollywood science fiction efforts there is little, if any, science in it. Just a lot of sketchily drawn
characters and loads of non-stop violent action. But it all keeps on
getting more and more ridiculous with each turning page until one feels
that maybe it is all a sequel to Men in Black
. . . but without the jokes, a bit like, um, Men
in Black 2.
Should audiences be disappointed that 2012: The
War for Souls will probably never get made into a movie? Not unless you
actually liked Battlefield Earth . . .