Why am I hoping that Roland Emmerich’s disaster epic 2012 stays spectacularly on top of the box office this coming weekend? I’ve seen the movie and, while you’re not supposed to admit this in public if you want to be thought of as sophisticated, I found it utterly gripping if cartoonish and a bit too predictable. The scene where the USS John F. Kennedy is riding a tsunami and about to crush the White House stuck with me. No, I’m not kidding.
But apart from the entertainment value of seeing the world torn apart, I’m hoping people will continue flocking to theaters because it will inoculate them against anxiety when the real year 2012 comes along. Most of you will laugh at the whole Mayan prophecy/end of the world deal, and I’m certainly far from taking it seriously myself. But there are plenty of people out there who, come 2012, could very well be full of worry and upset that the world is about end.
What I appreciate about 2012 the movie is that for just about anyone, having experienced the whole fun but absurd spectacle, it becomes even harder to see the Mayan calendar’s running out as a genuine existential threat to life on earth. The thing is just too much of a cartoon — however enjoyable, in the way that a roller coast ride is enjoyable, it may be. Everyone who sees the movie is rendered secure from panic two years down the road. So see it!