Last summer the movies went to the dogs. Fortunately for the movie industry, most Americans love dogs. There have been some dogs this fall in the theater as well, and one kind of movie most prone to be both loved by the public and panned by the critics is a disaster movie like 2012. Sure enough that is what is happening with the film this post is focusing on.  Roland Emmerich is famous for such disaster movies (remember Independence Day and the Day after Tomorrow.  Now he is giving us 2012, only he is giving it to us in 2009— the future is now!  Who knew?

2012 is indeed coming soon, and if you believe certain modern readings of the Mayan
calendar so is a doomsday scenario for most of humankind.  The only question left is, as the poster suggests— who will survive?    As a general rule I am not a big fan of disaster movies which are long on special effects short on plot and involve minimal decent acting. Of course we all have a natural curiosity about the future and we have of course been getting regular warnings from scientists about climate change and polar caps shrinking and the like.  Most of us however have not drunken the Mayan Koolaide.

This movie is not however about an ecological collapse of the world, but about a natural disaster, natural in the sense that solar flares are said to have caused the earth’s core to boil which in turn causes the earth’s skin to shift, and shift and shift, which of course produces earthquakes, volcanic eruptions tidal waves etc.etc.  So how does a world which hardly has its act together get itself co-ordinated to survive such a series of disasters? Inquiring minds want to know.

Let’s start with the pluses in this box office blockbuster  ($65 mil in the first weekend in the U.S. and apparently over 200 mil already worldwide). First of all there are some decent actors in this movie, like Danny Glover, although he places a remarkably boring and sedate President of the U.S. and John Cusick who plays a divorced writer, with Amanda Peet is his X. My two personal favorites are Oliver Platt reprising his role as a White House insider from West Wing days, and as the comic relief– Woody Harrelson as the hippy dippy prophet radio talk show host camped out at Yellowstone and giving regular updates about the end of the world.  The world is in a big pickle, and his way of coping—- eat big pickles!!  Alrighty then!!  We could have used more of Woody in this film, and less plodding, plodding, plodding plot. This movie is way too long—  as in do you really have 2 hours and 38 minutes to watch a not that great disaster flick?   Well, if you are of the Playstation generation the answer may be— “What’s the big deal?  I play games for way longer than that, and the visuals in this movie are awesome.”

Awesome they are, as the CG has gotten so good that everything looks real– even the most implausible parts of the story. One thing of course that is truly annoying about these disaster movies is how many times you have to suspend your disbelief as your intrepid heroes dodge one disaster after another and another and another. John Cusick has more lives than nine cats who have drunk from the fountain of eternal life in this movie. He takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

Those who are interested in apocalyptic scenarios will find this movie mildly interesting, and yes there are some Biblical references in the film— the President prays Ps. 23 before his demise,  Woody Harrelson says the Bible mostly got the picture of the future right (that’s just what we need, an endorsement of the Bible from a character that appears to be both a survivalist and a nut job– he even looks like Beavis and Butthead combined).  

I’m sure that there will be better movies this holiday season, at least I live in hope. But as for 2012, the Bible doesn’t suggest that year will be anything particularly special. But then, none of us know, really. 

God has only revealed enough of the future to give us hope. He has not revealed enough to provide a reliable basis for calculations or prognostications.  And the reason he has not is of course clear— we are supposed to live day by day by faith, trusting God for the future, for though we do not know what the future holds, we do know in whose hands the future is held……. and its not the Mayans. 

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