Things I Learned from Movie X: 2012

By Edwin Davies

November 17, 2010

That Say Anything... sequel is sounding better all the time.

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Settle down everyone, class is in session! Now, do you want to learn, or do you just want to watch a movie and make snide remarks? I thought so. Let us commence.

Ever since he blew up a selection of landmarks in 1996's Independence Day, Roland Emmerich has dedicated his life to seeking out new and more explodery ways to destroy first America, and then the world. He had become the chief, and possibly only, curator of the curious sub-genre referred to as "Disaster Porn," and in that vein 2012 could be considered his Debbie Does Dallas and Deep Throat combined. Using a potent mix of science, mysticism and bullshit, he gives himself free rein to sink cities, devastate continents and generally cause a ruckus. Look beneath the special effects, the melodrama and John Cusack's creepily inexpressive face (put him in a staring contest with Keanu Reeves and you've got a hell of fight on your hands), and you will find some truly profound lessons that will make you a better, stronger person and will help you lose 20 pounds.

Roland Emmerich would have us all believe that the Mayans as a culture were advanced in the areas of language, art and utter nonsense. With the turn of the millennium and the failure of Y2K to turn our toasters against us in an orgy of crumbs and blood, doomsayers and apocalypse junkies found themselves at a loose end. With all that aimless pre-millennial fear and malaise spent, they'd have to wait a whole century for another arbitrary date to make people fear. Sure, they could keep interpreting Nostradamus in just the right way so that they could proclaim every other year would bring about the End Times, but that gets old pretty quickly and the people of the world aren't like Charlie Brown; if you keep pulling that apocalypse you promised away at the last second, eventually they're just going to go and play something else.


Fortunately, if there's an ancient prophecy that can be misinterpreted, people will misinterpret the hell out of it and call it fate. So, according to some people, since the Mayan Long Count calendar ends in the year 2012, that means that the world will end as
well, rather than being a sign that the Mayans need to go to the store and buy a new calendar. In actuality, the end of the Mayan calendar marks the end of a "cycle" in the existence of the Earth, and that each of these cycles lasts 5125 years. Since the Mayans believed that cycles of existence existed before the current one, we can assume that on December 22, 2012, another cycle will begin, and that everyone should really start preparing for all the hysteria over 7137.

Of course, the dawning of a new age that is not noticeably different to the old one doesn't really give lots of scope for explosions and car chases, so Roland Emmerich and his co-writers came up with a story about neutrinos from the sun causing the Earth's core to heat up, which makes total sense if you slam your head into a brick wall a few times until yuo c an'tr reairlly thjjnmk or spellk anhimorew. I don't see why they couldn't just send Aaron Eckhart and Stanley Tucci down there to sort it out again. That worked pretty well the first time.

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