Watching television last night, I saw a trailer for the movie 2012. I don't know much about it, but is there much to know? John Cusack is in a plane and the entire world is crumbling into oblivion. Highways collapse and cars plunge into an abyss. Skyscrapers are exploding, fireballs are lighting up the sky as Cusack and Co. scream for their lives surrounded by a CGI orgy.
Looks like the world is in some trouble ... again.
Of course we need another disaster movie. Americans love seeing cities, states and planets destroyed on giant projection screens. 2012 would follow in a long line of "world is over" schlock, following Armageddon, Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, Knowing, Independence Day and on and on.
Something about that 2012 trailer really ticks me off and I'm not sure whether its on moral grounds or artistic grounds.
With climate change threatening the planet (yes, it's real), wildfires sprouting up year-round in California, hurricanes bashing the Atlantic seaboard and terrorist attacks leveling buildings, these movies that seem to celebrate catastrophic loss of life like it's a cool amusement park ride irk me. There are tsunamis and earthquakes killing thousands and a trailer showing the world ending (just with cooler special effects) that's supposed to make you say, "Cool!"
Granted, I watch and enjoy many violent forms of entertainment, but world-wide catastrophe packaged and sold like a Jonas Brothers lunchbox isn't as cool anymore.
Now, with the soapbox removed, there are creative reasons as well. Like this one: This movie has been done before! A million times! Just because computers can make explosions and a crumbling earth look more realistic than ever certainly does not grant tired moviemakers license to recreate the tired disaster movie once again.
I don't know anything about the movie, but I think I have a sense of what it will be like. John Cusack will be a regular old schmo who is estranged from his only child and living out his life in a dirty apartment with empty Chinese food cartons. Then, one day, the world starts to go straight to hell and Cusack is stranded with said child and is said child's only hope.
Luckily, he could be joined by an attractive woman who is improbably single as they race to beat the disappearing ground beneath them. They're so connected they scream in unison! Of course, this woman won't like Cusack right away. He takes some getting used to. He's a bit of a bad boy, but he has a warm caramel nougat center. Joining them will be your random oddball characters who will provide needed comedy.
"The world is ending! And just on the day I bought a new Honda Civic!" HAHA
I shouldn't be surprised. Every movie is a sequel of another movie or remake or it has superheros or toys come to life and stuff blows up. So why stop making disaster movies? It's a proven formula. Special effects extravaganza coupled with broadly drawn characters. Luckily, they survive. Unfortunately, about six billion others are dead. But at least they died in a cool way.
2012, I won't be seeing you in the theaters. Perhaps on a Monday night on HBO in 2011. Then maybe, if there's still a world to watch it in.
(PS If the year 2012 passes and the earth is still around, then I want all that Mayan bullshit thrown in the memory hole and every person who espoused it to punch themselves in the face. And you too, History Channel. If you're not whacking off to World War II for the 4 gazillionth time you're pushing 2012 every night at 8 p.m. with horrible re-enactments of events that have yet to occur. You have to punch yourself, too.)