You’ve heard the stories. The world is going to end on December 21, 2012. Why? Because the Mayans said so. You see, there’s this old Mayan calendar that ends on precisely that date, proving that they were masters of astronomy and seeing the future. Except, they didn’t foresee that whole “Europeans show up in the sixteenth century and kill any Mayans that survive the smallpox they bring with them on their boats” thing. Or, maybe they did and just thought this way would be more fun. I can imagine them all laughing from the afterlife at us as we try to interpret their calendar.
Mayan #1: (Roaring with laughter) “They think it’s a doomsday calendar.”
Mayan #2: (Snorting with laughter) “They also think we predicted a planetary alignment with the galactic core and put it into that calendar.”
Mayan #1: (Rolling and holding his belly) “One day they’ll flip it over and realize it says ‘April Fool’s Day’ on the back.”
Mayan #2: (Wiping tears from his eyes) “They actually made a movie out of it. Morons!”
Or something like that. Hell, I’m making fun of us too. It’s amazing to me that so many people are buying into this bullshit. And leave it to Hollywood to latch onto the latest random scientific concept that purports the end of the world and turn it into the newest phase of apocalypse films. In the last ten years, they’ve gone from killer asteroids, to global warming, and now, to solar flares. They already failed with “Knowing” so they added the Mayan doomsday theory to try to add some flare (ha).
Here’s the science-y explanation we’re given: on the date mentioned above, a planetary alignment with the core of the Milky Way Galaxy causes the normal stream of neutrinos from the sun to mutate into an enormous burst of planet-altering particles. They tell us this at the very beginning of the film, so I tried to disengage my brain immediately. Unfortunately, some really stupid things immediately followed that my brain just couldn’t let go by. By the way, this so-called alignment with the galactic core by the sun and Earth happens every year, so the whole premise behind this film and Mayan doomsday theorists is crap anyway.
The first thing they show us is that a bunch of geologists in India had built a lab in a copper mine that was 11,000 feet deep, held an average temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and brought it all down there in a really rickety elevator. All of this by itself wouldn’t have been so bad if they hadn’t gone out of their way to point out that it was really hot, at one point showing an old guy sighing in relief after he puts his feet into a bucket of ice water. If they were going through all the trouble of bringing expensive electronics down there, why wouldn’t they bring something to cool it (and them) with? After all, at those temperatures, electronics and people fry. At the place I work (we have a lot electronics too) our guys freak out when the room temperature gets to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
As our character is being shown around this place (and slowly roasting), they explain the neutrino thing to him, telling him that the neutrinos are acting like microwaves. He proves this by opening a hatch where water is boiling. At this point, I thought “Don’t look in there, microwaves will kill you” and sure enough, he put his face right over the water. That was the point where I knew there was no way I was going to be able get through this film without my brain cutting in. Please tell me you made the following connection at some point during this scene. If the neutrinos that are constantly bombarding the Earth are boiling the water, and people are mostly made of water, wouldn’t every person on Earth explode? Or at the very least liquefy from the inside out? For the next two hours, we watch the entire planet try to tear itself apart and not one person even gets a fever.
But this is what Hollywood does now. They come up with some shitty premise loosely based on science, dress it up with special effects, explosions, and noise, and continue to expect us (why shouldn’t they?) to hand over our cash without noticing that we were just bent over and violated.
Still not convinced? Besides the asinine science, the film was full of things that should make you scratch your head in confusion if you only slightly pay attention. At one point, all of the shifting of the Earth’s tectonic plates causes massive tsunamis, which they tell us peak at 1500 meters. Yet, the water somehow manages to cover nearly all of Mt. Everest, which is 10,000 meters. Huh? Later, this tsunami smashes into the arks that have been built to save people, yet doesn’t even budge them. But, then Air Force One, which is being pushed by the tsunami, slams into one of the arks, pushing it out of its anchored position. Wait, the arks are impervious to tsunamis, but not to what is essentially an aluminum tube in relation to the tsunami? Geez, my head hurts.
If that wasn’t enough, we’re expected to believe a guy could survive the shockwave from a massive volcanic eruption while standing on a hill nearby (maybe). That John Cusack can run faster than an airplane (it is John Cusack). That forty-some governments worked together to build arks that could hold 400,000 people, comfortably, in less than three years, in the Chinese Himalayas, and kept it secret (are you kidding me!?). That we should waste precious space on the arks saving dangerous, predatory animals, rather than people, or at the very least, animals we eat (as long as it tastes like chicken). That instead of secretly shuttling those people who had paid for seats on the arks ($1 billion per person; seriously) in early, they waited until the shit hit the fan before sending them text messages (still not making this up) to get to the arks (that sound you hear is my brain leaking out my nose). That…oh, forget it.
The list goes on, but I won’t. All I have left to say is that I’ve heard that Roland Emmerich, the director/producer/writer, has said he won’t do anymore disaster movies. I just hope he’s not lying because I don’t think I can take any more of this nonsense. He’s been quoted as saying he’s “a filmmaker, not a scientist,” so at least we know he’s not deluded. What he’s not getting is that his earlier films, “Stargate” and “Independence Day,” were good movies because they weren’t trying to pass off some ridiculous science or history and had well-thought out stories. Even the dead Mayans would agree with that.
Rating: Ask for seven dollars back. If you hadn’t noticed, I didn’t even mention any other aspects of the film because, quite frankly, they didn’t matter. That should tell you enough.