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2012: disaster porn at its best

Two_thousand_twelveI’m not quite sure when this site turned into the House of Pulp (note to self – finish long post about The Kindly Ones before literary credentials evaporate completely) but at the risk of alienating those few serious people still hanging in there, I invite you to feast your eyes on the glory that is the new trailer for Roland Emmerich’s 2012.

I’ve long thought Emmerich, who directed Godzilla, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and, most recently, the brain-numbingly dopey 10,000 BC is misunderstood. It’s easy to point to the cornball dialogue (“What happened to the right of people to FIGHT FOR THEIR LIVES!”) and the increasingly ridiculous plots of his films and miss the very real beauty of the images of mass destruction he creates. In many ways his movies seem closer to the work of a painter like Breugel, with their beautifully rendered landscapes and occasional, apocalyptic fervour, than to conventional movie-making. Certainly there’s something almost painterly about much of The Day After Tomorrow, which is filled with images of sudden, and breathtaking beauty (the birds flying away from New York, for instance).

The trailer for 2012 is all this and more. A riff on the broader conflation of the Mayan calendar and theories predicting the end of the world (there’s a nice Wikipedia article on the subject if you’re not familiar with them), it begins with the assumption that the end of the Mayan Long Count on 21 December 2012 really does predict the end of the world, and moves from there into the usual collage of characters fighting for their lives. Now I’ve obviously not seen the film, but it looks pretty gob-smacking to me (not least because the whole Long Count idea has always given me a little shiver of anxiety anyway) with one completely awesome image of destruction after another. And, in the midst of it all, there’s a magnificent little grab where one of the characters says he’s heard the government is building a huge boat, and a moment later a giraffe is seen being winched into it.

Like I said, pure genius . . .

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It’s also available in HD:

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love Emmerich’s stuff. The secret, I think, is this: he has an unerring ability to latch on to a detail that sells itself to a mass audience. His spectacles are always spectacular. Once I knew that 10,000 BC was directed by Emmerich, I knew that it was going to be ludicrous and fact-free – but what a concept! 10,000 years back, before the rise of civilisation! I don’t care if it’s all lies, or all fiction – I love thinking about that stuff! And he certainly delivered in the film – Wooly Mammoth hunts, attacks by Terror Birds, etc, encounters with sabre-toothed tigers, etc.

    And of course the films are full of logical leaps, ludicrous plot devices, and fantasy masquerading as science. But that’s all part of the fun; I like that, too. At the very least you can laugh at the ludicrous nature of the script and plotting. At its best, it is still interesting because it’s true to the emotional life of the characters.

    June 22, 2009
  2. I have watched The Day After Tomorrow so many times I think there might be something wrong with me. I do wonder what it is about these kind of films that I find so addictive. Some child-like need to dwell on your worst fears and thereby conquer them, perhaps. Or maybe it’s just that Jake Gyllenhaal is so hot. On that – I do think the casting of John Cusack in 2012 is a stroke of genius because he’s so connected to a certain generation through his teen films.

    June 22, 2009
  3. Hmmm. Watched the trailer, and it does look fun… but I’m a bit disappointed in Emmerich. I mean, if it’s all to do with an ancient Mayan prophecy and all that…. didn’t Emmerich have a perfect opportunity to end the world in a RELIGIOUS APOCALYPSE? Bloodlusting Mayan Gods falling down on the earth, people trying to appease the wrath of the Gods with various forms of sacrifice, supernatural entities popping up here, there, and everywhere – it would have been SO COOL!

    Emmerich’s already done a ‘scientific’ end of the world. I want to see an old-style Armageddon!

    June 22, 2009

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