This is a little overdue, but I need to report that I did sit through the 2 hour and 38 minute *facepalm* experience that was the movie 2012. I was invited by Christian, and well, there’s no better way to see this movie than with people who will stay up til all hours of the morning humorously ripping it apart with you. And, apparently he and Maria have a penchant for watching bad movies. So we went to see it with a small gaggle of astronomers and skeptics from CVille (okay we all fit in my car), not knowing it was 158 minutes long. Wow.
Of course, you can already read some fantastic reviews by Rebecca of Skepchick, Ian O’Neill over at Discovery, and at Christian’s The Man Version. To chime in with those: the CGI was pretty effing cool, the movie was LONG and the characters uninteresting, women were reduced to useless whiners, and the bad science was barely justified. Here’s what sticks out in my head all these weeks later (needless to say, with spoilers):
Super-neutrinos. WHAAA? A solar flare (which has to do with the sun’s surface) is caused by a planetary alignment (must be a new property of gravity) sends off a wave of neutrinos (which come from the sun’s interior) but they aren’t BORING neutrinos that barely interact with matter but SUPER ones that pass unimpeded through the actors but heat up the Earth’s core or mantle or whatever layer was mentioned depending on who was talking. It would be bad enough to base the movie on the silly pseudo-science surrounding the 2012 nonsense as it is, but they had to make up their own silly pseudo-science to make the plot attempt to stick. At the very least, it gave those in our row a big laugh.
CGI everything. Okay, watching Yellowstone explode was cool. But some visceral part of me wants for something to be actually destroyed. A model, a car, something. This hit me in one of the very first disaster scenes as the main characters are driving through a series of white picket fences. I noticed that the fence shards were CG. C’mon, can’t you bust up just ONE fence for me and my $9?!
Roland Emmerich thinks we’re morons. I guess we are for coming along to see this movie, but nevertheless… the cheesy jokes and over the top symbolism that is cliche for any bad movie simply saturated this flick. The wholesale destruction of various religious monuments gave a “God says eff you” feel to the flick, but he had to rub it in when the wave of destruction hit the Sistine Chapel and a crack running along the ceiling went OUT OF ITS WAY to split exactly between the fingers of God and Adam. WOW. Thanks for being so SUBTLE.
THAT’S what you call a happy ending? All of humanity is pretty much dead with almost a hour left to go in the film which centers around these arks that are to carry a minuscule percentage of the Earth’s population (mostly politicians and rich people) and their art to safety. I wanted spaceships, I got arks. You just DESTROYED THE PLANET and you want me to care that John Cusack is stuck in a water-filled compartment? Check, please. But at the end they had these few survivors prancing out of the ark onto new land and we’re supposed to be happy about this? I was totally expecting a rainbow and a dove like in all those cartoon versions of Noah’s Ark that I had to watch as a kid.
For all the complaining, it was worth it for the funny and to say I survived it, but I’d recommend only watching it if you have fast-forward as an option.
And if you are really worried about 2012, check out this cool visualization by Information is Beautiful. I have a small beef with the skeptics side which agrees that precession has a beginning or end point or a length of time for termination… I don’t think there is a particular end point, nor does precession changing by half a degree mean anything significant. Minor point, and if someone knows why they said that, I’d like to be corrected!
Then again, maybe we are in trouble…