Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 (2009)

Directed by Roland Emmerich (1) 

Cast: John Cusack (2), Chiwetel Ejiofor (3), Amanda Peet (4), Morgan Lily (5), Thandie Newton (6), Oliver Platt (7), Woody Harrelson (8), Jimi Mistry (9), and Beatrice Rosen (10)

(Watch the trailer)

My favourite quote - "The moment we stop fighting for each other, that's the moment we lose our humanity"

It's 3rd of January 2013 and I'm still alive! Were you afraid that doomsday would occur on the 21st of December 2012? What were you doing on the 21st and where were you? On the day the world was supposed to end, I was on a holiday in Thessaloniki, Greece with an old friend of mine. 

While I wasn't terrified about the world coming to an end on the 21st of December, I did think about it a lot before I made plans to go overseas for a holiday. You see, this recent holiday to Greece marks the first time I've ever spent the Christmas and New Year holiday without my family and close friends. The Christmas season has always been a big thing in my family because I was born and raised a Catholic. Every year, the family would all get together to have Christmas lunch together but this time, everyone was celebrating it without me and I without them. And having experienced this recently, I don't think I want to spend another Christmas away from my family. 

When I made plans for this recent holiday, I did ask myself, 'What if the world does end in 2012? Do I want to be away from my family when that happens?' Well, my answer was no. If the events of the film 2012 did occur, I wouldn't want to be away from my family. But I still went anyway because I bet on the odds that the world won't end yet. And thankfully, I was right. 

Besides being a disaster film, at the heart of it all, the film 2012 is about what kind of person you want to be when faced with such a situation as well as who and what is important in times like this. When tragedy strikes, men either turn on each other to survive, or turn to each other for support and help. The following dialogue is my favourite scene in 2012. I mean every blockbuster disaster film needs a great inspirational speech about humanity and survival. While this is not my favourite inspirational speech from a disaster film, it's some good stuff. And I feel that this scene is the crux of what the film is trying to say, that saving the human race isn't just about saving it's people and it's culture, it's about what we do and how we treat each other during times of adversity. 

Dr Adrian Helmsley: I know we've all been forced to make difficult decisions to save our human civilisation. But to be human means to care for each other, and civilisation means to work together to create a better life, if that's true, then there's nothing human and nothing civilised about what we're doing here.
Carl Anheuser: Dr Helmsley's passion is admirable, but I will remind you that we have very limited resources and extremely limited time.
Dr Adrian Helmsley: Ask yourselves, can we really stand by and watch these people die. I read a quote two days ago, the author is probably dead by now, but he said 'the moment we stop fighting for each other, that's the moment we lose our humanity.'
Carl Anheuser: And in order to save the human race we have an obligation to stick to this plan, which every nation on this floatilla has signed up for.
Dr Adrian Helmsley: We have to let these people in!
Carl Anheuser: They're in God's hand now! Officer, you turn that off! That is an order sailor, turn it off!
Professor Frederick West: Don't you dare touch that button young man!
Carl Anheuser: Have you completely lost your mind? Look at the clock! We have barely 15 minutes left! Do you want to be responsible for the extinction of the human race? Can you handle that Adrian?
Dr Adrian Helmsley: There's a young astrophysicist from India who's the reason we're all here. 
Carl Anheuser: Oh for God's sake.
Dr Adrian Helmsley: He's the one who discovered it all. He connected all the dots, we all owe him our lives. I just learned that he was killed with his family in a tsunami in Eastern India. He was my friend, and he died in vain, everybody out there has died in vain if we start our future with an act of cruelty. What will you tell your children? What will they tell theirs?

I think it's sad that a lot of people only appreciate what they have either when they've lost it or are about to lose it. I will always remember something my secondary school teacher said when we asked him cheekily what plans he had for his wife for Valentine's Day. He said that there was no plan because to him every day is Valentine's Day, why wait for a special day to show someone you love how much you love them. And I think that what he said is true. You could die any day, if you don't want to die with any regrets, you have to live each day like it's your last. 

In 2012, it was mostly the rich and the intelligent or "important" individuals who were able to secure a place on the ark. And in the disaster film Deep Impact, the US government did offer ordinary citizens a chance to be saved through a lottery. And in the scene when Dr Helmsley realises that the ark could have saved more people if they had designed it so that the rooms could accommodate more people instead of being so luxurious and comfortable, it really made me draw similarities with the scene in Titanic of the half filled lifeboats. I hope that if ever we come face to face with a doomsday situation like this, the government of every country would hold a lottery so that a number of ordinary folk could have a chance at survival. 

Dr Laura Wilson: All those people we left behind, they don't stand a chance do they?
Dr Adrian Helmsley: I believe that nature will choose from itself, from itself, all will survive. Just like you preserving those great artworks. Our culture is our soul and that's not dying tonight.
Dr Laura Wilson: Oh come on. I contributed to this cover up. The Da Vinci, and Picasso, they're in, but you're some nobody, you don't stand a chance. 
Dr Adrian Helmsley: That's not, that's not necessarily true. You ever hear of a writer called erm... Jackson Curtis? Wrote a book, Farewell Atlantis. What do you think the chances are of an unknown writer, who barely sold 500 copies, making it aboard this plane?
Dr Laura Wilson: I don't understand.
Dr Adrian Helmsley: I mean call it chance, or fate, or nature, it doesn't matter, this book is part of our legacy now. Why? Because I'm reading it. 

This is another scene that really got my attention especially so soon after going to Greece and looking at all the ruins and the artifacts in the museums. We can learn a lot about a civilisation just from its books, its art, and even in their day to day necessities and architecture. And I like what Dr Adrian Helmsley says in the above exchange. It makes me think about how I want to contribute and how I want to make my mark on this world. 

This blog, if there were a disaster like in the film, would it survive me and be my legacy? While wikipedia is not a reflection of how well-known a person is because anyone can edit the content or make a page for themselves, I was still pleasantly surprised to find my name on a wikipedia page. I am one of the Assistant Producers who worked on the second season of debate-style television show The Arena and my name was listed on it's wikipedia page. It's not like I have a whole page dedicated to me, but still, the fact that someone actually did a page up for the show and actually bothered to put my name up that made me feel some measure of happiness. Maybe one day I will achieve more, and someone will do up an entire page about me with substantial things to say about what I've done and achieved. But for now, it's something I can still work on every day. 

What I enjoyed about the film is the interaction between the various characters like John Cusack's Jackson Curtis and his ex-wife Kate as well as his relationship with his children Lily and Noah. I was invested in the character of Jackson Curtis and whether he and his family makes it through to the end of the film alive. And that is the whole point isn't it? To get the audience to want to see who makes it to the end and survives despite all odds. 

I've always liked John Cusack and I think he's a great actor. I also think that each actor and actress playing a member of his family in 2012 did a great job in their roles and they were all a joy to watch. Even his ex-wife's boyfriend, played by Thomas McCarthy, was really well acted. Kudos as well to Woody Harrelson who did a fantastic job playing the eccentric conspiracy theorist Charlie Frost. And Oliver Platt for playing such a fantastic ass in the film. 

The sets and the special effects also were well done and I have little compliant about the film in general. In terms of the story, well, its a disaster film, people are going to die, and film goers won't be very thrilled or satisfied if EVERYONE died. So we more or less know that the film is going to end on a positive note, but how we get to that point is what makes a film interesting. 2012 has done a decent job in terms of its story; while I can't say if the science holds any water, it's done its basic job of making all hell break loose for the story to move along. 

(1) Roland Emmerich has directed films like Universal Soldier (1992), Stargate (1994), Independence Day (1996), Godzilla (1998), The Thirteenth Floor (1999), The Patriot (2000), Eight Legged Freaks (2002), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), 10,000 BC (2008), Anonymous (2011), and White House Down (2013). 

(2) John Cusack has acted in films like Sixteen Candles (1984), Say Anything... (1989), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), Con Air (1997), The Thin Red Line (1998), Pushing Tin (1999), Being John Malkovich (1999), High Fidelity (2000), America's Sweethearts (2001), Serendipity (2001), Runaway Jury (2003), Must Love Dogs (2005), 1408 (2007), Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), and The Paperboy (2012). 

(3) Chiwetel Ejiofor has acted in films like Dirty Pretty Things (2002), Love Actually (2003), Melinda And Melinda (2004), Serenity (2005), Inside Man (2006), Children Of Men (2006), American Gangster (2007), and Salt (2010). 

(4) Amanda Peet has acted in films like She's The One (1996), One Fine Day (1996), Simply Irresistible (1999), The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Something's Gotta Give (2003), The Whole Ten Yards (2004), Melinda And Melinda (2004), A Lot Like Love (2005), and Gulliver's Travels (2010). She played Jacqueline Barrett in the television series Jack & Jill (1999-2001) and she has also guest starred in television series like Law & Order, Spin City, Seinfield, How I Met Your Mother, and The Good Wife. 

(5) Morgan Lily has acted in films like Henry Poole Is Here (2008), He's Just Not That Into You (2009), Flipped (2010), and X-Men: First Class (2011).

(6) Thandie Newton has acted in films like Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), Mission: Impossible II (2000), The Chronicles Of Riddick (2004), Crash (2004), The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006), Norbit (2007), Run Fatboy Run (2007), RocknRolla (2008), How To Lose Friends And Alienate People (2008), and W. (2008). She also played the role of Makemba Likasu in the television series ER (2003-2009).

(7) Oliver Platt has acted in films like Working Girl (1988), Beethoven (1992), Indescent Proposal (1993), The Three Musketeers (1993), A Time To Kill (1996), Dr. Dolittle (1998), Three To Tango (1999), Bicentennial Man (1999), Pieces Of April (2003), Casanova (2005), Frost/Nixon (2008), Year One (2009), Love And Other Drugs (2010), Letters To Juliet (2010), and X-Men: First Class (2011). He also played Freddie Prune in the television series Nip/Tuck (2007-2008) and Paul Jamison in the series The Big C (2010-present). 

(8) Woody Harrelson played Woody Boyd in the television series Cheers (1985-1993) and has acted in films like Mother Goose Rock 'N' Rhyme (1990), Doc Hollywood (1991), Indecent Proposal (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), The Thin Red Line (1998), Anger Management (2003), North Country (2005), No Country For Old Men (2007), Battle In Seattle (2007), Seven Pounds (2008), The Messenger (2009), Zombieland (2009), Friends With Benefits (2011), The Hunger Games (2011), Now You See Me (2013), and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). 

(9) Jimi Mistry has acted in films like The Guru (2002), Ella Enchanted (2004), Blood Diamond (2006), and RocknRolla (2008).

(10) Beatrice Rosen has acted in films like Chasing Liberty (2004), and The Dark Knight (2008). She has also guest starred in television series like Smallville, Charmed, Nikita, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. 

The Eclectic Review thinks... 2012 managed to deliver what it promised as a disaster film and while the script is nothing new and doesn't do much to make it stand out from other disaster films, it does a decent job of making us think and ask ourselves what will we do and how will we react if we were them. So don't hesitate, make amends with those you're not on talking terms with, tell your family and friends you love them and care about them, and if you have anything you feel you haven't yet achieved, go out there and do it! (3.5 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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