Monday, November 09, 2009

'2012"

Here's a copy of my story i filed for the upcoming columbia pictures' disaster flick "2012".
*****
What if the world ends in 2012?
By Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. correspondent (The Philippine Star)

If you knew the world is going to end in 2012, what would you do?

This writer posed this question to the three leading stars of Columbia Pictures’ latest film, the riveting and breathtaking 2012, during the junket at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills over the weekend.

“I will end this interview and go to the beach,” joked John Cusack, who stars as writer Jackson Curtis out to save his family from harm and danger in the movie. He would later correct himself and shared that he would most probably welcome it by watching a very good movie.
Amanda Peet, who plays his ex-wife Kate, declined to answer but exclaimed that, “I truly try hard not to imagine it. That’s so horrible. I can’t think about that — my daughter is only two years old!”

British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who received wide critical acclaim for his performances in Dirty Pretty Things and Kinky Boots, and who plays Adrian Helmsley, the geologist who calculated the timeline of the world’s demise, offered a more introspective answer.

“It depends on a number of factors,” he began. “One would be if everybody else knew versus only a few, in which case it would be a good opportunity to travel and see all the places in the world you hadn’t seen and only later on, say the last six months, would you then figure out how to survive the thing — if there’s any possibility at all.”

Wise advice indeed!

If one wants to see all the beautiful landmarks in the world, one must hurry up because when the world ends three years from now, all these priceless treasures are going to be destroyed in spectacular fashion — if master filmmaker Roland Emmerich will have his way, that is.

2012 is an apocalyptic look at an earth finally succumbing to major environmental upheavals. It features intense and eye-popping display of state-of-the-art movie special effects and, save for the Mecca in Saudi Arabia, no major world landmark is spared.

The filmmaker behind such blockbuster epics as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, Stargate, and Godzilla toyed with the idea of showing the destruction of Mecca but decided against it and opted to destroy the Vatican City instead. “That tells you so much about the world. You can destroy Christian symbols as much as you want but you have to keep your fingers off Islam,” director Emmerich confided.

The movie’s cataclysmic scenes are some of the scariest this writer has ever seen on cinema. For someone who lives in Los Angeles, it was a nightmare to see the destruction of the city. Think of all imaginable disasters in the world — tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, fires, entire countries going under the sea, etc. — this movie has it all!

What makes it scarier is the scientific theory supporting the movie’s premise. It utilizes the controversial Mayan prophecy that the world will come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012. The Mayans, who are noted for their precise mathematics and keen astronomical insights, devised various calendars during the golden age of their civilization. One calendar they created, which scholars call the “long count” calendar and which exactly measures the planetary alignments and its cyclical patterns, tracks every 5,126 Gregorian years and resets to zero (or the beginning of time) at the end. The current 5,126 year-period, based on the Mayan calendar, is expected to end by 2012.

On Dec. 21, 2012, another extraordinary phenomenon is expected to occur. This occurrence happens only every 26,000 years. On this date, the sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way. Mayan enthusiasts have long claimed that this rare celestial episode is proof that an earth-shattering event that will change the course of history will occur on this date.

This grim end-of-the-world scenario was the perfect setup for the $200-M movie — and the filmmakers unapologetically went all out destroying the world. “I hope and pray to God that what we are doing is not true,” writer and producer Harald Kloser pleaded. “Parts of everything are true but we kind of engineered it a little bit to make it work as a science in the film. The San Andreas Fault, the earthquakes, the planetary alignments are all true. Even the earth’s crust displacement theory, although true is still a highly questionable theory.”

2012 did offer one prediction that ultimately became true: When filming began in Canada in early 2008, the US had a white president then, but the script already had a black man for president. “The black president is not a coincidence,” Harald said. “When I wrote my first scene in the white house, the story had a woman president.” The gender was changed after Hilary Clinton lost to Barack Obama in the Iowa primary. Acclaimed actor Danny Glover plays the president.

The movie begins inauspiciously with the discovery of the earth’s core heating up in the present times (2009) and the story slowly escalates to the year 2012 when all the mayhem started taking place.

The world, as we know it, is going to end! Consider this movie a fair warning.

2012 also stars Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, and Woody Harrelson, who is so good and initially unrecognizable in another offbeat role.

The film will open Nov. 13 in theaters.

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