2012 (film)


2012 (film)
2012
A Buddhist monk standing against a background of the Himalayan mountains while a mega tsunami is surging over them.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Produced by Harald Kloser
Mark Gordon
Larry J. Franco
Written by Harald Kloser
Roland Emmerich
Starring John Cusack
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Amanda Peet
Oliver Platt
Thandie Newton
Danny Glover
Woody Harrelson
Music by Harald Kloser
Thomas Wander
Cinematography Dean Semler
Editing by David Brenner
Peter S. Elliott
Studio Centropolis Entertainment
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) November 11, 2009 (2009-11-11) (international)
November 13, 2009 (2009-11-13) (United States)
(Canada)
Running time 158 minutes
Country Canada
United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[1]
Box office $769,679,473[2]

2012 is a 2009 American disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich. It stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, and Woody Harrelson. It was produced by Emmerich's production company, Centropolis Entertainment and was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Filming began in August 2008 in Vancouver, although it was originally planned to be filmed in Los Angeles.[3]

The plot follows Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) as he attempts to bring his children, Noah and Lilly (Liam James and Morgan Lily respectively), ex-wife Kate Curtis (Amanda Peet) and her boyfriend, Gordon Silberman (Thomas McCarthy) to refuge and attempt to escape the heightened change in the elements. The film includes references to Mayanism, the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar and the 2012 phenomenon in its portrayal of cataclysmic events unfolding in the year 2012. Emmerich has announced that the film will be his last involving disasters.[4]

After a prolonged marketing campaign comprising the creation of a website from the point of view of the main character, Jackson Curtis,[5] and a viral marketing website on which filmgoers could register for a lottery number to save them from the ensuing disaster,[6] the film was internationally released on 13 November 2009. It received generally mixed to negative reviews from critics and its worldwide theatrical revenue reached approximately $769 million.[7]

Contents

Plot

In 2009, Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an American geologist, visits astrophysicist Dr. Satnam Tsurutani (Jimi Mistry) in India and learns that neutrinos from a massive solar flare are causing the temperature of the Earth's core to increase. Adrian gives a report on this to White House Chief of Staff Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt) who ends up taking Adrian to meet the President of the United States.

In 2010, President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover) and other international leaders begin a secret project to ensure humanity's survival. Approximately 400,000 people are chosen to board "arks" that are constructed at Cho Ming, Tibet, China, in the Himalayas. At the same time, as the People's Liberation Army are gathering volunteers, a Buddhist monk named Nima (Osric Chau) is evacuated while his brother Tenzin (Chin Han) joins the workers in the Ark project. Additional funding for the project is raised by selling tickets to the private sector for 1 billion per person. By 2011, humanity's valuable treasures are moved to the Himalayas under the guise of protecting them from terrorist attacks with the help of art expert and First Daughter Dr. Laura Wilson (Thandie Newton).

In 2012, Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is a science fiction writer in Los Angeles who works part-time as a limousine driver for a Russian billionaire, Yuri Karpov (Zlatko Burić). Jackson's ex-wife, Kate (Amanda Peet), and their children Noah (Liam James) and Lilly (Morgan Lily), live with Kate's boyfriend, plastic surgeon Gordon Silberman (Thomas McCarthy).

Jackson takes Noah and Lilly camping in Yellowstone National Park. After an encounter with Helmsley, they meet Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), who hosts a radio show from the park. Charlie plays a video of Charles Hapgood's theory that polar shifts and the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar predict that the 2012 phenomenon will occur. He has a map of the Ark project, in addition to information about officials and scientists from around the world who were murdered after planning to alert the public. The family returns home as seismic activity vastly increases along the west coast of the United States. Jackson grows suspicious and rents a plane to rescue his family. He collects his family and Gordon as the displacement of Earth's crust begins, and they narrowly escape Los Angeles as the city disintegrates and slides into the Pacific Ocean.

As millions die in catastrophic earthquakes worldwide, the group flies to Yellowstone to retrieve Charlie's map, escaping as the Yellowstone Caldera erupts. Charlie stays behind to broadcast the eruption and is killed in the blast, which is expected to spread enormous, deadly dust storms throughout the surrounding states. Learning that the arks are in China, the group lands in Las Vegas to find a larger plane. They meet Yuri, his twin sons Alec and Oleg (played by Alexandre and Philippe Haussmann), girlfriend Tamara (Beatrice Rosen), and pilot Sasha (Johann Urb). The group secures an Antonov 500 aircraft and departs for China. Also heading for the arks aboard Air Force One are Anheuser, Helmsley, and Laura Wilson. President Wilson remains in Washington, D.C. to address the nation one last time. With the Vice President dead and the Speaker of the House missing, Anheuser assumes de facto leadership. President Wilson is later killed by a megatsunami that sends the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy crashing into the White House.

Arriving in China in a crash landing that kills Sasha, the group is spotted by the People's Liberation Army. Yuri and his sons, possessing tickets, are taken to the arks, leaving Tamara and the others behind. They are picked up by Nima and are taken to the arks with his grandparents (Lisa Lu and Chang Tseng). They stow away on the ark with the help of Tenzin. As a megatsunami approaches the site, an impact driver becomes lodged between the gears of the ark's Hydraulics Chamber, preventing a boarding gate from closing and rendering the ship unable to start its engines. In the ensuing chaos Yuri, Gordon and Tamara are killed, Tenzin is wounded, and the ark is set adrift. Jackson and Noah dislodge the impact driver and the crew regains control of the ark before it can impact Mount Everest.

After flood waters from the tsunamis recede, the arks travel to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa where the Drakensberg Mountains have risen in relation to sea level and become the tallest mountains in the world. Jackson is rejoined with his family, and Helmsley starts a relationship with Laura. The final scene shows that Africa and some land masses remain above sea level.

Cast

Production

The credits cite the bestselling book Fingerprints of the Gods by author Graham Hancock as inspiration for the film,[12] and in an interview with the London magazine Time Out Emmerich states: "I always wanted to do a biblical flood movie, but I never felt I had the hook. I first read about the Earth's Crust Displacement Theory in Graham Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods."[13]

Director Emmerich and composer-producer Harald Kloser had an extremely close relationship and also co-wrote a spec script entitled 2012, which was marketed to major studios in February 2008. Nearly all studios met with Emmerich and his representatives to hear the director's budget projection and story plans, a process that the director had previously gone through with the films Independence Day (1996) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004).[14] Later that month, Sony Pictures Entertainment won the rights for the spec script, planning to distribute it under Columbia Pictures[15] and was produced for less than budgeted. According to Emmerich, the film was eventually produced for about $200 million.[1]

Filming was originally scheduled to begin in Los Angeles, California, in July 2008[3] but instead commenced in Kamloops, Savona, Cache Creek and Ashcroft in British Columbia, Canada.[16] Due to the possible 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike, filmmakers set up a contingency plan for salvaging the film.[17] Uncharted Territory, Digital Domain, Double Negative, Scanline, Sony Pictures Imageworks and others were hired to create computer animated visual effects for 2012.

Although the film depicts the destruction of several major cultural and historical icons around the world, Emmerich stated that the Kaaba was also considered for selection. Kloser opposed the idea out of fear that a fatwā might be issued against him.[18][19]

Marketing

The film was promoted in a marketing campaign by a fictional organization, the "Institute for Human Continuity"; this entailed a fictitious book written by Jackson Curtis entitled Farewell Atlantis,[5] and streaming media, blog updates and radio broadcasts from the apocalyptic zealot Charlie Frost on his website This Is The End.[5]

On November 12, 2008, the new studio released the first teaser trailer for 2012 that showed a tsunami surging over the Himalayas and interlaced a purportedly scientific message suggesting that the world would end in 2012, and that the world's governments were not preparing its population for the event. The trailer ended with a message to viewers to "find out the truth" by searching "2012" on search engines. The Guardian criticized the marketing effectiveness as "deeply flawed" and associated it with "websites that make even more spurious claims about 2012".[20]

The studio also launched a viral marketing website operated by the fictional Institute for Human Continuity, where filmgoers could register for a lottery number to be part of a small population that would be rescued from the global destruction.[6] David Morrison of NASA received over 1000 inquiries from people who thought the website was genuine, and condemned it. "I've even had cases of teenagers writing to me saying they are contemplating suicide because they don't want to see the world end," he said. "I think when you lie on the internet and scare children to make a buck, that is ethically wrong."[21] Another viral marketing website promotes Farewell Atlantis, a fictional suspense novel by the film's lead protagonist, about the events of 2012.[5]

Comcast had also organized a "roadblock campaign" to promote the film, where a two-minute scene from the film was broadcast across 450 American commercial television networks, local English and Spanish language stations, and 89 cable outlets within a ten-minute window between 10:50 PM EDT/PDT and 11:00 PM EDT/PDT on October 1, 2009.[22] The scene featured the destruction of Los Angeles and ended with a cliffhanger, with the entire 5-minute-38-second clip made available on Comcast's Fancast web site. The trade newspaper Variety estimated that, "The stunt will put the footage in front of 90% of all households watching ad-supported TV, or nearly 110 million viewers. When combined with online and mobile streams, that could increase to more than 140 million".[22]

Soundtrack

2012: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score by Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander
Released November 10, 2009
Length 57:48
Label RCA Victor

The original score for the film was composed by Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander. Singer Adam Lambert contributed a song for the film titled "Time for Miracles" and expressed his gratitude for the opportunity in an interview with MTV.[23]

The film's soundtrack consists of 24 tracks, and it includes the songs "Fades Like a Photograph" by Filter and "It Ain't the End of the World", performed by George Segal and Blu Mankuma, which were featured in the film.[24] The trailer music was Master of Shadows by Two Steps From Hell.

2012: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
No. Title Length
1. "Time for Miracles" (Performed by Adam Lambert) 4:43
2. "Constellation"   1:30
3. "Wisconsin"   1:14
4. "U.S. Army"   2:20
5. "Ready to Rumble"   1:42
6. "Spirit of Santa Monica"   1:21
7. "It Ain't the End of the World" (Performed by George Segal and Blu Mankuma) 2:52
8. "Great Kid"   2:17
9. "Finding Charlie"   1:45
10. "Run Daddy Run"   1:14
11. "Stepping Into the Darkness"   1:35
12. "Leaving Las Vegas"   1:44
13. "Ashes in D.C."   4:19
14. "We are Taking the Bentley"   3:43
15. "Nampan Plateau"   2:51
16. "Saving Caesar"   2:09
17. "Adrian's Speech"   1:41
18. "Open the Gates!"   2:16
19. "The Impact"   1:49
20. "Suicide Mission"   2:06
21. "2012 The End of the World"   1:24
22. "Collision with Mount Everest"   1:09
23. "The End is Only the Beginning"   5:44
24. "Fades Like a Photograph" (Performed by Filter) 4:19
Total length:
57:48

Release

2012 was originally scheduled to be released on July 10, 2009. The release date was changed to November 2009 to move out of the busy summer schedule into a time frame that the studio considered to have more potential for financial success. According to the studio, the film could have been completed for the summer release date, but the date change would give more time to the production. The film was released on November 11, 2009. It was released on Friday November 13, 2009 in Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, India and the United States, and was released on November 21, 2009 in Japan.[25]

The DVD and Blu-ray for 2012 were released on March 2, 2010. The 2-Disc Blu-ray Edition includes over 90 minutes of special features, including Adam Lambert's music video "Time for Miracles", and a Digital Copy for PSP, PC, Mac & iPod.[26] The European release date of 2012 on DVD was March 26, 2010; it includes the same special features as the North American version.

Reception

Box office

2012 earned $166,112,167 in the USA and Canada and $603,567,306 in other territories for a worldwide total of $769,679,473. It is the 5th highest-grossing film of 2009 worldwide[7] and the 37th highest grossing film of all time worldwide. It is Emmerich's second highest grossing film worldwide, behind Independence Day. However, it surpassed Emmerich's previous disaster film The Day After Tomorrow, which grossed $544.3 million worldwide.[27] Worldwide on its opening weekend it made $230.5 million, marking the fourth-largest opening weekend worldwide for a 2009 film.[28]

In North America, it grossed $65,237,614 on its first weekend, ranking number one and marking the 9th highest-grossing opening weekend for a film released in November. The film grossed $166,112,167 in total[2] and earned $165.2 million overseas on its opening weekend marking the 7th largest opening weekend of all time.[29] With $603,567,306 in total overseas earnings, just above the $600-million-mark, it marked the 4th highest-grossing 2009 film overseas.[30] In Bulgaria, it earned $285,273 on its opening weekend, which is the 6th largest in the country, and it earned $856,915 in total to become the 8th highest-grossing film of all time.[31] In Greece, it grossed $2,288,288 which is the second highest-grossing opening weekend of all time after 300's opening with $3,087,500.[32] In Malaysia, it made the second-largest opening weekend ($2,308,796) behind that of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($2,546,774) and became the fourth highest-grossing film of all time.[33] In Taiwan, it grossed the largest two-day weekend of all time ($2,790,845) and, in total earnings, it is third on the all-time chart.[34]

Critical response

The film received generally mixed reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 40% of 2012 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.1 out of 10.[35] Among the site's notable critics, 49% gave the film a positive write-up, based on a sample of 34.[35] The site's consensus is that "Roland Emmerich's 2012 provides plenty of visual thrills, but lacks a strong enough script to support its massive scope and inflated length."[36] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 1–100 reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 49 based on 34 reviews.[37]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone criticized the film by comparing it to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: "Beware 2012, which works the dubious miracle of almost matching Transformers 2 for sheer, cynical, mind-numbing, time-wasting, money-draining, soul-sucking stupidity."[38] Roger Ebert was enthusiastic about the film, giving it 3½ stars out of 4, saying it "delivers what it promises, and since no sentient being will buy a ticket expecting anything else, it will be, for its audiences, one of the most satisfactory films of the year".[39] Both Ebert and Claudia Puig of USA Today called the film the "mother of all disaster movies".[39][40]

Accolades

Danny Glover was nominated for an Image Award for his role in the film.[41]
Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards[42] Best Visual Effects Nominated
Image Awards[41] Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Chiwetel Ejiofor Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Danny Glover Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors[43] Best Sound Editing - Music in a Feature Film Fernand Bos, Ronald J. Webb Nominated
Best Sound Editing - Sound Effects and Foley in a Feature Film Nominated
Satellite Awards[44] Best Sound (Mixing and Editing) Paul N.J. Ottosson, Michael McGee, Rick Kline, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Michael Keller Won
Best Visual Effects Volker Engel, Marc Weigert, Mike Vézina Won
Best Art Direction and Production Design Barry Chusid, Elizabeth Wilcox Nominated
Best Film Editing David Brenner, Peter S. Elliot Nominated
Saturn Awards[45] Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film Nominated
Best Special Effects Volker Engel, Marc Weigert, Mike Vézina Nominated

North Korean ban

North Korea has reportedly banned possession or viewing of the film. The year 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the nation's founder, Kim Il-sung, and has been designated by the North Korean government as "the year for opening the grand gates to becoming a rising superpower". Thus, a movie which depicts the year in a negative light is found to be offensive by the North Korean government. Several people in North Korea have reportedly been arrested for possessing or viewing pirated copies of the movie and charged with "grave provocation against the development of the state."[46][47]

Television spin-off

Entertainment Weekly announced that there was a plan for a spin-off television series entitled 2013 that would have served as a follow-up to the film.[48] Executive producer of 2012, Mark Gordon told EW that "ABC will have an opening in their disaster-related programming after Lost ends, so people would be interested in this topic on a weekly basis. There's hope for the world despite the magnitude of the 2012 disaster as seen in the film. After the movie, there are some people who survive and the question is how will these survivors build a new world and what will it look like. That might make an interesting TV series."[48] However on March 2, 2010, it was announced that ABC decided to pass on the television spin-off of the film.[48]

References

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