Sitting down almost a week ago to watch 2012 starts a string of movie reviews I hope to start doing regarding popular culture (especially Hollywood) and their fascination with all things apocalyptic. I am trying to develop a rubric for these reviews that will be different than other more cinematic focused reviews. My format may get tweaked, but I hope to provide a theological look at some of the new movies coming out (and some older classics that set the tone).
Science has figured out the planet (due to the Sun and overall Universe issues) will be shifting plates and dealing with crust destabilization. The story follows a relatively unknown scientist whose job has been to make a timeline for the cataclysm. A deadbeat dad (who seems to be a crackpot sci-fi author) is also trying to save his broken family from impending doom. He has written fiction regarding a world-wide event and has impressed the good of man in his writing.
How does this movie react to religion?
2012 shows the destruction of key places of almost every major religion (except islam). What is interesting is the vatican being destroyed while the Pope is leading prayer and the cardinals are in St. Peters praying. Several elements of Christian faith are destroyed on camera. The only overt mentions of God actually come through street doomsdayers and characters referencing that we should have been listening.
How does human character fit in?
The larger story of the movie still follows the themes of classic liberalism, in that “we” as a culture have the ability to think our way out of any situation, no matter how bad. In the end, humanity has developed and evolved enough to always prevail. This is evident in the plan to build a series of ships (called “arks”) to float through the flood that will happen as a result of tidal waves. Even though their are problems, we are intelligent enough to get out of this. A few minor characters show the weakness of human ethic (the willingness to leave people behind, take advantage of others to support themselves..etc..), but humans are ultimately good creatures.
The ultimate evil and goodness of humanity is both barely touched on, and not in a manner outside any other action adventure movie. Death is always a viewed in a peripheral manner.
How does this feed apocalyptic fervor?
In the end 2012 will join the ranks of Armageddon and Deep Impact as good stories, superb special effects, but not greatly affect culture in a deep way.
The Road Warrior Scale?
I give it a 4. It was a decent movie, but forgettable and it really didn’t deal with the current fascination of “The End”.