Many by now have heard of the ancient Mayan legends that the world is going to come to an end in 2012 with the aliening of the planets. Each culture has legend, story, and myth regarding the end of the earth, it just so happens though that many cultures, many legends center on the aliening of the planets and some report to or around the year 2012. Many Bible scholars, and others also report that whatever you call it, Armageddon, the rapture, or whatever, the end is near, doom is imminent and the world as we know it just can’t survive that much longer. There have been stories of this type for thousands of years, each generation facing doom, and movies to exploit that fear, anticipation for as long as we have been making movies, and even beyond with such fantasies portrayed even on radio with such episodes as the infamous Orson Wells rendering of The War of the Worlds.
The newest movie to bring back the drama, the fear if you will of the end of the world is Sony Pictures rendition into the end of times genera. The feature film, directed by Roland Emmerich is an almost 3 hour, non stop, thought provoking special effects filled adventure that does something unique, in a world hell bent on destruction, and selfish desires, we are reminded, that in what we do for the least of these, it is as if we do it unto God.
2012 is a star studded cast that has in part, Jackson Curtis, played by John Cusack, a divorced father seeking to maintain his fatherly relationship with his children, while at the same time never really giving up on his dreams as an author. He has written one book that has sold few copies, but has had an impact on several individuals. One of them is Dr. Adrian Helmsley, played by wonderful actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. Dr. Helmsley, a geologist has been researching sun spots and their effect on the earth. After some rather conclusive evidence it comes to the attention of those involved in the study that the earths crust will soon go through changes that will cause drastic change to the earth, even ultimate destruction. Upon notification to the proper authorities by Dr. Helmsley, a secret venture takes place by the politicians of the world to save some, while at the same time, letting other fight for themselves, all unknown to Dr. Helmsley. Along the way, we also have Cusack’s character Jackson Curtis, fighting to save his former wife, Kate, played by Amanda Pete, her new husband, and his own two children. Other characters play small but important roles in the film, included among those is the President of the United States played by Danny Glover, and Charlie Frost, an eccentric pirate radio operator played wonderfully by Woody Harrelson who has forewarned the populace of the imamate doom. We also have Oliver Platt playing the part of nasty Washington Politician, Carl Anheuser.
There are several themes addressed in 2012. One of the premises is the power of corruption and how it drives society. Much of what happens around the world is driven by the desire and corruption to obtain power, whether politically or economically. One of the dangers portrayed in 2012 is how even those who have made significant contribution to work towards the salvation of humanity are often left behind. Many times these individuals who have made significant contribution are not valued, or appreciated, especially in a world so absorbed with self. The greater need of the planet becomes secondary in comparison to the need of the individual to those who have garnished power.
In many ways 2012 takes on Biblical concepts in the playing out of the story. Jackson Curtis, (same initials as Jesus Christ) even takes on a form of Christ figure, a lowly writer of truth in many ways. It seems as if his early novel, albeit not read by many, is a book that tells of the potential of good for humanity, the importance of coming together and of serving each other. This has had an impact that will ultimately lead to the salvation of thousands because one individual who has read the book gets it. Of course this doesn’t prevent the sacrifices along the way, nor the imminent doom of millions. Without spoiling the story, there is even a baptism scene and resurrection scene portrayed in the movie. We see throughout the need to return to faith, from the frequent prayer scenes, to the so called religious nuts warning of the end of the earth. We even see the President of the United States lead the nation in The Lord’s Prayer. We even see salvation provided on vessels called The Ark, which not only provides salvation for people, but various animals. There is the depiction of a great flood. The morality lessons heavily pulls from various stories in the Bible.
I have to admit, I liked 2012. Even though the story is almost 3 hours long, it could have either done with a little less focus on some of the characters or to have extended itself a little longer to develop some more characters. This film likely has the highest casualty count of any movie in recent years. While it strives for epic concepts, it falls just a tad short, but not by far. The special effects are brilliant, and the cast is exceptional. While it is a long film, the time flies by and the action is non stop. I love John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor in this film, I have loved him since his performance in Kinky Boots. I don’t just like his character though, we have a president we can believe in, and one who values faith, while at the same time understands serving the people of his nation. 2012 does something else though, it reminds us of the importance of respecting all people.
I wonder if as a society we would make the effort to care for the least of these if faced with certain doom. For many in the world, including the religious community, we say we care, we say we value all people, but from the actions of many, it seems as if 2012 is a reflection of society. There are also the good reminders. Sometimes, when we think our contributions don’t matter, they can in fact matter; we never know how much a small contribution can have. We see this illustrated in the book by Jackson Curtis. We also don’t know how much of an impact we can have if we speak up. Sometimes we sit back and allow injustices to continue, but a voice that refuses to be silent can have a dramatic impact on the lives of many. Only when the silent voices come together as a large voice can we can change a world in the populace we call, humanity.
Sometimes a movie can change behaviors, for those who see 2012 as a mere action adventure film; it is not likely they will change. For those who see it as a reminder to speak up, not be silenced and to be a part of world that loves, just like the religions in the film illustrate we should, then who knows, maybe even in the face of a world that seems to be falling apart, we can see a change that gives us all hope. We can have hope not in the money or power of the world, but in the value of people, especially those not valued by those who seemingly have power. We need to remember the words of Jesus, “what you have done for the least of these, you have done it unto me.”
On a scale of 1 – 10, for the number that seems to represent infinity that will ultimately come to an end, a thought provoking 8
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