A Bevvy of Doom

On the red carpet: John Cusack tells me what he'll be doing on Dec. 21st, 2012. Skiing (credit: Debra O'Neill/Discovery News)
On the red carpet: John Cusack tells me what he'll be doing on Dec. 21st, 2012. Skiing (credit: Debra O'Neill/Discovery News)

Currently sitting in the departure lounge in LAX before I fly out to Washington D.C. to meet up with the Discovery News crew ahead of the launch of our brand new site (keep an eye on Discovery Space, it will soon be integrated into the Discovery News redesign — the beta version looks awesome).

Before I fly, I just wanted to post the news that the Discovery Channel will be airing the documentary I was interviewed for by KPI Productions in August. According to my DVR, the show “Surviving 2012” will be showing on Sunday (Nov. 8th). I’m not certain when it will be showing internationally, but in the US it will be on at 9pm PDT — so check your local listings for any slight changes in schedule. I think it’s going to be a great show as science is the focus, not the hype (unlike the idiotic History Channel-esque Nostradamus nonsense). However, I think fellow interviewee Dr. Alex Young and myself arrived at a very interesting conclusion as to the realities of being hit by an aggressive solar storm. Although our conclusions are far from the rip-roaring, solar blowtorch popular in sci-fi, we do point out that solar physics research is horribly underfunded considering our dependence on vulnerable power and communications systems.

In other news, on Tuesday night I attended the 2012 premier red carpet event in Downtown Los Angeles. I met some bloke named John and another called Roland. Apparently they’re quite famous, but what would I know. For more on my A-list adventures, have a read of “What Will John Cusack be Doing on Dec. 21, 2012? Skiing.” and check out some of the photos from the event via my Facebook account.

2012 Movie TV Teaser Trailer Micro-Review

2012

For context, you might want to read Want a Little Doom for Supper? first.

Give me some DOOM!

As scheduled, the extra-special 2012 teaser trailer appeared on the TV. Mildly excited, I flicked between the channels in the hope of catching a glimpse of what lies in store for November cinema screens. I tried to keep up the typing in real time… alas, it was too hard, the doom was moving too fast for my fingers, but this is what I remember…

We start off with John Cusack’s panic-stricken face warning his family on the phone while driving a stretch limo (stretch limo?) through LA streets, “When they tell you not to panic, that’s when you RUN!!!” Poetry.

Then a scene that can only be described as hilarious silly gratuitous insane the most over-powering CGI I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

It was basically the Planes, Trains and Automobiles version of doomsday. Just without the trains. Add a crying child.

High-speed car sequences, palm trees snapping, ground cracking, houses folding… ooh look out for the obligatory exploding petrol tanker!!!! [extra !!! for effect] Then, buildings fall to the ground, people dying everywhere… but Cusack, plus brood, fly through the surprisingly uncongested LA streets at hyperspeed! Oh crap! Look out for the– PHEW! The car jumped through (jumped through!!) a disintegrating building (disintegrating building!!!), popping out the other end unscathed.

There’s more!

The Huge Massive CrackTM advances through California, with Cusack and co.’s car always in front of the impending doom that’s unfolding behind them.

Oh! There’s a plane! We’re now on an airfield… it’s okay, the family have an escape route! They fly off, Huge Massive CrackTM ripping through the asphalt as the pilot accelerates into the air. Buildings crashing down, toppling sideways (sideways!!!), crying child looks out the window, people are being squashed by cars down there!! That’s not for young eyes goddammit! They keep flying– NOOO!! More collapsing buildings!! Fly under them!!! YESSS!!! That pilot just flew UNDER a sideways collapsing building. Los Angeles is toast, looks more like the Grand Canyon than a city.

I’m tired… that was intense. Totally silly, too. Did it make me want to see the movie more? Not really, looks like it’s going to be very basic disaster pr0n, as predicted, with a very loose plot. Ah well.

Disclaimer: This in no way, shape or form indicates that I now think something is going to happen in 2012. All of the above is based on a trailer for a movie. A movie people! The theories about doomsday in 2012 are still nonsense. If you don’t believe me, have a read.

Image: Still from the awesome 2012 parody video 2012: It’s a Disaster!!! by Garrison Dean (io9)

John Cusack? Airlifted Giraffes? Please Tell Me It’s Doomsday

Firstly, let’s set the record straight: I love disaster movies.

I don’t care if the Earth is being invaded by aliens, getting hit by comets, being saved by oil drillers or poisoned by angry trees (yes, my brain even shrank through The Happening). It’s fiction, it’s fun and, let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy a bit of global calamity interwoven with a silly plot.

So, today the extended trailer for the November film 2012 has been released (below), and I do admit, I was mildly excited to see what this budding blockbuster had to offer — although I changed my mind when seeing the horridly Hollywooded ‘science’ and the USS John F. Kennedy flatten the White House after surfing a mega-tsunami at the end. That was no cigarette they were smoking in the Sony Pictures cutting room.

The whole 2012 hype has kept my blogging gene active for the best part of a year, so I know for a fact that 2012 director Roland Emmerich has a lot of material to play with.

According to the CGI-fest of a trailer, have some ancient intrigue with “mankind’s earliest civilization” (the Mayans… a.k.a. not mankind’s earliest civilization) predicting the “end of the world” (are you sure?) with their pesky calendar. We also have something astronomical (yep, Planet X is back) careering toward Earth. We get tsunamis flattening cities, flying giraffe, Noah’s Ark, minivans getting hit by Big Flaming Balls Of Fire™, crying children, earthquakes, fire, more crying children, famine, angry politicians and John Cusack. (What?)

This is going to be oodles of fun if you want to see our planet disintegrate into a tortured dust bowl via computer-generated fury, but could this also be the end of the quintessential disaster movie?

This has been my complaint all along about the insane doomsday scenarios being dreamed up by crackpots and greedy authors: You’re trying too hard! What ever happened to the subtle art of doomsday prophesy?

EXAMPLE: Nostradamus says the world will end some hazy time in the hazy future (get that man a Nobel Prize!); a computer expert says, “Hmm, these microchips might reset when the calendar switches from 1999 to 2000,” followed by the aforementioned crackpots and greedy authors telling the scared populous that we’ll be driven back into the Stone Age… all because of a small, overlooked flaw in computer programming.

I miss those doomsday scenarios. They were simpler times.

Now we have 2012 conspiracy theorists compounding doomsayer dogma, bending science to suit their hopelessly flawed doomsday scenarios. 2012 seems to be a hothouse for every impossible planet killer we could possibly imagine. How the hell Emmerich is going to work Nibiru, Planet X, killer solar flares, polar reversal, galactic alignment and geomagnetic hoopla into the plot I’ll never know.

Impossibly jumbled plot to one side, I will still want to be one of the first to see this movie. I’ve examined the real science behind the proposed end of the world in 2012 since May 2008, and I can assure you, I have yet to come across one single ounce of Planet X matter. No planet-wide calamity is expected on December 21st, 2012, and there isn’t a single shred of scientific or archaeological evidence that suggests otherwise. It will be interesting to see if Emmerich hired a science advisor, to actually add any credibility to doomsday, but if recent examples are anything to go by, I suspect it’s going to be science-lite.

Unfortunately, I am still saddened by Sony Pictures marketing ploy. The Institute for Human Continuity (IHC) viral campaign was very a successful yet short-sighted idea, marketing the movie like a multi-million dollar advertising campaign, but pandering to the anti-science sentiment that flows through the heart of doomsday hoaxers.

All in all, yes, I’ll watch 2012, but I can guarentee I’ll be shaking my head for the most part. The choice of cast is a warning sign. John Cusack as the flawed dad who’ll save the day? Danny Glover as President?? Woody Harrelson? Woody Harrelson?