Radio 11.13.09
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my commentary on a film opening today at The Majestic Theater in Greenville :
            As disaster movies go, “2012” boasts some of the best special effects ever.  And, the scientific premise even sounds plausible.
            An extraordinary alignment of the planets, which the ancient Mayans had predicted, causes unusually high sunspot activity, which in turn heats up the earth’s core, which in turn causes instability in the earth’s crust, which in turn….
            Think enormous fireballs blowing, geyser-like, out of the ground.  Tsunamis welling up all over the globe.  Earthquakes rattle the entire earth as all the tectonic plates shift.  Oceans swell, valleys rise, mountains are submerged.  Imagine Los Angeles just slip-sliding away into the ocean.  Now there’s special effects.
            But while the technological fireworks in this movie are nothing short of spectacular, the human dimension in “2012” leaves a bit to be desired.  The hero is John Cusack, a divorced Dad, a sometimes-successful writer, who means well but has been hit-or-miss with his child-rearing, as well as his career.  On a failed camping trip to Yellowstone with his children, he begins to notice what the crackpots have been screaming about, that the end really is near. (By the way, Woody Harrelson makes a great crackpot.)  Yes, there’s this strange inter-governmental conspiracy, to preserve the best and the brightest (including, of course, the top politicians themselves, in perfect collusion) on a modern-day ark, or, more accurately, a small flotilla of arks.  They figured that all the oceans were going to rise, and they’d just get in the big boat and ride out the storm and start the world over again.  And why don’t we put a few giraffes and elephants in the hold, as well? 
            What follows is a kind of feeble attempt to make this into a morality tale about people who help each other versus those who don’t; people who think they are better than others versus those who don’t; people who are unselfishly heroic and those who aren’t.  Guess which categories our hero occupies?  Yes, there might be a little diatribe here against genetic engineering thrown in, as well, in addition to a schmaltzy sermon against arrogance and greed.  But the love story lacks plausibility.  And we’ve spent so much time on those fun computer graphic images of the overtaking disaster that we’ve neglected to chronicle what happens on the ark itself. And as for the ending, well, the Good Book says that the real Noah got off the ark, built a vineyard, and promptly got drunk and naked (Genesis, chapter nine).  It would appear that the Good Book knows something about “real” human nature that this Disney-ride theme movie conveniently ignores.
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM.