Friday, December 21, 2012

End of the World Double Feature: 2012: Doomsday (2008) and 2012: Supernova (2009)

I figured I'd have a little fun with the world ending and all, so what better way to do that than by having a doomsday double header? It's not with anything as fancy as 2012 or Deep Impact, but they passed the time alright. So, without further ado, the last paragraphs I'll ever write are as follows:

You know a movie is going to be horrible when the first on-screen credit says "Faith Films presents." At least I know it's going to be horrible when I see that. It doesn't take long for the proof to begin rolling in, though. The story starts in Orizaba, Mexico, as an archaeologist is excavating a Mayan temple. There's a smoldering volcano in the background, and their "calculations" as to when it's going to blow just went from days to hours. On a side note, the archaeologist guy pulls out a seismograph that was just begging to be screen-capped, but as I paused and looked at it, I found it to be pretty credible. I was surprised and disappointed, in that order. On the other hand, when it comes to the movie as a whole, I'm happy to report I was neither of those things. My expectations were already way too low to be disappointed or shocked.

Anyways, one of their interns (skinny kid, dresses like shit) runs up and tells them the third chamber of the temple has been opened due to the earthquakes, so they all go check it out. The intern gets killed by a shitty-looking CGI rock like 3 minutes later, which I thought was pretty funny. So, the archaeologist and his estranged wife who inexplicably shows up just to forward the theme of faith through adversity go into the Mayan temple where they find a crucifix. They're both dumbfounded, but they don't have time to mouth-breathe on the artifact for too long, since the temple is collapsing. From here on out, it's a race to get the crucifix to Chichen Itza so a miracle baby can be born during the end of the world as we know it.

For a movie about the impending destruction of the entire world, it focuses way too much on too many characters. Everyone's story is stretched too thin to have any kind of impact, but that doesn't stop the movie from having each character deal with agonizing dialogue about faith. There's the archaeologist and his wife, an EMT who lost her faith, a Christian missionary and her photojournalist friend (who also lost his faith), and the father of the EMT (who happens to advise the president on climate issues and has also lost his faith). I'm no film scholar, but I think the movie has to do with faith, even though it's using the Christian god as the root of a Maya prophesy that the filmmakers totally made up to begin with.

I mean, they can't even get their mythology right. "It's happening just like they predicted 2,000 years ago," says the archaeologist. Wait, who predicted it? The Maya long count calendar was created well over 2,000 years ago. Is he talking about Jesus? Jesus used the Maya calendar to predict December 21, 2012 as the apocalypse? But it didn't predict anything, it eventually just ran out of days. What the hell is going on here? Who wrote this?

 Bonus: Mayan Jesus crucifix also makes an excellent hand crank.

Whatever. Through various means, each character is drawn to Chichen Itza in order to help a woman give birth to a baby. None of them know why they have the need to get there, but they trust that they're doing the right thing. Along the way, I was delighted to listen to conversations by people giving crappy emotional arguments against believing in God, only to have the believer retaliate with stuff about seeing the sun, clouds, and trees and it being obvious everything was created. Hey, look, I came here to see buildings get destroyed. Fire, brimstone, earthquakes, dogs and cats living together, that sort of thing. What I actually got was a few seconds of the ground being split and an extremely brief spectacle at the end. The 80 or so minutes in-between are just a bunch of people talking about the need for believing in something. I rail against Roland Emmerich and his disaster porn, sure, but God is playing a cruel trick on me if this is the only alternative.

 One of only 2 or 3 disaster porn shots. It's not exactly satisfying.

I just don't understand who this movie is supposed to be for. People expecting more crazy effects, death, and carnage certainly aren't going to be pleased. People looking to watch a movie about how good Jesus can be in your life if you'd only let him should probably have issues with the Mayan plot. It's the worst of both worlds, and I don't even know what this miracle baby is supposed to do to help anyone. Dammit, Faith Films. You've let me down. Probably not for the last time, but you're now on notice.

Here are a few thoughts I jotted down as I was watching the film:

  • It's always frustrating when the girl you have "a history" with is randomly brought in behind your back to take over your excavation site.

  • Judging only by the first 10 minutes, I would have guessed this movie was Indiana Jones: Low-budget Jesus Edition.

  • Why does the climate scientist have to explain to his team what the red and green bits on the weather simulation are? Or, could he...could he be talking to me through the clever script?!?

  • A vegetarian missionary girl at the heart of the doomsday prophecy who just happens to be the daughter of the climate scientist advising the president is the key to not only my salvation, but yours, too.

  • Contrary to what this movie wants you to believe, even the Mayas don't give a shit about our December 21, 2012 hysteria.

  • If a Mayan girl gives birth to a new Jesus, won't some people be pissed that he's not white?

  • Important climate scientists must always scream into the phone in order to be heard, even though the person on the other end is talking in a normal voice.

  • It's so obvious that the snow is only right in front of the camera and not all around the environment. Just saying.

  • Man, the end of the world is boring.

Oh, well. On to the next masterpiece, 2012: Supernova.

Well, it's loads better than 2012: Doomsday. At least there's some action and suspense, whereas in the Mayan Jesus movie, there was too much talky-talky and not enough pyramids exploding in slow-motion. Also, this one starred Brian Krause, who played Leo, the mortal-turned-angel-turned-mortal in the T.V. show Charmed. That's something, right?

 He was also in this.

The plot is very straight-forward: There's a wave of destruction caused by a supernova heading toward Earth, and T.V.'s Brian Krause is the only astrophysicist who can stop it. The plan is to get aboard an orbiting space station and launch a shitload of nukes at the wave before it makes contact with the planet. That way, it will act as a shield against the radiation and whatever the hell is going on. It's science. As one would expect, one man can't get that kind of a job done by himself. That would be silly. So, to aid him in his quest is a fake Russian guy and a hot Asian chick. Don't worry, they take care of all those complex calculations related to the space crap so nobody else has to.

While I won't go so far as to say this is a good movie, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. There's a little family drama, with his wife and daughter having to fend for themselves out in the deserts of...Oregon? I think it's Oregon. Wherever they are, they have to deal with stuff like roads splitting in half, falling transformers, horny rednecks, and tornadoes. All Brian Krause has to think about is punching numbers into a console and fighting the hot Asian chick.

Speaking of the hot Asian chick (as I'm wont to do), her role was completely obvious from early on. I honestly don't know if the audience wasn't supposed to pick up on her (spoilers) being the black-clad ninja assassin, but anyone with half a brain could tell it's a woman under there. Plus, she's the only woman in the movie besides T.V.'s Brian Krause's wife and daughter, so....yea. The worst part about it is the fact that her sabotage goes completely unexplained. I have no idea why whoever sent her apparently wants the world to explode, but I guess it's better this way. Who needs something like a coherent plot when there's a running clock counting down toward certain doom?

Seconds after punching him in the face. Not suspicious at all.

I don't know, there are worse ways to spend 87 minutes of my life. I enjoyed listening to the one guy try out his best Russian accent while reading through mostly-vapid scientific blathering. I think they missed a golden opportunity to have him ride a warhead like Steve Buscemi in Armageddon, only in broken English and with a worse haircut.

I don't have much else to say about 2012: Supernova. It's a decent little disaster flick for what it is, even if the ending is a bit of an emotional cop-out. If the end of the world ever does become a possibility, I definitely want T.V.'s Brian Krause throwing up a bubble shield around us.

Again, here are some random thoughts I had while watching:

  • Using stock footage for shuttle launches never fails, because they all look like the same one.

  • Why is he being shot at? Does the astrophysicist tasked with preventing doomsday know too much?

  • If you're trying to get answers out of someone, shooting at them with Uzis will not accomplish your goal.

  • The Russian scientist just introduced himself as "The People's Republic of Vodka." He's also drinking on the job.

  • Another bit player got taken out by a giant rock. I'm on to your tricks, Asylum!

  • Most repetitive, plot-reminding dialogue ever.

  • The Day After Tomorrow may have people trying to outrun cold weather, but 2012: Supernova has them running away from lightning. I don't know which movie wins in this category.

  • Why are only 3 people planning out the defense of the entire world against a supernova? NASA has, like, 50 people coordinating routine shuttle launches.

  • Furious keystrokes are the mark of a true typing genius.

  • I will never get tired of actors pretending like the room is shaking when it's really just the camera.


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