To say 2020 has been a year of disasters is a cliche. It is also very true. Seven months into a pandemic and there’s still that unshakable feeling that everything going wrong will only get worse. Which is why it’s fun (?) to look back on times we thought disaster was imminent, and we made them into rollercoasters.
2012, a 2009 epic disaster movie from disaster movie extraordinaire Roland Emmerich, is an exceedingly dumb, exceedingly long, and exceedingly fun movie that riffed on the late 2000s paranoia of the Mayan calendar apocalypse. Yeah, remember that? Watching 2012 now in 2020 is a hell of a reminder of when our doomsday scenarios seemed both more dire and more innocent.
2012, with its all-star cast featuring John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Woody Harrelson, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, and Danny Glover as a now-impossible-to-imagine capable and empathetic President of the United States, is the movie you need to watch on Netflix before it leaves at the end of September.
To describe 2012 is to describe insanity on its own terms. The movie takes the (wildly misinterpreted) Mayan calendar end date of December 21, 2012 as the inciting incident for the Earth’s core to implode, causing violent tectonic shifts. That basically translates to “earthquakes, everywhere.” Bridges fall, Yellowstone is engulfed in fire, and cities sink into the sea. At one point, sewage covers Cusack’s getaway limo, a harsh metaphor for how the movie thinks of itself.