Put this in your pipe and smoke it

Posted by · 4:01 pm · April 10th, 2009

Rod Taylor in The Time MachineI love watching the end of the world unfold on screen.  It’s just something I enjoy.  And sue me if I was a little bummed at a certain caution on the part of Hollywood to offer up the apocalyptic imagery it had serviced to the masses in the action-packed summers of the 1990s following 9/11.

Go back and take a look at “Armageddon,” for instance.  Hardly great cinema but I got a kick out of it just as I did “Independence Day” or anything comparable.  The shot of the Chrysler Building being sheered in half by meteorites as people plummet to their death — the imagery is obviously prickly in the post-9/11 environment.  And everything from “War of the Worlds” to “The Dark Knight” has gone out of its way to comment toward the disasters of that year, to put forth the sense that a thought process is being injected into blockbuster entertainment, that the mayhem actually means something on an artistic level.  And I’m all for that.  But I prefer not to be held hostage by it, either.

I remember talking with a colleague in New York last month who was bemoaning the failure of Alex Proyas’s “Knowing.”  I had not seen the film yet at the time (though I have sense, and it’s certainly a…lesser accomplishment, shall we say, but it also deals with interesting ideas that really should be in mainstream Hollywood cinema).  I rebutted with the notion that maybe a good, spectacle, end-of-the-world trip to the movies is just what Hollywood needs to shake out all the cobwebs.

When my list of the year’s most anticipated films hit on New Year’s Day, more than a few people raised an eyebrow at the inclusion of Roland Emmerich’s “2012.”  I should come clean with the admission that Emmerich’s films, more often than not, work for me on some primitive, Neanderthal level.  But I have to also admit to being fascinated with all of the speculation over the year 2012, which I wrote about nearly a year ago.

Michael Cieply’s recent post at The Carpetbagger got me thinking on this once again.  As much as I freely admit to anticipating Emmerich’s film, I’d be lying if I didn’t say he will surely miss a lot of interesting opportunities by sticking to his “blow stuff up good” formula (if you’ll allow me to contradict myself).  Which brings me to the most intriguing “theory” I’ve come across in my own study of what may or may not happen in three-and-a-half year’s time.  And if you’re reading, Hollywood, feel free to run with this idea, free of charge.  I have no idea how you’d develop it into a script, but…

The basic idea put forth by the Mayan calendar brou-ha-ha surrounding 2012 is that the calendar ends on December 21, 2012.  More specifically, 11:11 am Greenwich Mean Time on 12/21/12.  Of course, the natural reaction is a dose of measured hysteria: “We’re all going to die.”  “The world is going to end.”  “The Apocalypse will happen.”  What else can the end of a calendar mean if not just that: the end?

Others theorize that the calendar will simply start over once again and be re-configured to the new “era” of humanity, so to speak.  And that’s just as fair.  But what if it merely means time could no longer be measured linearly, therefore the Mayans had no choice but to terminate their projections?  What if the “end” of the Mayan calendar is simply the end of “time” as we know it?  And what would be the most significant impact to time as we know it?  What would have the most significant impact on the linear measurement of “time?”

In a nutshell: what if at 11:11 am on December 21, 2012 someone……discovers time travel?

Naaaah.  Let’s just sign John Cusack and blow stuff up good!

→ 9 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Daily

9 responses so far

  • 1 4-10-2009 at 4:09 pm

    The InSneider said...

    I think it’s kinda cool, dude.

  • 2 4-10-2009 at 4:12 pm

    Chad said...

    If time travel ever exists, it’s always existed.

  • 3 4-10-2009 at 10:25 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Personally, I’m for some kind of spiritual transcendence, an awaking of sorts, so to speak; the recognition of a greater calling, allowing our souls to be liberated from their materialistic strongholds.

    It’s an abstract idea how I envision it, not tangible, but totally cerebral and completely unexplainable.

  • 4 4-11-2009 at 6:42 am

    Casey Fiore said...

    Ive been spreading the hysterical word of 2012 for years now. if you’ll allow me to reference the Usual Suspects: I don’t believe that the world will end in 2012, but I definitely fear it. On the other hand, for the most part I hate Roland Emmerich’s work

  • 5 4-11-2009 at 8:46 am

    Robert Hamer said...

    I doubt it. “Time” is a label that we use to measure and distinguish successive events. It’s descriptive, not proscriptive. Time isn’t some outside force that can change in the way you’re describing.

    Now, it would be very interesting if our understanding of time changes in 2012, but in what way could we possibly see it differently? I guess only…time will tell.

  • 6 4-11-2009 at 11:17 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Robert: I don’t really see how any of that negates what I proposed, to be quite honest.

  • 7 4-11-2009 at 2:57 pm

    John H. Foote said...

    Some of those end of the world flicks can be very cool — there was an interesting made in Canada in 1998 entitled “Last Night” written and directed by Don McKellar, featirng David Cronenberg and DSarah Polley along with the wonderful Sandra Oh as characters awaiting the end of the world that will happen in just a few hours — no last minute heroics, the world ends in a blaze of white out — kind of cool — sort of lets you know what you can do with a low budget and some imagination — I enjoy the films Kris mentioned, they are at their very least fun; this one just asks, without visual effects that you think — in the final minutes facing love it is fascinating that the characters do not kill one another but kiss, allowing hope and love to be their last thoughts (sorry for the spoiler, but hey it is eleven years old).

  • 8 4-12-2009 at 1:00 am

    Walter said...

    Roland Emmerich is this generation’s Irwin Allen, really. Which is why I love his work. Ensemble disaster flicks give me what I want: a bunch of actors I like and shit getting destroyed. Hell yeah.

  • 9 4-13-2009 at 12:58 am

    Glenn said...

    I actually agree with you. One of the reasons I liked the third “Terminator” film was because of that final shot. It takes balls to end your movie with the world ending.

    Personally, I hate “Armageddon” and L-O-V-E “Deep Impact”. I felt far more invested in the latter’s realisation that the world ending was far more emotional than just spectacle.