2012 Script Review – The Next Rolland Emmerich Disaster Movie

     July 7, 2008

Hello to all my fans in La La Land. It’s your friendly neighborhood Fidel from Florida here to let you know I have gone to the future and visited 2012. What did I see? Destruction and devastation, but for more on that read on, fellow traveler.

I got my tiny little (don’t you dare judge) hands on the February 19th, 2008 draft of 2012 written by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) & Harald Kloser (10,000 BC, AVP) with polish by Matt (don’t squeeze the) Charman. The anticipated cast includes: John Cusack (1408, High Fidelity), Amanda Peet (A Lot Like Love, The Whole Nine Yards), Thandie Newton (Run Fatboy Run, Mission Impossible II), Danny Glover (Saw, Lethal Weapon), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men, Serenity), Oliver Platt (The Bronx is Burning, The West Wing) and Thomas McCarthy (The Wire, Flags of Our Fathers).


The Mayan calendar apparently has the hots December 21, 2012. (They apparently like their ones and twos.) There’s conjecture this signifies a transition between life as we know it and something altogether different. On this date, the planets in our solar system will align with the sun. Many people speculate this denotes the end of the world. The film supposes those people are right.

The clues denoting destruction are discovered in 2009 and, a hop, skip and roughly ten pages later, we’re knee deep in 2012. The sun will superheat the Earth’s core, causing erratic shifts in the plates leading to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and hardcore tidal shifts. While most of the people walking the globe are unaware, governments plot to save a small percentage of the population (you know, the rich). That’s the overarching tale. The fine print involves a number of families on different continents from different social strata and their attempts to cope and survive. Young scientific advisor Adrian Helmsley brings the news to the President. (Why does the world always have to face destruction when we have an African American President? Can’t they enjoy a solid term of growth and prosperity?) The President’s daughter, and love of Adrian’s life, Laura attempts to secret away famous artistic works while unaware of the true purpose of her quest. Struggling writer Jackson Curtis (no doubt John Cusack) has to contend with ex-wife (my guess – Amanda Peet), his two children Noah and Lilly and the new man in Kate’s life, plastic surgeon Gordon (apparently Thomas McCarthy). Rich Russian Yuri takes care of his arm candy Tamara and two sons the only way he knows how – with oodles of cash. Tibetan worker Lin Pang tries to ensure the safety of his parents and his Tibetan monk brother, Neng. The story crisscrosses all these scattered, tangentially tied people. Though there are a lot of characters thrown at you, they’re all unique enough to keep straight throughout.


Does Roland Emmerich know a thing or two about destroying the world? You bet your sweet ass he does. He’s done it before.

2012 is a sprinkle Armageddon, with a double dash of Deep Impact covered in a slathering sauce of The Day After Tomorrow. In simpler non-Hollywood terms, Noah’s Ark in space. Imagine massive visuals with an emotional base in the small human element. Is this anything we haven’t seen before? Not necessarily, but me… I’m a sucker for those huge musical swells and futile, but beautiful final acts of humanity.

Can you count on Roland Emmerich for the visuals necessary to sell this script? Yes. His directorial vision plus the continuing advances in visual effects technology make for a flick guaranteed to be look-worthy.

Can you count on the cast already assembled to sell the emotional bits of the script? Absolutely, they’ve already added a number of my favorites (I’m looking at you Cusack, Platt and Ejiofor).

Will this movie change your life? Only if you believe conspiracies surrounding the date and the end of the world. In that case, better bone up on your ancient Mayan texts to be sure.

Let’s face it, can we ever get enough of Los Angeles getting obliterated? It’s apparently the go-to catharsis for all creative people. Not to worry the rest of the world, this affects you too.


In the nutshell – you will believe a man can destroy the world… again.

Buckle up.

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