New 2012 trailer, with more wrongness

By Phil Plait | June 18, 2009 4:45 pm

I’m not a big fan of doomsday nonsense (even the real stuff has a very low chance of doing us in), and so you can imagine the dim view I take of people claiming that a Mayan prophecy says we’ll all die in 2012. I have yet to see one claim about this stuff that is either a) remotely true or 2) not made-up crap.

Still, I do love disaster movies, so I’m torn about Roland Emmerich’s "2012" which comes out this summer. He did "Independence Day", a movie I love (yes, I do: it’s fun and silly and doesn’t take itself too seriously) and "The Day After Tomorrow". The latter was pretty bad; the science was awful, but it was also really overwrought.

So what of this new movie? See for yourself:

I love that it’s wrong right from the start: the Mayans were not the earliest civilization; Sumerians had them beat by four thousand years. Also, while the fireballs hitting was cool, small rocks won’t make it to the ground moving quickly enough to be burning like that.

And what’s causing that tsunami? A giant impact? A Richter 15 earthquake? Smug?

Anyway, hard to say if the movie will be any good or not. I really like John Cusack and Amanda Peet, and Oliver Platt slays me, so who knows? But I know this: it really won’t help people like me and others trying to calm folks down and keep them from panicking over doomsday crap. Sigh.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Debunking, SciFi, TV/Movies

Comments (142)

  1. Caleb Jones

    Not to be too off topic here, but I just saw a preview for a movie about an astronaut who mans (what seems to be) the first mining outpost on the moon by himself for 3 years. It has a “Space Odyssey 2001” kind of feel but you don’t know whether they guy is going crazy or the “HAL”-link computer he works with is going crazy (or both).

  2. TheBlackCat

    The Mayans weren’t even the first Central American civilization, the Olmecs had them beat by over 2000 years, and even they may not have been the first.

  3. Lawrence

    Wow – giant piece of crap.

    I guess it is supposed to be “ironic” that the USS John F. Kennedy takes out the White House.

    Reminds me of that Nicholas Cage craptactular – “Knowing” with the end of the world & such.

    Yeah, I have no idea how they are supposed to explain all the stuff that happens. Though, it does remind me of a book where there are these huge masses of water located under the Earth’s crust – one of them gets punctured & the entire planet gets flooded (over a period of decades).

    Otherwise, wow – what a giant steaming heap.


  5. Personally, I can’t wait to see this! I know it’s wrong of me… but this looks so craptastic to be awesome. Sort of like that movie, Mega shark vs Giant Octopus…

  6. Crux Australis

    The effects actually look pretty cool. I’ll have to turn off my left hemisphere, though.

  7. Dean

    I do like myself some disaster porn though. :-)

  8. Gah, the Mayan 2012 “prediction” wasn’t even a prediction that the world would end, it was a “prediction” that the calendar would run out of digits. Oh no, the clock is about to roll over from 23:59 to 00:00, THE WORLD MUST BE ENDING NOW. AGAIN.

  9. Wow! Every disaster movie ever made all rolled into one! FTW!

  10. Crux Australis

    also, did anyone else notice the scene in the Sistene Chapel, where a crack separates Adam’s finger from God’s? Nice touch.

  11. brandon

    The thing that makes me really angry about this? No civilization, or individual, until recent times has said that the world will end in 2012. The year is never mentioned by Nostradamus (who’s supporters I loathe, but that’s another topic). The Maya Never said the world would end in 2012; they said that a Baktun would end in 2012, which is like saying a millennium or a century would end; it’s simply a measurement of time. They Maya actually made prediction about event occurring much later than that date; predictions about monarchs as late as 4000 CE have been discovered.

  12. Stupid premise, but the imagery looks really nice. The scale of destruction in this preview looks more end-of-the-worldy than pretty much any movie I’ve seen. It looks fun, regardless of the premise.

    Also off-topic, my daughter and I just watched “Earth vs. The Flying Saucers” on DVD. The stop-motion effects in that old film hold up exceedingly well, and the incorporation of stock footage was brilliantly done. I had forgotten how much I love that film.

  13. Voltaire

    This looks AWESOME.

  14. BJN

    Looks more like FEMA’s frakking arks. I hope they work out the formaldehyde before loading up two-by-two…

  15. IVAN3MAN

    Phil Plait:

    But I know this: it really won’t help people like me and others trying to calm folks down and keep them from panicking over doomsday crap. Sigh.

    Agreed, Phil, but isn’t that the reason why you wrote your “doomsday” book Death From The Skies! — people enjoy being scared, which is why they like riding roller-coasters.

  16. After seeing that I thought it was a remake of When Worlds Collide but apparently it is already being remade and is due in 2010. As Dean said, I love disaster porn. Cusack, Platt and Peet give me some hope that it may be okay although they’ve all appeared in some shockers at one time or another.

  17. juliosteen

    Looks not just craptacular and craptastic, but totally crapalicious! Somebody turned the special-effects dial all the way to 11. Yes, “this one goes to 11”.

  18. Acronym Jim

    I’m with Dean and Shane. This movie looks like DA BOMB! (that is what the kids are saying these days, isn’t it? *sigh* it’s so hard keeping up these days).

    I suspect Phil’s “nemesis”, PZ, will get a kick out of “some people’s” reaction to the digital “desecration” of religious art and architecture.

  19. Acronym Jim

    P.S.: Sorry for over use of the irony quotes.

  20. Bill

    I’ve got the same gripe about this that I did about the original teaser trailer: at the end, both tell the viewers to search ‘2012’ on the internet and ‘Learn the truth’.

    Any Google search for 2012 will turn up far more woo-filled and fear-mongering sites than rational ones. Let the paranoia begin!

  21. owlbear1

    Roland keeps trying to frag the planet. Looks like he nailed it this time.

  22. WetMogwai

    I love that it shows the people praying at the Vatican are wrong about the end times.

    This movie looks bad in a fun way, much like The Apple or Plan 9 From Outer Space. I’ll probably see it and be entertained. I don’t expect it to be any good. With low expectations, it can hardly disappoint.

  23. João Pedro Caetano

    Roland Emmerich has already stated in an interview that he does not believe that anything will happen in 2012. Of course he still did the movie because…look at the trailer. Now imagine something like that for 2 hours.
    I for one am happy Ememrich doesn’t buy any of this crap, at least that seems it won’ thave much woo preaching in it.

    I for one am excited for the movie.
    I’m going in WANTING to like the movie.
    Whether or not it makes 2012 paranoia woo grow, I don’t know, but I think it will make pople look for it, and the fact that a some of them will encounter articles and texts debunking 2012 woo will make them leave it alone and remain unafected by the beliefs makes me not so depressed.
    I think that as skeptics we might have a tendency to think on the “it’ll increase paranoia and acceptance of woo reasoning” side, but it’s also worth noting that not all viewers, even non-skeptics are stupid and incapable of reasoning.

    I’m sure it’s still a good movie to watch though.
    A city sinking into the ocean like I’ve never seen before IS worth watching on the big screen.

  24. Paul

    Well, you have admit that the imagery is really, really cool.

    I’ll probably go see it to be able to rant about it later…

  25. Ian

    I don’t care. That looks awesome.

  26. @fluffy: You mean like 2038 – The year that Unix died?

    $ date -d “today + 28 years 7 months 1 day”
    date: invalid date `today + 28 years 7 months 1 day’
    $ date -d “today + 28 years 7 months”
    Mon Jan 18 18:13:18 CST 2038

    @Acronym Jim: FTFY:

    P.S.: “Sorry” for over use of the irony quotes.

    People have been saying “The End is Near” since Near the Beginning. Some day somebody will be right. That’s why it pays to make that prediction. Because It could be YOU!

  27. Eh. Still gonna be better than Transformers 2.

  28. I have to confess that, regardless of science or authenticity or realism or sometimes even acting, I LOVE apocalypse (and post-apocalypse) movies. LOL! I’ll be all over this just because it’s sure to be a fun-filled joyride of over-the-top eye candy and armageddon-like shenanigans. 😉

  29. Brian

    I too am hopeful that such a movie will actually help allay people’s fears about 2012. It sends a message that the proper place for such end-of-the-world scenarios is Hollywood, as opposed to real life. Put the movie up next to Terminator and G.I. Joe, and people will talk about it more, but in the end they’ll be less likely to take it seriously.

  30. Darren Garrison

    Sigh. This piece of garbage will do nothing but fan the flames of nutbaggery surround 2012. Here’s an article I found earlier today from a nutbag that takes all of this seriously:

  31. mk

    That looks absolutely horrible.


  32. “That’s why it pays to make that prediction. Because It could be YOU!”

    The probably with doomsday predictions is that there is no way you can come out ahead making one. If you get the prediction wrong, you look like an idiot. On the other hand, if you’re right, it’s not as if there’ll be anyone around to be impressed with your accuracy.

  33. Acronym Jim

    THE END IS NEAR…Holy crap what’s that in the sky?!!! YAY, I WI..SPLAT!

  34. Robbie

    Michael Bay has nothing on this guy. This looks more ridiculous than alien robots from outer space.

  35. I had high hopes for Independence Day. A great cast, similar special effects, but I can’t watch it. the same is true for The Day After Tomorrow, except I did not have any positive expectations and the cast was not even close. This felt like what if Renny Harlin made a science movie. This seems to be headed for the same territory.

    the Mayans were not the earliest civilization; Sumerians had them beat by four thousand years.

    That will disappoint Casey Luskin. Gosh, the world didn’t even exist then. That might even have been before movies.

    I assume that everyone involved with the movie is getting paid up front, since there would be no reason to expect much in residuals.

  36. drougnor

    Those fireballs look to be lava related, Phil. The scene following their first appearance shows what appears to be MASSIVE (possibly the Yosemite ‘super volcano’) volcanic activity. We may be able to breath a little easier on that front, at least.


  37. T.E.L.

    A lot of it was filmed in Vancouver, the Hollywood of Vancouver, home base for cable-channel sci-fi movies. Need I say more?

  38. PatDurrell

    While it *looks* cool, the final tag line about `the truth’ kills it. You know some people are going to buy into that part of it. Well, it is certainly going to keep a lot of us busy debunking the whole 2012 thing!

  39. Elise

    Yeah and at the end it tells everyone to search 2012. the stuff that comes up when you search 2012 is crazy, everything from survival kits, to every possible way the World is going to end. If there was anyone left who did not know about this 2012 hoax, they will now. If only people could dig out some logical sense from their heads we wouldn’t have these problems. I guess you need to know about science to be able to differentiate between real and fake. Love all your posts by the way Phil, I am hooked on these blogs and have learned so much in the meantime!!

  40. Why debunk it, now. I have some time set aside in 2013 to debunk this. It is that stupid.

  41. The SFX do look rather gorgeous…

    Off on a slight tangent – when are people going to start saying “twenty” when pronouncing the year? Probably I’m only impatient because I’m British and saying “two thousand AND twelve” is slightly more awkward than saying (shudder) “two thousand twelve” : But I still have a point, don’t I? I don’t remember anyone calling 1904 “one thousand nine hundred (and) four” (not that I was around then!), so why are we still saying “two thousand (and) nine” instead of “twenty-oh-nine”? It puzzles me.

  42. Acronym Jim

    Cue music annnd…In the year twenty five, twenty five…if man is still alive…

  43. Candido.H

    Seems like the effects are pretty decent and I’m an absolute sucker for end of the world movies. Might be a good popcorn flick from the “power down logic centers and brace for BAYHEM!” school of moviemaking.

    I don’t think people taking the whole 2012 bit seriously is too worrisome. It’ll be on fluffy news bits for a month or two surrounding the movie then disappear into the dark caves and crevices of wingnutistan once again (until of course winter 2012 when it will be impossible to buy toilet paper thanks to y2k-like frenzy)

  44. This looks stupendously stupilicious, with a double topping of stupid sauce. If I had 2 asses, this trailer would kick both of them. I’m sure I’ll want the 2 hours back after watching the movie, but the fun’s all in the wanting, right?

    And Phil, not to defend the movie at all, but the rocks falling around the motor home appear to be volcanic projectiles. Still, it’s eight kinds of all wrong. Whataya gonna do.

  45. Oh, and a real HD version is here:
    Hover over the HD button and wait for the flyout and choose your resolution.

  46. Which one is the B Ark?

    Mike: I say twenty-twelve. I’d say ought-9 but people look at me funny when I do.

  47. Charlie Foxtrot

    I think that once my brain stands up and storms out of the cinema in disgust, the rest of me will kick back and enjoy the pretty moving pictures!

    “ooooooh, purty! Heh heh, the plane flew unda de buildings! Oooh fireballs!”

    See… I’m getting into it already! :)
    Yeah – I’ll go see it.

  48. Kevpod

    Great FX and a POS script. Should be fun.

  49. @Mike Torr: I’ve stubbornly refused to acknowledge the 21st century, and I intend to continue doing so until I get my personal robotic household staff and my flying car, dangit.

  50. Savino

    Totally agree!

    Let the BS about the mayans and prophecies apart and enjoy some high quality FXs!
    Simple like that…

    Sometime ppl wanna to be so brainiac that forget the fun!

  51. ND

    according to the wikiknowsall, USS JFK is decomissioned and is berthed at Philadelphia Pennsylvania

  52. 12. Earl’s TV Says: “…off-topic, my daughter and I just watched “Earth vs. The Flying Saucers” on DVD. The stop-motion effects in that old film hold up exceedingly well, and the incorporation of stock footage was brilliantly done. I had forgotten how much I love that film.”

    Doesn’t seem off topic at all to me, just an older generation when movies were a lot more economical to make. EvtFS took only 10 days (!) to shoot the principle photography, and that included locations on both coasts.

    If you want to know more, I’ve got a book that would interest you. Just click on my name above.

    – Jack

  53. Mang

    There’s one I’ll pass on. Maybe if it comes to late night TV and I can’t sleep. I can’t even see myself renting it.

    I just love to understand the construction of that huge architectural dome bouncing across the landscape, and the aircraft carrier too.

  54. Tony

    Oh come on people, you won’t watch this movie because it’s premise is a false prediction about the end of the world? And what fountain of truth do the movies you do want to watch come from? This is Hollywood people, where the latest truth is the advice of some movie star’s shaman!

  55. jd-f

    I agree it looks great! These movies have always had fun blowing up priceless buildings and pushing the believability – even that state of suspended disbelief you cinema goers are already in – and as the special effects get better, disaster movies get better!

    My two beefs (as the “oldest civilisation” was already mentioned) were that the dome of the Sistine Chapel (I think it was) slid along the ground instead of falling apart where it hit – I know you have to have a giant object sliding behind running people – the crashing train in “The Fugitive” was my favourite – but that was a bit much.

    And also what appeared to be Manhattan Island tipping up, intact, like a table or an ironing board…wouldn’t it crack into bits – then the taxis could fall in the cracks like in all the other disaster movies!

    But it looks like fun anyway. And the 2012 aspect is just a clever excuse to give the movie a “contemporary” relevance – I think the message at the end is genius – because every crack-pot, whack-job and lunatic with a 2012 website gives free advertising to the movie – very clever.

  56. OtherRob

    I had high hopes for Independence Day. A great cast, similar special effects, but I can’t watch it.

    As terrible as the science in the movie is — and I do appreciate good science in movies — if I’m channel surfing and I run into ID, I usually leave the channel on ’til it’s over. There is actually one line in the movie that chokes me up a little.

    And, yeah, I want to see this on the big screen. :-)

  57. Nasikabatrachus

    The heavy-handed symbolism looks a bit, well, heavy-handed. But the special effects are pretty impressive. I would totally do that stuff if I were some kind of deity, and had an earth-sandbox to play around with.

    My suggestion: don’t bother seeing it in theaters, get it on DVD and see it on Dec. 21, 2012–a friday, so the apocalypse won’t interfere TOO much with the work week–along with a bunch of other films like this. Should be great fun.

  58. Miranda

    Is that *John Cusack*!?!?!?

    Well, I’ll be first in line on opening day! :)

  59. Cairnos

    @ Mike
    I’ve only ever thought (and spoken) it as twenty twelve. I mean, as you say, Orwell didn’t write a novel called called one thousand nine hundred and eight four.

    @ Noadi
    Everyone in my office tends to use ‘oh nine’. Of course we talk about non-calendar fishing years (1 Oct to 30 sep) so the actual usage tends to be ‘oh six oh seven’ to convey the 2006/2007 fishing year

  60. I’m just wondering how large the DVD (or Blu-Ray, or Compact Cholesterol Crystal, or whatever the format is in the near future) sales of this movie will be in 2013 and beyond.

    I hope they have a bunch of corporate logos showing, like Pan Am and AT&T in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It will be fun to see how many of the corporations mentioned make it to 2012.

  61. 22. WetMogwai Says:
    This movie looks bad in a fun way, much like The Apple or Plan 9 From Outer Space.
    41. Mike Torr Says:
    Off on a slight tangent – when are people going to start saying “twenty” when pronouncing the year?

    These two comments remind me of the DVD I’m returning to NetFlix:Run Like Hell (NSFW!). The biggest star is Robert Z’Dar (MSTies remember him from Future War and Soultaker, others are on your own)…. and though it’s not scientifically inaccurate (because it HAS no science) pretty much everything else (acting, continuity, fight scenes, etc..) is terrible – the only reason I haven’t already returned it is an ‘easter egg’ that brings up various film people (reviewer, ?,?) getting drunk and commenting..
    Oh, and it occurs in the distant future of 2008 (made 1995), pronounced ‘twenty-oh-eight’.

    46. Noadi Says:
    Which one is the B Ark?

    The one with the telephone sanitizers 😉

    Really, I saw this on SyFy’s site and nearly gouged my eyes out (how Oedipal!)

    and where are the Vogon ships?


  62. Sheesh. That DOES look like every disaster movie ever made, rolled into one! The collapsing cathedral could even be a reference to the vastly underrated horror film “The Medusa Touch”!

  63. Whoa, the White House gets crushed by an aircraft carrier AND a giant tidal wave? That’s incredawesome. I’ve gotta go see this on opening day.

    Seriously though, I love disaster movies where all sorts of stuff gets destroyed, and this looks like it’ll set new records for most landmarks pulverized.

    I don’t even care about the 2012 connection. End of the world, ancient prophesy, possibly even humans trying to escape the planet? Cool. Sounds like a lot of fun. Doesn’t mean I believe it.

    Reminds me of Greg Bear’s “The Forge of God” in a way.

    Just out of curiosity, after 2012, when is the next so-called “doomsday” supposed to happen?

  64. God, this is just overflowing with awfulness. I couldn’t even force myself to watch the whole thing. This is fruther proof that some people ought not be allowed to make movies (and a good argument that others ought not be allowed to watch them).

    (update) Ok, I made myself watch it. Damn you, Phil, I think this caused me to lose some IQ points! I can’t spel rite anymore! Refenge! Er… ravage! Er… argh! DAMN YOU! 😛

  65. kevin halse

    That’s Armageddon!

    By Samuel L. Brokowitz!

  66. PJE

    Didn’t read all the comments, but is Roland Emmerich the guy who is directing “Foundation” by Issac Asimov?

    Just trying to raise an alarm :)


  67. @ Jack Hagerty:

    Did you interview Harryhausen at all for your book? One of my heroes. His effects in EvFS still amaze.

    Regarding this whole 2012 crapfest…while I like goofball movies as much as the next dork, what really beans my burrito is when morons say stupid things like, “Well, you don’t know what the Mayans knew about…blah blah blah.” Ahem. Yes, we do. As others have pointed out above, this whole doomsday thing is made up. The Mayan calendar was flipping pages, that’s all.

    It reminds me of a conversation I had with a knucklewalker who had just seen the movie, “Stargate” back when it first came out. “Well, the Egyptians might have been aliens…blah blah blah.” Ahem. Yeah, they might have been talking ferrets dressed up as people, too….but they weren’t!.

  68. T.E.L.:
    HEY!!!! Some of us live in or near Vancouver!!! It’s the most beautiful city in the world! And, it is the place where the best TV show ever produced was made…. BSG!!

    BTW, Emmerich is going to be directing Asimov’s Foundation. I won’t link to it because that will get caught in moderation, but Google Foundation Movie. It’s set to be released in 2011

  69. kingnor

    why did they add in the weird “USS John F Kennedy” text on the deck of the carrier? it’s clearly skateing around and those words arn’t located on the ship like that. it’s weird.

  70. 68. kuhnigget Says: “Did you interview Harryhausen at all for your book? One of my heroes. His effects in EvFS still amaze.”

    Yes I did, several times in different ways. I initially spoke to him on the phone while he was visiting his agent, Arnold, who lives in Southern California (Harryhausen has lived in England for decades). That was just an intro, after which I sent a draft copy of the chapter (through his agent) for him to review. Arnold reviewed it too. Ray didn’t care for its sarcastic tone at all. I re-wrote it to dial back the smart-ass tone and he liked it a lot better. Both of them came to the Bay Area in two successive years, 2004 and ’05, to promote his new book and DVD, respectively. I managed to squeeze in a couple of brief interviews, one of which made it into “Filmfax” magazine. The upside is that he actually recognized me when I introduced myself. “Oh, the sarcastic guy!” he said. Ulp.

    Arnold did the final review of the chapter and suggested the little addendum that I was happy to add. No, I’m not going to say here what it was, you’ll just have to get a copy :-)

    – Jack

  71. Wayne

    I predict that the 2012 woo will drop off sharply around 2013 or so.

  72. «bønez_brigade»

    Since that tidal wave (with USS JFK in tow) impacted the White House directly from the south (note the round part), then it would have at least had to travel across NC, VA and half of MD to get there — unless, of course, it came from farther east in the Atlantic and was deflected by that other tidal wave that started in the Pacific. And that’s especially odd, since the USS JFK is currently decommissioned and berthed in Philadelphia. But, then again, the Power 0′ 2012 will probably be able to whip a tidal wave right around the planet, with no loss of momentum.

  73. This will be one movie that I will not see for many a reason. First as others have mentioned here, 2012 was never the end of the world. Its the end of an era and the beginning of a new cycle. No different than a change of seasons. Second it will probably end up pissing me off to no end just like the latest Indiana Jones movie did with all their ancient astronaut B.S.

    I have studied religions all of my life. It has something that has fascinated me since I was a child. I approach religion from a different P.O.V. than most people who believe in some form of higher power. And I do not want any flack about this, I don’t tell people what they should or should not believe in (as long as its not harming people) and I expect the same respect in return.

    However some may think what I am about to say is telling people what to believe but it is my own personal opinion (and well all this crap about 2012 has the potential to cause real harm to groups of people who buy into it). I am so sick and tired of all these New Age people; doomsday nutters; cracked Scientologist; evangelical loons; conspiracy freaks; turning something that has been one way and taught one way for a long time and saying “The sky is falling!” Stuff like this gets turned into a religion (just like Dan Browns fiction now people believe it to be fact since it was very loosely based on a couple of organizations) and people cling to it and it becomes their new “religion” and everything gets whacky. And then cults form and people do some of the most horrible things imaginable (including mass suicide) because they are desperate to believe anything.

    So for me its not only the bad science of this movie but yet another Hollywood attempt to cash in on panic and fear and the rewriting of a religious system and history.

  74. Looks pretty awesome actually… in an awesomely destructive kind of way. I’m all for cg destruction on a mass scale.

  75. I’m afraid that there’s one part of that movie that may be true; the mass suicides.

  76. Naomi

    I might actually go see it XD Leave my brain at the door, of course, and enjoy some good old-fashioned disaster porn! (It’s just stuff like 10.5 that makes me RAEG – geology major, can’t help it!)

  77. Joel

    I’m a big fan of the giant jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro crumbling, then all the cardinals praying in vain as the vatican collapses around them, and then the roof of the sistine chapel splitting right between the fingers of god and adam. I prefer my imagery to be subtle.

    Also, it’s the “find out the truth, search 2012” at the end that really gets to me. I tried that once, it was a bad decision.

  78. DOES ANY ONE HAVE A SPARE BRAIN I CAN USE??? after watching this and the trailer for that piece of s**t moon impact show on abc my brain has officially melted. i blame you phil, so in return i ask for your brain, lol

    i for one am beyond sick of this 2012 Myan calender end of the world bull s(can i please curse)hit. i was at the local Barnes and noble book store and saw a whole display shelf filled with books on the mya and 2012, WHO BUYS THIS TRASH?!?!

    i will be sooooooo happy when 2012 comes and goes that way i can say to anyone AND everyone who bought into this crap even the slightest bit “hey wasnt the world supposed to end, thought so, it never does”

    i predict though this silly fascination with the mya and 2012 will end in 2013, hopefully new years day 2013. cause i for one will be the guy who constantly reminds the world, hey remember that tizzy people got into all for nothing about them myans,

    and i leave this post with this question, WHY are humans so obsessed with the end of the world and Apocalypse to the point of being overjoyed about the idea of wanting billions to dye, as if they have something to gain?

  79. Harry

    Apart from the other issues, the filmmakers seem to think that the Sistine Chapel is located in St Peter’s Basilica.

  80. Rob

    Didn’t anyone else notice the extra planet(oid) in the first shot above the earth? I’m guessing that they’re going to try and work some planet buzzing us at treetop level.

  81. Okay, for those asking Phil for his brain because the trailer(s) melted theirs (leaving HULU aside for the moment), why would you want a USED brain? Better to get one from a ‘wooist’ (Moon Hoax/anti-vax/homeopath), and you know it’s never been used!!



  82. theinquisitor

    “i will be sooooooo happy when 2012 comes and goes that way i can say to anyone AND everyone who bought into this crap even the slightest bit “hey wasnt the world supposed to end, thought so, it never does””

    Like that will teach them anything. They’re probably the same people who thought the world would end with “Y2K”. Didn’t you know that failed prophecies just make the next one more likely?

  83. Lawrence

    Now that I have a son, I don’t get quite as much joy at watching “end of the world” stuff anymore. My wife can’t watch any of it – at all.

    I get to thinking about all the children that won’t have a chance to grow up & their parents.

    I know its not real & definitely hokey – but it does pull at the old heart strings.

  84. Zucchi

    I wonder if the opening line “The World’s First Civilization” is meant as a signal not to take any of it seriously. If so, most of the public is too ignorant to get the joke.

    With “Independence Day”, what bothers me isn’t even the terrible science — it’s seeing good actors wasted on one-dimensional characters and terrible dialogue.

  85. davem

    So, on 1 Jan 2013, what will be the the new date that the World is going to end?

  86. PeteG

    No matter how the film turns out, it looks like it’s going to be pure, unadulterated eye candy.

    Or more like eye cocaine actually.

  87. DLM

    Thanks Phil. This “2012 doomsday” stuff is getting very irritating. I’m a regular in the Yahoo! Answers Astronomy and Space category, and these questions are relentless in there. So much to the point, where several of the regulars in that category have joined together and have been researching the most thurough 2012 debunking page we can come up with. Wouldn’t mind your insights or help, if you have the time, if not, that is fine too.

    We have also been working on letters to the History Cahnnel, their advertisers, and the likes. The parallels to the Heaven’s Gate Cult or that young girl who drank pesticide because of media released nonsense about the LHC destroying the world with “2012” frightens me. I feel that if even one child (or adult, for that matter) gives up in school or kills themself because they believe this nonsense, the History Channel executives and their advertisers should be held partly responsible. If you falsely scream “fire” in a crowded biulding, and someone gets trampled to death, can you not be charged for negligence and wrongful death? I really think people need to write to stations that air this drivel, and explain to them that their greed is unjustifiably detrimental to humanity.

    Feel free to contact me, if you so desire


  88. Robert Carnegie

    I dunno, maybe once the big dumb movie comes out, people take the stupid idea less seriously? They move onto the next fun thing? I mean, when [The Da Vinci Code] made it onto celluloid, did people quit wondering whether the Catholic church hid the truth about Jesus all along… (except I’m told Muslims have always believed the Crucifixion was a hoax. I haven’t checked that.)

    On the other hand, what about [The Day After Tomorrow]? Big dumb movie about anthropogenic climate change tipping over and, apparently, wrecking the United States mainly. If you thought New York was too hot or too cold now (or am I thinking of San Francisco? I only heard about it in an Alistair Cooke broadcast)…

    The main difference being, climate change is real. It even could flip over and blindside us, although I think the main gotcha is frozen stuff deep under the sea that could thaw out and release a lot of methane – a super greenhouse gas. But there’s also tundra melting (more methane) and land ice disappearing (raises sea level). Astronomers will be grateful that they work on high mountains.

    What effect did other disaster-predicting movies have on popular opinion? [The Riddle of the Sands] is about the First World War coming early, but people expected that anyway; H. G. Wells wrote “A Dream of Armageddon”, but I don’t know if it was filmed – also predicted the First World War, approximately; oh, and [Red Dawn]. And maybe [The Russians Are Coming!]

    [The Birds] changed a lot of stuff that was in the book, where it wasn’t a local problem. [Westworld] was taken seriously and warned most people except for Disney against building robot amusement parks, so the [Terminator] and [I, Robot] movies were made to press the point home. And [The Core] reminded us of the need to take better care of Earth’s magnetic field. [The Mummy Returns] and [Night at the Museum] demonstrate why museum exhibit cases need to lock on the OUTSIDE. And of course “Akira (manga). For the eponymous film, see Akira (film). It has been suggested that Satellite Orbital Laser be merged into this article or section.”

    And several abduction-by-flying-saucer movies. TV series, even.

    But do these productions have a good or bad effect on real public understanding of the issues involved? And does it matter whether the movie is good, thoughtful, or just noisy and colourful?

    One more – [Capricorn One]. But we still have people apparently sincerely believing that the Apollo moon missions -were- hoaxed. (Yeah, Cap One was fictionalised and they went to Mars instead – or didn’t. That didn’t START that whole hoax thing, did it?)

  89. T.E.L.

    Michael L Says:

    HEY!!!! Some of us live in or near Vancouver!!! It’s the most beautiful city in the world!”

    I’m not dissing the city; it’s a beautiful place. I wouldn’t mind living there. But the studios are like mass-production factories.

  90. Brian M

    My God, you people really take yourselves seriously. Ever hear of Santa Claus? Do any harm? It’s called “fiction”. If it’s well written (ok, a stretch, I admit) and a useful diversion, what’s the harm? As far as stoking the fears that 2012 will end it all… think of it as kind of like an intellectual Darwin Award, and just move on.

  91. This looks made of awesome.

    “The Day After Tomorrow” looked like it was made of awesome too. It wasn’t.

    Still, this one will be a nice Nexflix rental some day.

  92. Brian Siano

    Reminds me of a story I heard about Harlan Ellison, when he pitched an idea for the first Star Trek movie. He’d developed a story involving an alternate timeline where lizards became the dominant species on earth, and Kirk and the crew had to travel _way_ back in time to ensure that humans came out on top.

    The studio’d insisted that one Mark Trabulus be brought in as a writer. After Ellison gave his pitch, Trabulus said, “I was reading this book by Erich von Daniken, and he said the Mayan calendar is so advanced that it had to come from outer space. Could we put some Mayans in the story?”

    Ellison really tried to be polite, at first. “There weren’t any Mayans at the dawn of time,” he explained.

    “Put’em in anyway. Who’s going to know?”

    “_I’m_ going to know, you feeb,” was the _beginning_ of Ellison’s no-longer-polite reply.

    The story’s retold by Ellison in Stephen King’s book _Danse Macabre_.

  93. Darrin

    Paranoia and woo spouters aside, I’ll probably end up seeing it, because I’m a sucker for massive-scale destruction movies, no matter how many times they make me want to bash my head into a desk until the pain stops.

  94. I can’t wait for this haha it looks hilarious and I can’t resist an apocalypse movie.

    It seems to me that that family would have died at least 3 times in that preview…is it just me?

  95. RL

    Looks waycool. I don’t know why, but I always root for the “bad guys” in a movie like this. Wipe ’em all out. It may be a bunch of special effects looking for a plot, but it definitely looks like it might be fun to watch.

    I’m a big John Cusack fan, too. I’ve enjoyed almost all of his movies, even Con Air, although its hard to watch now.

    And I really enjoyed Independence Day. I could see it not being everyone’s cup of tea but watching/listening to Will Smith dogfight (ok, run-fly away) was great.

    “Oh No!, you did not shoot that green @#$% at me”, “Look at you now, your ship all banged up!”, “I could have been at a barbeque!”

    “Welcome to Earth!”

    Now that was great.

  96. Sandy L

    I’m gonna see it. I LOVE movies like this – I don’t believe they are true. They are entertainment. It’s no different than reading a fabulous book (although the movie in my head is usually better). Of course, I do have an IQ higher than a gnat.

  97. Gary Ansorge

    Wow! Death and destruction, fear and panic,,,so much money to be made. Hey, maybe this is one way to supplement my Social Security,,,selling survival kits.

    The CG effects are way cool but to really play to the human desire for excitement, maybe we could just regenerate saber tooth tigers(with human type brains), set them loose in an urban environment and watch the ensuing chaos,,,wouldn’t that be fun? “Run, humans, run. Now, YOU’RE the prey,,,”.
    ,,which, I guess, is one reason for the recent upsurge in Vamp movies(though I have to admit I really enjoyed the last True Blood,,,Ooh, Sookie).

    GAry 7

  98. Where are Joel and the Bots when you need them?

  99. Carlos

    To bring some good astronomy into it ….

    As others have alluded the importance of 21 Dec 2012 comes from the fact that we the Mayan long count date will finish it’s 13th baktun . On Dec 21 2012, when we start the 14th baktun (long count date the argument about the end of the world is that the Mayans treated it as a more important baktun change. I suppose kind of like arguing that the year 10,000 is more important than the year 2,000. The source for this theory is that the Popol Vuh, one of the Mayan creation stories, indicates that the previous age of the world ended at the end of another 13th baktun. So there is an argument tha major Mayan ages are 13 baktuns long.

    Another interesting angle is the precession of the equinoxes. Each baktun is 144,000 days or around 394.25 years. That means 13 baktuns are 5,125 years which is almost exactly 1/5 (0.199) the length of one complete precession of the equinoxes (25,771 years).

    Does this mean that I believe the end of the world is near? Not at all. But it does beg some good astronomical questions. Were the Mayans able to measure the precession of the equinoxes to better than 1% accuracy, as the above numbers imply? Or is it simply a strange numerical coincidence?

  100. Yay! Someone else who likes Independence Day. Just saw it again after all these years and I still love it. You are just right: fun, great pacing and special effects for the day, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I hestitate to admit this, but I even loved Jeff Goldblum.

    @Bob on Easton — Don’t worry — they’ll be all over this once it’s out. The rifftrax version of ID4 is great too. : )

  101. in ID an alcoholic flies an airplane and saves the world, Jeff Goldblum gets drunk and gets the idea for the virus. The answer to the end of the world, keep drinking.

  102. Gary Ansorge

    94 Carlos: “,,,Or is it simply a strange numerical coincidence?”

    I seriously doubt even Mayan astronomers were THAT good. On the other hand, in astronomy, coincidences may imply resonance, ie, like the 2:3 resonance of Mercury’s orbit(twice around the sun=three planetary rotations about its axis).
    So, there MAY be some kind of resonance between the earths precession and rotational rate,,,just a wild guess there, Phil(Hey, I’m much more a physicist than an astronomer).

    GAry 7

  103. Gary Ansorge

    95. t-storm:

    Some people get great ideas from one kind of Bud. Others get their “marvelous insights” from another,,,

    GAry 7

  104. 87. MarkH Says:
    Still, this one will be a nice Nexflix rental some day.

    Just popped over and noticed they’re already putting it into the ‘save’ (unreleased DVD) category. Also a couple other fictional movies, and a couple of ‘documentaries’ (not having seen them, don’t know how good they are)

    93. Bob on Easton Says:
    Where are Joel and the Bots when you need them?

    Check Cinematic Titanic, with Joel, Frank, Trace, Mary Jo, and more (or RiffTrax for Mike, Bill and Kevin)


  105. If St.Peter falls like that, it won’t roll. It’ll simply smash into millions of small pieces. This is the one thing that breaks it for me. I may go see the movie, but I’ll close my eyes when it comes to this shot.

  106. Tom K.

    The Sistine Chapel doesn’t roll or break apart due to the lubrication that the people being crushed provide. Like using a rolling pin on soft butter. Eeeek and Yuk!

  107. Chris A.

    This may be a stretch, but could a silver lining here be the fact that the more the “end of the world” hype is propagated, the harder it will be for the woos to claim, a posteriori, that “no, we REALLY meant that 12/21/2012 signifies a ‘consciousness shift'” or some other twaddle?

  108. firemancarl

    Well, I am all prepared to not have to pay taxes in 2013 , since everything will go kablooie in 2012

  109. I watched this and my first reaction was “When Worlds Collide” as mentioned earlier. But the music kept going through my head. I was in another part of the house when it hit me, so i apologize to anyone who’s sighted this before. The music is strangely reminiscent of the original “Godzilla” theme. I know older music is sometimes overlaid for trailers, many times, music that doesn’t even appear in the movie. Its not the same note for note, but for someone like me who grew up with The Big G, it was enough to notice.

    Then again, an hour later, listening to it again, it sounds LESS like “Godzilla” than I imagined. Oh mighty brain!

  110. John

    “I’m not a big fan of doomsday nonsense” – Phil Plait.

    “Global warming deniers.” – Phil Plait.

    what gives dude? the world gonna end or not?

  111. Charlie Young

    Many a doomsday has come and gone and I bet 2012 will do the same. The movie will probably be entertaining, however. It’s called suspension of disbelief.

  112. Ryan

    I don’t care about bad science when it comes to a science FICTION movie. My willing suspension of reality works just fine.

    Having said that: Holy shasbat. This movie looks amazing. Glad to see it’s from the ID4 and Day After Tomorrow folks. Will be epic indeed.

  113. Lucas

    Possible Spoiler Alert:
    According to reviews of the script, the disaster is caused by neutrinos frying the Earth’s core. So, this movie will top even “The Core” as the most scientifically inaccurate movie of all time.

  114. Bryan Feir

    @Chris A.:

    ‘consciousness shift’ — That’s all we need, someone trying to tie this into saying the Age of Aquarius just started a bit later than previously expected.

  115. Gary Ansorge

    Ah, a consciousness shift,,,isn’t that when we take it out of second gear? (I remember the Little Nash Rambler all too well).

    GAry 7

  116. Just FYI for all of you who are confusing St. Peters and the Sistine Chapel. They are NOT the same thing. The Chapel is the Pope’s little “private” church for daily use. St. Peter’s is the Sunday go to meetin’ church (so to speak) for important stuff. It’s gigantic and holds some 60,000 people at once (no seats). The Chapel is tiny by comparison and can “only” hold a few hundred. That’s the one that some guy graffitied the ceiling in the sixteenth century.

    BTW, the dome on St. Peter’s started cracking almost as soon as it was built. They were really pushing the state of the art and the walls of the drum (the round part that supports the dome) started spreading outwards. It’s actually wrapped with a gigantic iron chain to hold it together. I was watching that clip to see any evidence of giant links a meter or more long flying at the camera.

    Oh, well.

    – Jack

  117. coolstar

    Lucas: I’d say Armageddon and the last Star Trek movie at least tie “The Core” as the most scientifically inaccurate movies of all time. Just one astronomer’s opinion…….

  118. Tony

    I know what you mean. When I watch movies like this, I imagine how I would throw the kids in the car and try to get some place safe. I know there are real things to worry about in today’s world, but I am a protective father, I can not help it.

  119. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Sigh, the Olmec’s was the first known large mesoamerican civilization, as noted. I’m more amazed that they picked a Mayan pyramid, at least that is what I think it is – Mayans made all sorts of them, even with rooms. Otherwise there were plenty of pyramid building civilizations to pick from, using the Teotihacan pyramids as example is perhaps a common mistake. (Attributed to having a mix of Otomi, Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya and Nahua buildings.)

    Were the Mayans able to measure the precession of the equinoxes to better than 1% accuracy, as the above numbers imply? Or is it simply a strange numerical coincidence?

    Oh, how I love the pseudoscientific archaeoastrononomy way of fabricating patterns, from buildings, from calenders or what not. (And as far as I know, few or none have been verified by paleontologists.) Precessions aren’t static, and can’t be known with such precision.

    I see that modern astronomical methods such as VLBI has allowed for modeling the rate of precession such that the current rate is known to be 25,772 years, adopted by IAU. After a few thousand years apparently the different models don’t agree much, so time for an observational update.

    So no, nobody had been able to make those measurements at that time, even if they for some reason had tried. That idea doesn’t pass a smell test, better yet a real assessment of their techniques. And I don’t think there is any evidence of civilizations before the Greeks (Hipparchus) having known about them.

    “Numerical coincidences” aren’t coincidences. You can always find formulas connecting two numbers in the same way that you can always draw a line between two points on a plane. And those formulas can always be approximated by simple enough quotas or algorithms in the same way that rationals are embedded in the reals.

    In the same way, that less than 1 % “precision” doesn’t mean anything. If Mayans had known about precession and tried to calculate it, they may have come up with any number of baktuns, say 13*6 if 13 was so interesting for them that they tried it on. There is simply no way to assess precision on unknown methods.

    These concepts are duds – and that isn’t a coincidence in the imprecise context of pseudoscience.

  120. Geoff

    Lucas said – ‘Possible Spoiler Alert:
    According to reviews of the script, the disaster is caused by neutrinos frying the Earth’s core. So, this movie will top even “The Core” as the most scientifically inaccurate movie of all time.’

    That’s comedy gold. Now, let me explain how we know the earth to be banana shaped.

  121. Citizen of the Cosmos

    If I can put significant portions of my brain on standby mode, this might be enjoyable.

    And unlike some people, I don’t think the “fiction” part of science fiction negates the “science” part.

  122. Chris

    Well for goodness sake, who would let the Operative from Serenity on an ark?

  123. Billy Bob

    Anyone got a link with the Mayan predictions after 2012? Be great to pull that up in some of the debates. Google is useless for it.

  124. Andrija

    I am afraid that the coolness factor of this movie overrides any logical or scientific inconsistencies.

  125. Michael Welford

    For a reason to get angry, check out this post from Mike Brown (the Eris guy) about some of the publicity for 2012.

  126. Bicky

    “trying to calm folks down and keep them from panicking over doomsday crap”

    SF movies like these are the best way to point out the absurdness in absurd theories. Visualize nonsense in such a way that it is clear that something like that only can happen in movies.

  127. SkepTTic

    Woah!!! I’m drooling already! This is the disaster movie to end all disaster movies! Seriously, after this, what’s left to destroy? Seriously, it’s crap, but I’m going to see it. Turn my brain off, and drool into my popcorn!

  128. Joe

    The fireballs look like lava “bombs” coming from the super volcano in Yellowstone national park based on the RV scene. Tidal wave looks to be caused by big chunks of land sinking into the ocean. From what I’ve read the movie’s explanation of this is some far off theory from Einstein that the Earth’s crust can shift very suddenly instead of over a long period.

    It looks like a fun end of the world type movie. Seeing cities blow up, sink, etc. is fun. I’m sure the story behind saving human-kind will be lame and those ships look like small versions of the battlestar Galactica.

    As for the 2012 nonsense. Roland has said he does not really believe that doomsday stuff but probably made the movie knowing it would be fun and would probably get him some money because of the hype.

  129. Skeptic Kid

    Well watch out, guys. The world won’t end in 2012 but it will end when I spend money to see this movie. I like thrilling garbage like these theories; they make our lives exciting and colourful. But I think even the LHC woo-hoo deserved to be taken more seriously than this. When this is all over there will probably be another doomsday theory like this (I mean it only took the idiots of our society 7 or 8 years to pull this out of their asses after Y2K). I might even come up with a theory like this myself. Watch out for three books and two movies. Apocalypse 20171/2. Kinda has a ring to it don’t ya think.

  130. Frank B. Chavez III

    Not only is this movie ignorant about science it is ignorant about Mayan culture. The Maya, like other Mesoamerican cultures had a cyclical view of time. Their calendars didn’t end, they reset themselves and started counting the days again. That was the Maya’s whole raison d’etre — in their belief system the gods made man in order to keep track of time. The Maya Long Count calendar (which was probably actually invented by the Olmecs) had the audacity to keep track of huge amounts of time — centuries and millennia rather than just days and months. Not that the Maya wouldn’t have placed importance on the end of one cycle of the Long Count; it probably wouldn’t have been the mush headed nonsense the new agers are obsessed with. Real Mayan prophecies rarely dealt with far future events but rather with things in the immediate future. For instance the prophecy known as the Cuceb deals with the Maya’s hoped for delivery from the Itza, Mexicanized invaders who conquered the Yucatan in the Post Classical period.

  131. I personally love disaster flicks since I first saw Earthquake in Sensoround. WOOT!

    Yes. The science is all wrong. But so is assuming the end of the world would happen in 2000 or 1900 or 1800… everyone ‘feels’ something will happen at the end of a calendar.

    So…whip people into a frenzy and sell more tickets!!! I’ll be in line.

    Oh…and…as for an end of the world plot (and even looking at Independence Day), check out Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood’s End.”

    Genius work.

    Hope you have fun at the ComicCon this year!

  132. StarKing

    Can you imagine how famous the person would be who correctly predicted the end of the world?
    Except of course for one minor detail…

  133. Curt

    How about that release date ! Not much time for them to recoup the movie budget
    If the wolrd ends on the Dec. 21st. ha ha ha………..

  134. I dont want to die. I really like to live. Im just so scared, I do believe in this Im just so scared by what I saw.

  135. bdos

    I think this movie does not take itself very serious either. Just look at the get-away scene in that car. It’s a fantasy flick that starts from the premise that the 2012 doomsday scare is truth. It’s full of never-seen before imagery.

    Imo the real bad science is in the cause of it all: neutrinos from the sun have “mutated” so that they heat up the interior of the Earth. They’d have been better off if they’d conjured up an all new previously unknown particle.

  136. Regina Polo

    The Mayans did not predict the end of the world. doooo.
    They predicted the end of the statu quo


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar