In case you don’t know it, the world will end on Dec 21, 2012 – at least according to the Mayan calendar. So that we know what to expect from the global cataclysm, director Roland Emmerich will unleash the doomsday film “2012” on the world in November.
The 53-year-old German director, responsible for such films as “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Independence Day” and “Godzilla,” treated the Japanese media to 15 minutes of eye-popping footage from the still-unfinished film for the first time in the world. The $200 million film stars John Cusak as a mathematician trying to save his family, Danny Glover as the U.S. president, Woody Harrelson as a doomsday prophet, as well as Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Amanda Peet and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
The special effects showing the geothermal collapse of the Earth surpass anything seen before: a massive tidal wave tips an aircraft carrier onto the White House, fireballs drop from the sky, St Peter’s Basilica collapses on the faithful, and so on. However, Emmerich pointed out that the story is the most important element. “My idea for this movie started with the characters,” he said. “They tell the story. If you don’t believe in the characters, then you won’t believe in the story, no matter how good the special effects are.”
He said “2012” was the most difficult film he has ever done. “There are up to 1,400 visual effects in it. We had effects for every conceivable challenge. The cast were very good. Most of the time, they had to stand in front of a big blue screen and react to something that wasn’t there.”
Emmerich has earned a reputation as a disaster movie director, but he thinks that isn’t really true. “You could call ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ a disaster movie, but ‘Independence Day’ wasn’t, although it followed the template. ‘2012’ packs everything I’ve done before into one film,” he said.
The film is not just about an apocalypse. It is also about hope and new beginning, said Emmerich. “It’s about a moral dilemma that humanity must face. There are two groups of people – those who know about the impending disaster early on and want to keep it a secret, such as politicians and scientists, and those who do not know – the public. Then there is a race to build ‘Noah’s arks,’ but who gets a place and who doesn’t?”
Adding a light touch to the special preview event in Tokyo was Japanese celebrity Megumi Yasu, 27. A concerned Yasu asked Emmerich if the Mayan prophecy on which the film is based was true, since her birthday is Dec 22. “Well, I hope not,” the director reassured her. “It would be an unfortunate birthday for you.”
"2012" opens worldwide (including Japan) on Nov 21.© Japan Today