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The Villain Has a Point


I remember seeing Roland Emmerich’s disaster of a disaster film, “2012,” all the way back in 2009. Upon leaving the theater, only only thing stuck in my head, apart from how terrible the movie was: Oliver Platt’s character, Carl Anheuser, was totally right.

In the film, he was portrayed as this evil disgusting lump of a man who was only interested in money. Just look at him in the picture above, with his glass of champagne and his evil, lumpy sneer. He looks like a guy who would steal candy from a baby, lace it with arsenic and then give it back to the baby.

In reality, Carl was the sanest character in the film. He single-handedly took an international disaster (literally the end of the world as we know it) and created a way for humankind to survive.

How did he do it? He built ships that could not only keep humans alive for a long period of time, but also were highly advanced and sophisticated pieces of technology that could ensure mankind wouldn’t regress into a clubs-and-sticks caveman-like civilization. He secured some of the world’s best art, literature and other texts so language and artistic expression would remain a part of human culture. He brought in animals and plant life so our natural ecosystem wouldn’t die out. He pooled parts of the average human gene pool so that humankind would be able to reproduce and maintain each of its multiple cultural identities.

He even kept the freaking world governments alive so society wouldn’t turn into chaos and cannibalism after the world was flooded.

And how did he pay for it? With wealthy backers willing to buy their way to survival. While the film touts this as evil and wrong, in truth it’s not only realistic, but smart. Why are some of these people the wealthiest in the world? Because they’re smart, connected and resourceful. Either that, or they’re the freaking Queen of England, who was presented in the film as some sniveling old lady hobbling around with her two dogs.

If I had to choose between Bill Gates and John Cusack’s character, Jackson Curtis … I’d go with Bill Gates. He can at least help technology survive and / or thrive after the world ends. What can Jackson do, write a cheesy book?

Another supposed evil that’s presented in the movie is how spacious the accommodations are in the ship’s cabins. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character, Adrian Helmsley, walks into his cabin and declares “We could fit at least ten people in here.” Here’s the problem with that sentiment: While it’s noble and humanitarian of him to Adrian to want more people to live, he needs to realize that whoever’s on the ships could be there a very, very long time. Months, years, decades … who knows how long it would be until dry land became a possibility, if it ever could? Imagine if you were packed like a sardine into a tiny cabin for months or years on end. It would turn into chaos, and quickly.

The rooms weren’t meant as temporary storage spaces (a.k.a. cages) for humans; they were meant to be homes. I’m sure at least 20 people could have fit into Adrian’s two-bedroom apartment … but did he open his doors for the homeless or downtrodden? Hypocrite.

In the end, one of the most tragic things about the film is its supposed noble intentions. Arguments are made to save a few random people, mainly Jackson’s family, while literally six billion other people are wiped off the face of the planet. No thought is given to those people, other than the fact that they stand in Jackson’s way. Oliver Platt’s character was concerned with the survival of humanity, while the rest of the so-called “noble” characters were only concerned with the survival of one man against a sea of six-billion others who did not survive.

And yet Carl is the one with the evil sneer.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 25/04/2012 05:07

    Jainomo! Insightful and the kind of 180 perspective I love. Lloyd Dobler colored glasses made me completely miss this. I have watched this movie more times than I care to admit. And love it. THis will give me something to consider next time it sucks me in.

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