Unable to visualize our own demise ? 2012 is there for you

The proverbial end of the world;Doomsday, Apocalypse, Judgement, Ragnarok or whatever you call it.

One of the many depictions of the day when the world ends. (Four Horsemen of Apocalypse ) obtained from http://www.hiveworkshop.com

It will arrive one day, no matter how technologically advanced we become – a time where Gaia, planet earth, will be blown into smithereens and nothing will be left of humanity’s existence. This does not apply if humanity chooses to vacate and occupy a new planet, of course, but the end can only be so inevitable.

In the movie 2012, we see a world falling into a cataclysm engulfed with brimstone and utter destruction. There is not much to say about the story, other than the fact that the year 2012 is supposedly at the end of the Mayan Calendar; thus people concluding that the Mayans predicted our demise. Having the Mayans as influence, several disastrous phenomenons were thrown – with proper scientific explanations, of course – in on the years before 2012, leading up to the climax of the imminent disaster in the movie.

Let us instead talk about the bread and butter of this movie – things that decide whether a movie about the end of the world is an epic failure or not. For the average movie-goer, it would be harrowing to see your own hometown, or a certain place get utterly wrecked in the movie by the forces of nature. On the other hand ( not implying anything sensitive here), the effects featured are more of an eye candy for visual effect artists and designers. Realists will laugh at the absurdity of the movie. The effects in the film actually determined how the story would unfold. No effects, no disaster , no film. It was set in stone from the moment this movie was conceptualized. Without the effects, you would see a man rushing his family to the airport’s runway for no particular reason. Yes, that would be funny.

Though falling a bit short on its story, the spectacular depiction of the apocalypse made it quite the successful movie.  How the apocalypse began set the tone for the rest of the movie – and so, the movie started off by making the earth crumble like how a glass cracks. The effects were incredible throughout the movie – example: many layers of effects on top of the modeling of the epicenter  in the city were extremely realistic. And does Noah’s Ark ring a bell to you at the end of movie ? ( My bad, Noah’s Arks, for that matter ) However, instead of evacuating animals, they saved the most important humans instead. The vivid rendering of the Arks were no small feat either. I would feel safe inside of the leviathan in the face of a disaster.

Ultimately, visual effects are like how spreads are to a loaf of bread. Do you need spreads to eat the bread ? Not necessarily, but it would definitely taste better with the spreads. The bread can taste delicious by itself and the spreads can go bad just like any food. Likewise, it is a double-edged sword – it cuts both ways, as movies can rely heavily on the visual effects to tell the story instead of having the script and its characters carry it forward. Recent movies (good example: Sucker Punch) are guilty of letting the visual effects carry and develop the movie; leaving very little development for the plot and characters- like a cash grab on the audience. Nevertheless, visual effects almost always enhances  the movie going experience of this age and enchants its viewers. A good plot is a no-brainer requisite to a movie.

It is perhaps too soon too consider 2012 as an epitome of visual effects. For us, visual artists, we know that the records will be broken again and again in an industry which is constantly expanding. Nevertheless, movies like these are the ones that set the industry standard for a successful sci-fi themed movie.


~ by keerakun on May 2, 2012.

3 Responses to “Unable to visualize our own demise ? 2012 is there for you”

  1. Much agreement with what you said. If there wasn’t any digital effects in the movie, it would hardly be a disaster movie. It’ll just be about people…walking all over the place.

  2. I totally agree with the part where visual effects could be a double edged sword. The visual effects in Sucker Punch does not help the story at all, which is a great epitome on how “visual effects has not affected the story in a film”. On the other hand, it really helped in telling people that its the end of the world with 2012. It really helped in telling the story.

  3. It depends on how vfx in the a show helps to enhance the story plot. But that’s up to the scriptwriter and director to cooperate lol.

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