2012: Film Futures That Might Have Been

By Helen Cox

Bad New Year's Eve hangover? It could be worse...

Hungover today? Still got Auld Lang Syne, officially the most depressing song ever written, ringing in your ears? No matter how bleak things seem this morning you have one thing to be grateful for: there is a distinct line between film and reality. At least that’s what I’m told. If this were not the case and we lived in the realm of cinema the outlook for 2012 would be far, far worse…

The best case scenario for the coming year, in cinematic terms, is if we lived in the Alex de la Iglesia’s Accion Mutante (1993). In this film, set in 2012, beautiful people rule the world. Given that the likes of David Cameron and Boris Johnson are in power I think we can safely say we’re not on course for this one. Although this seems like quite a nice idea on the surface, however, (who cares about rising energy prices if your local MP has a midriff hot enough to fry eggs on?) there is of course a darker side to this futuristic vision.

With beautiful people calling all the shots there is no room for imperfections and consequently a small band of disabled citizens create their own terrorist group (called Accion Mutante) in order to enact their revenge on the elite. Their vehicle of choice is an ice-cream truck and the plot involves somebody having their lips stapled shut and a siamese twin dragging around his dead brother for a good portion of the run time. Remember I said this was one of the sunnier 2012 outlooks? Your job as Chief Photocopier at the local travel agents isn’t looking too shabby now, is it?

Slightly more traumatising than being caught up in this fray would be to suffer the fate of those on board Titanic II (2010). This low budget mockbuster has nothing to do with Jimmy Cameron and yet still achieves all new levels of movie cheddar. The story goes that one hundred years after the original Titanic sank those arrogant humans decide to have another crack at crossing the Atlantic, this time in a vessel christened: SS Titanic II. Instead of sailing from Southampton to New York the maiden voyage for this ship is going to be from New York to Southampton. That’s where things really went wrong last time, right?

Unfortunately for Titanic II, global warming finally catches up with the human race just as they set sail and the Helheim glacier in Greenland is thus melted. This in turn causes an 800mph tsunami which in turn sends an iceberg crashing into Titanic #2. Oh the irony! The irony of it all! Perhaps the most distressing element of this film is that it stars Dick Van Dyke’s grandson Shane Van Dyke. Global Warming, it seems, cares nothing for Hollywood royalty.

Of course, if you did go down on the SS Titanic II then you’ve no chance of being hit in the face with a dinner tray by Jason Statham. Or going head to head with with him in a Death Race (2008). In this unnecessary but perky sequel to Roger Corman’s classic Death Race 2000 (1975) Statham plays a framed convict bent on earning his freedom in a Death Race, a race to the…well, to the death. The only rule is that there are no rules. Yadda yadda yadda.

Desperate to break free from his futurisitic prison Statham uses his gravelly voice to distract you to your doom and if that’s not distracting enough Ian McShane (aka Lovejoy) turns up as Statham’s would-be mentor . The only thing to be grateful for in this world is David Carradine’s voice and, cool as he is, that’s just not enough to offset the scourge of Statham.

Marginally worse than coming face to face with Jason Statham weilding a dinner tray as a weapon would be coming face to face with flesh-eating zombies. Both I Am Legend (2007) and the upcoming I Spit on Your Rave are based on the idea that zombies are due to attack this year.  If you (and your dog) aren’t snaffled by one of I Am Legend’s Darkseekers then you might well be eaten alive during one the Olympic Games this summer, during which a virus will be released that spurs a zombie uprising of epic proportion. Warning: I Spit on Your Rave broke the world record for “Most amount of zombies captured on camera.” There will be no survivors!

Failing all this you’ve got your standard end-of-the-world-esque narratives. In 2012 (2009) John Cusack tries to save his loved ones from a solar flare that rapidly increases the temperature of the earth’s core and brings about gross climatic change that the world can never recover from. In the direct-to-video 2012: Supernova (2009) a star gone supernova threatens the earth’s survival. John Cusack is nowhere to be seen. Instead you have to rely on Brian Krause to save you. A man you may know from such TV movies as Devil’s Diary (2007), Next Stop Murder (2010) and Beyond Loch Ness (2008). Comforting? I think not.

Worse than all this, however, worse than disabled terrorists, icebergs, zombies, solar flares and Jason Statham is the possibility of living out the events of The Butterfly Effect (2004). AKA Your life is in the hands of the man who starred in Dude Where’s My Car? (2000); a dystopian vision like no other. In The Butterfly Effect Ashton Kutcher has the weird-boy ability to read his childhood diaries and travel back in time. Whilst he’s there he tinkers with one or two things in an attempt to make the future better but just as Marty McFly learnt nearly two decades earlier changing one little thing can often have serious implications.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this possibility is that there’s no certain way of knowing that this hasn’t already happened in reality. Just look at the state of the world in 2012, does it look like it’s controlled by someone who knows what they’re doing? There may be an alternate 2012, for example, where the world economy is not shot, where the X Factor doesn’t exist. A reality in which a film about Margaret Thatcher is not one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. Oh I know it sounds like idealistic clap-trap but I’m telling you now, if I so much as see two black cats in a row , I’ll be putting some pretty serious questions to a certain Mr A. Kutcher.

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