2012: SCIENCE OR SUPERSTITION
Robert Sterling, Konformist.com
I remember as a kid in 1979 viewing the "documentary" The Late Great Planet Earth at the Century 21 Theater in San Jose, narrated by no less an esteemed individual as Orson Welles. (This, along with him doing the voice for Magnum P.I.'s Robin Masters and commercials for both Paul Masson wine and the Dark Tower board game, was my early exposure to the cinematic master.) Like the Star Wars Trilogy, a movie theater next to the Winchester Mystery House was the perfect place to see the film. Based on the best-seller by Christian fundamentalist Hal Lindsey, it was incredibly frightening, depressing and filled with doom, warning the audience they were facing Armageddon if they didn't listen to a God whose views were identical to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Okay, so it wasn't the most logically cohesive documentary ever made, but you had to give it credit: in an era of The Shining, The Omen and Suspiria, it held its own in its ability to scare the fuck out of viewers.
2012: Science or Superstition, by the Disinformation Company, lacks the guilty pleasure quality of The Late Great Planet Earth. 2012, after all, isn't a shameless dive in paranoia and apocalyptic fear that made Lindsey's doc such a fun trip. Instead, it is a thoughtful examination of the different views and opinions on what lays in store for Planet Earth on 12-21-2012, when the Maya calendar predicts the end of time.
That doesn't mean there isn't some scary shit in it. Much of the documentary focuses on a theory that argues our sun has an evil twin - a twin that's coming to Earth December 2012. When it hits, we'll have a disaster on our hands worthy of a Michael Bay blockbuster with bitchin' CGI special effects. (Of course, this proves God doesn't have perfect foresight after all: shouldn't he have realized the destruction of mankind is the ultimate summer popcorn flick?) Other theories pursued are a change in the planet's magnetic fields or solar blasts. Pretty cool stuff, indeed.
But in the end, 2012 is not a gloomy forecast of mass annihilation, but rather a pretty upbeat journey. It's not so much a Black Sabbath song as the B-52s "Love Shack" - the upside of the end of time. It's really an end of an age that is coming at this date, the documentary argues, and the endtime is more metaphorical for a transformation in humanity. (I'm sure the Obama cultists will use this as further proof on how "transcendental" Barky is.)
For fans of the cult TV show Disinfo Nation (and count me as one) the style will seem familiar, which is certainly a plus. This is not merely because Disinformation produced both, but because the dude who shot and cut Disinfo Nation, Nimrod Erez, is the director here. (Doing a Robert Rodriguez impersonation, he also did cinematography and film editing duties here.) It also includes an awesome cast of experts, including Robert Bauval (The Orion Mystery, The Egypt Code), Graham Hancock (Supernatural, Fingerprints of the Gods), Jim Marrs (Alien Agenda, Rule By Secrecy) and Douglas Rushkoff (Cyberia, Media Virus.) A pretty eclectic collection and 2012 definitely was a mind-expanding journey for this viewer. Apparently, I'm not alone, as 2012 hit number one on Apple iTunes documentary charts and the top ten on the New Releases list. Looks like there is a market for a smart documentary about apocalyptic visions after all. Swallow that, Hal Lindsey!
2012: SCIENCE OR SUPERSTITION
Street date: January 27, 2009
Sug. Retail Price: $19.95 (DVD) / $9.99 (iTunes)
Catalog #: DIS051
UPC #: 826262005191
Running Time: 78 mins. + extras