Film ‘2012’ Explores a Phenomenon Predicted by Many Cultures

November 25, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

A scene from the global smash box office hit '2012.' The film supposes that doomsday on the winter solstice in the year 2012 predicted by the Mayans and Chinese prophesies comes true. (Columbia Tristar Marketing Group)
A scene from the global smash box office hit '2012.' The film supposes that doomsday on the winter solstice in the year 2012 predicted by the Mayans and Chinese prophesies comes true. (Columbia Tristar Marketing Group)
The Mayan calendar ends on 2012, and three years ahead of the game, director Roland Emmerich has landed his most epic depiction of the greatest disaster for humankind—that is, the one we’re not supposed to survive. It's the End of Days, and Emmerich gives himself the leeway to blow up Earth in as many ways as he can in getting this point across.

As expected, in 2012 extravagant graphics overpower the delivery of a good story. The film purposefully avoids focusing on historical prophecies, using the Mayan prediction only as a conceptual platform for visual spectacle. It is not a work of art, not historically fleshed out, but a formulaic picture meant to entertain.

2012 takes the formula and goes bigger and beyond—the cheesy script, promising cast, jaw dropping special effects—but what makes this film different from any other is the less than entertaining prophecy it addresses, which comes not only from the Mayans.

End of the World prophecies have popped up in remarkably similar fashions from different corners of the globe. From Noah and his Great Flood in the Hebrew tradition to similarities in the Sumerian story of Gilgamesh, to yet another world-burying deluge in the Hindu myth of Manu—it’s clear that the ancients found something deeply compelling about the idea that they were emerging from a recently drowned world, that could one day be submerged again.

Why do people focus on the Mayan calendar? Obsessed with timekeeping, numbers, and astrology, the Mayans were the earliest to arrive at the concept of zero, their calendar even more accurate than our own. Because of their extreme precision, people are keen to their predictions. On the winter solstice of 2012, the sun will align with the dark rift of the Milky Way …Only in the last five years have scientists discovered that there is indeed a black hole in the center of our galaxy.

As Woody Harrelson’s character babbles, the 2012 date is also found in China's old text The Book of Changes (I Ching), which was commonly used for personal fortune telling. Ethnobotanist and fractal time experts Terrence and Dennis McKenna discovered an eerie fractal pattern in their mathematical graphing within the combinations used to decipher prophecies.

Laying this pattern on top of a time scale, starting from the I Ching's creation in the Shang Dynasty, the highs and lows of the 64 hexagrams or six-line figures have accurately predicted the fall of the Roman Empire, discoveries of the New World, and falls of the current century. It all comes to a specific date—Dec. 21, 2012.

The I Ching from ancient China and the Mayan from ancient Mexico both imply this particular doomsday. Einstein affirmed Charles Hapgood’s theory of Earth crust displacement, that the Earth’s shifting crust will cause the north south poles to shift toward the equator. Recent research by geologists Adam Maloof and Galen Halverson proves that a polar shift has happened before, at least twice in the distant past.

Is this just a coincidence or are these prophetically accurate warnings?

No one wants to believe this is possible. Walking out of the theater, you probably felt drained by the repetition of catastrophic disorder, having crammed all of Doomsday in 2 1/2 hours.

Our fast-paced, tech-savvy modern society is also leaps away in mindset. Noah built the Ark because he had received a direct message from God—in 2012, science is what saves mankind in the end.

But one fact remains certain—if indeed the poles were to shift and worldwide havoc were to ensue, the sight of tsunamis ripping apart cities, earthquakes splitting through supermarkets, meteors spewing from volcanic eruptions, and massive floods … will not be entertaining at all. This is, after all, a story about humans trying to survive what simply cannot be survived.