Win Passes To 2012, And See What Other Religious Buildings They Wimped Out On Destroying
Roland Emmerich, who never met a plot hole he couldn't fill with explosions and shitty dialogue, tells us there's one place we won't see bite the big one in his upcoming movie 2012:
[T]he 53-year-old director had wanted to demolish the Kaaba, the iconic cube-shaped structure in the Grand Mosque in Mecca that Muslims the world over turn towards every day when they pray and which they circle seven times during the hajj pilgrimage. But after some consideration, he decided it might not be such a smart idea, after all.
"I wanted to do that, I have to admit," Emmerich told scifiwire.com. "But my co-writer Harald [Kloser] said I will not have a fatwa on my head because of a movie. And he was right.
"We have to all, in the western world, think about this. You can actually let Christian symbols fall apart, but if you would do this with [an] Arab symbol, you would have ... a fatwa, and that sounds a little bit like what the state of this world is.
"So it's just something which I kind of didn't [think] was [an] important element, anyway, in the film, so I kind of left it out."
Well, which is it? I understand that living the Salman Rushdie lifestyle makes it difficult to hit on Melissa Rivers at red carpet events, so if you want to use the fatwa excuse that's certainly your right. But don't punk out at the end and try to make it sound like wiping out Mecca somehow wasn't integral to the plot.
For starters, and from what I can piece together from the understated trailer, the plot of 2012 is to show the destruction of the planet as loudly and with as many associated migraines as possible.
Second, the Ka'aba is, in fact, located on this planet. That's better narrative cohesion than why aliens in Independence Day used TCP/IP.
Emmerich's as good as his word when it comes to Christian architecture, and we know from the trailer that the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio and St. Peter's Basilica, at least, both bite the big one.
That got me wondering: would the director treat other faiths with similar carnage, or would he chicken out? I'm guessing the latter, and here are my picks for some religious sites that are probably safe from destruction in 2012.
NOTE: I haven't actually seen the movie, so if any of these places are actually destroyed, I can only conclude Emmerich read this blog and added the scenes to make me look bad.
5. What Is It: Stonehenge
Religious Significance: Unknown. Despite the fact that the earliest construction dates to 3000 BC, the place has become associated with Celtic Druidism, giving hippies an excuse to sneak out there at night and copulate on the Altar Stone.
Why Emmerich Didn't Blow It Up: Good question. It isn't like any druids are left to hunt him down. If there were, they would've gone after Chevy Chase for destroying the place in European Vacation. For that act alone, we can conclude Chase is a more adventurous filmmaker than Emmerich.
4. What Is It: Angkor Wat
Religious Significance: A) 12th-century Cambodian temple that has remained the site of Buddhist (formerly Hindu) worship for almost 800 years. B) Corpus Christi-based metal band I worshipped in college.
Why Emmerich Didn't Blow It Up: Not very sporting to murder a bunch of Buddhists, is it? Or were you talking about the band? Because they broke up in the early `90s and it would be almost impossible to get them together in one place at the same time.
3. What Is It: R'lyeh
Religious Significance: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
Why Emmerich Didn't Blow It Up: He couldn't find it. And even if he had: A) it's hard to show non-Euclidean architecture on screen without driving large numbers of your audience insane, and B) Cthulhu isn't governed by Mayan prophecy, you foolish insects.
2. What Is It: Gold Base, CA
Religious Significance: World headquarters of the Church of Scientology, which some people claim to be a religion.
Why Emmerich Didn't Blow It Up: It'd be easier to dodge fundamentalist Muslims for the rest of this life than to avoid running into a Scientologist in Los Angeles.
1. What Is It: The Salt Lake Temple
Religious Significance: Largest temple of the Mormon Church, which demonstrates love for all men by totally not funding anti-gay efforts in violation of its non-profit status.
Why Emmerich Didn't Blow It Up: It's more fun to wait until America elects its first openly gay President. The collective force of several thousand craniums exploding will weaken the structure sufficiently to induce total failure.
Win passes for two to the screening of 2012 on Tuesday, November 10. Be among the first 20 people to e-mail email@example.com with "2012 contest" in the header, and they're yours.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.