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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

DVDs to give: ‘2012: Science or Superstition,’ ‘Nostradamus 2012,’ ‘Doomsday 2012’


There are always way too many DVDs coming in than I possibly ever review, but since ’tis the season to be giving, I thought it was worth pointing out some of them to you, in case you’re stuck for gift ideas for the people on your list. (Or even to give as gifts to yourself. My own Christmas shopping does tend to drift into “one for you, one for me” if I don’t consciously tamp down that impluse.)

The turn of the calendar and Roland Emmerich’s latest destructo-porn has revved up interest in the notion that the Mayans supposedly predicted the end of the world, and that it’s barreling right at us. Where will you be on December 21, 2012? Probably running around doing your last-minute holiday shopping, just like on most December 21s. But the Mayan calendar ends on that day, and some has chosen to interpret this as a portent of doom. Of course, the Judeo-Christian calendar ends every December 31st, and, well, depending on how much partying you do that night, the next morning could certainly feel apocalyptic.

If you want to heap some extra anxiety onto someone who really does believe in the imminent end of the world, this collection could be good for that. It also works well as a gift for someone who (like me) was totally fascinated by crap like In Search Of… and Chariots of the Gods as a kid and never quite got out from under its sway, even as a rational adult.

In 2012: Science or Superstition, from the nice folks at Disinformation, a slew of folks both slightly wacky and seriously scientific — Graham Hancock, John Major Jenkins, Daniel Pinchbeck, Alberto Villoldo, Anthony Aveni, Robert Bauval, Jim Marrs, Walter Cruttenden, Lawrence E. Joseph, Douglas Rushkoff, John Anthony West and Benito Vegas Duran — discuss what this date means to them, why it’s important, and what we should expect, and debate whether it all means the end of everything or merely a rebirth of consciousness. (I bet no one says, Let’s just have a big party and watch the Mayan calendar roll over and start again.)

You can’t have an apocalypse without Nostradamus — that dude preemtively crashed every doomsday — and so of course there’s Nostradamus 2012, from the History Channel, which explores how the sneaky bastard’s obtuse quatrains probably totally reveal that we’re all dead, and not just in the long run. Are we in for a massive cosmic collision, a global environmental disaster, or an Armageddon-like religious showdown? Yes! Or maybe not. But be terrified anyway!

Doomsday 2012 is also from the History Channel — they keep using that word history; I don’t think it means what they think it means — so they couldn’t use Nostradamus again. Instead, we discover here that everything from the I Ching to a computer program designed to make predictions about the future is all pointing to catastrophe in 2012. Oh noes! For extra bonus terror, this DVD also includes the documentary Mayan Doomsday Prophecy, in case you hadn’t already caught on to the indisputable, incontrovertible fact that we’re doomed.

2012: Science or Superstition
[buy at Amazon (Region 1)] [buy at Amazon (Region 2)]

Nostradamus 2012
[buy at Amazon (Region 1)]

Doomsday 2012
[buy at Amazon (Region 1)]

Nostradamus 2012 and Doomsday 2012 in one set
[buy at Amazon (Region 2)]

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