London newspaper The Guardian has criticised the viral marketing tactics of director Roland Emmerich’s latest film 2012 as “deeply flawed” and associated it with “websites that make even more spurious claims about 2012.”
The film, starring John Cusack, Danny Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt and Woody Harrelson, was released worldwide this month breaking Hollywood collection records even in India. Exactly a year ago, the studio had released the first teaser trailer showing a megatsunami surging over the Himalayas. A purportedly scientific message was interlaced in it, suggesting that the world would end in 2012, and that the world's governments were not preparing its population for the event. The trailer ended with a message to viewers to "find out the truth" by searching "2012" on search engines.
The studio also launched a viral marketing website operated by the fictional Institute for Human Continuity, where filmgoers could register for a lottery number to be part of a small population that would be rescued from the global destruction. The fictitious website lists the Nibiru collision, a galactic alignment, and increased solar activity among its possible doomsday scenarios.
David Morrison of NASA says he received over 1,000 inquiries from people who thought the website was genuine. “I've even had cases of teenagers writing to me saying they are contemplating suicide because they don't want to see the world end. I think when you lie on the Internet and scare children in order to make a buck, that is ethically wrong,” Morrison said.
There is a glut of non-fiction titles in the market on the 2012 phenomenon. Besides the new movie 2012, a number of films deal with the subject. A brief filmography would run thus: I Am Legend (2007); 2012: Doomsday (2008) a B-Movie by The Asylum; Death Race (2008) refers to collapse of US economy; In I Spit on Your Rave, a virus which causes a zombie apocalypse is released during the 2012 Summer Olympics; Diarreoal Legend (2009); 21/12 Doomsday (2010).
More television dramas and documentaries are expected. Meanwhile, these are already on air:
Doctor Who: “Dalek,” 2005: A Dalek breaks loose under the Utah salt plains, and plans to kill every living thing on Earth. “Fear Her,” 2006: The episode is set during the lead-up to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Futurama: “Xmas Story,” 1999: The War of 2012 occurs, during which talk-show host Conan O'Brien lost his “freakishly long legs.” “Jurassic Bark,” 2002; Philip J. Fry's dog Seymour dies in this year.
Joe 90 is a 1968 television series devised by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson set in the years 2012-13.
The X-Files: “The Truth,” 2002: On December 22, Aliens begin colonization of Earth.
In the anime version of Death Note, the SPK organisation is formed (in the manga, this occurs in 2009) following Near's meeting with the President of the United States.
Rahxephon: The Mu attack on Tokyo trigger a series of events leading to the “tuning of the world.”