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2012 (2009) Poster

(I) (2009)

Goofs

Revealing mistakes 

In at least one of the flooded compartments at the end there are stairs in the background leading to a small balcony above the water line. Yet the various characters insist on standing in the cold water.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

The light twin plane's engine sounds like a piston engine, but when shut down, it spins slowly to a stop. A piston engine would stop quickly, much like a car engine.
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When the Tibetan village is evacuated in the beginning of the movie, the ridge for the arks is shown. A massive explosion from the ridge is simultaneously seen and heard in the village. Because of the distance, the explosion should be seen first, then heard a few seconds later; light travels faster than sound.
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Phones go dead a few times due to the communications network being destroyed. When the line cuts, the phone makes a rapid high pitched beep, typical of a land-line phone left off the hook for a while. Cell phones don't make that sound, they just go silent.
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Character error 

The scientific paper on crustal shifting is said to have been published in 1958, and Albert Einstein agreed with it. Einstein died in 1955.
When the Antonov is departing from Las Vegas, the tower calls on the radio: "Tower to Antonov." Standard radio format is "[You] this is [me]." Also, if the radio is on the tower frequency, there's no reason for the tower to say who's calling.
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In the Antonov plane, Jackson scans FM frequencies on the Bentley's radio. FM frequencies are relatively short-range, and can't be heard at all when flying over open ocean. Jackson may not realize that.
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At the G8 summit, the U.S. president enters the conference room and asks to be left alone with the other heads of state. The Russian president whispers to his interpreter to stay put ("Ti ostajes") in Serbo-Croatian, not Russian. When the U.S. president asks again, the Russian interpreter can be heard in the background, translating in Russian. The Russian president tells his interpreter he is free to go ("Mozes ici") in Serbo-Croatian, not Russian.
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During several conversations characters refer to "heads of state". Although every country has a de facto head[s] of state, they are generally not sent to summits or engaged in diplomatic exchanges as they are "figureheads". Instead almost all countries would send their heads of government who actually exercise executive power; such as a prime minister (in countries with parliaments) or a chancellor (in German-speaking countries). The US and France are two countries who send their presidents.

For example during the G8 summit closed session, only the American and French presidents are heads of state. All others would be prime ministers/chancellor (for Germany). Similarly, the Italian prime minister would be the comparable Italian figure who chose to stay behind with his people not the president.
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When descending into the copper mine in India, Satnam tells Adrian that the mine is over 11,000 ft. deep. Scientists worldwide, including those from the United States, have formally adopted the Metric System, so he should have used meters instead of feet.
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When Jackson shows his driver's license in Yellowstone Park, his name appears on the card as "Jackson, Curtis." It should be either "Curtis, Jackson" (Last name, First name) or be written without the comma.
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Continuity 

When Curtis is driving back to the light aircraft in the RV as he puts his foot to the floor he is wearing Nike Shox trainers in black. However, when he gets out of the RV he is wearing other black shoes.
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The Antonov that takes off at the Las Vegas airport is clearly a 124 model, with its two engines on either side and its normal tail. When they are in the air it is an Antonov 225, which has three engines on either side, and a double tail made to carry the Russian Mryia space shuttle.
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When Laura Wilson is sitting in her cabin in Air Force One talking to Adrian Helmsley, she is clutching a blanket. In the next shot, the blanket is also covering her leg.
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When Jackson Curtis' children call him to the tent, he places his laptop in the folding chair in front of him and moves to the tent. In the next shot, the laptop is on top of the ice chest. It moves back to the chair for the following shot.
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When Jackson and his kids arrive at the lake in Yellowstone, Lilly is on Noah's left. In the next shot, Lilly is on Noah's right.
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When the Antonov is in flight, Jackson hands out life-jackets to the children, which they put on. When the plane hits a mountain, in the next shot, none of them are wearing the life-jackets.
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Errors in geography 

The time lines in the movie imply that Yellowstone and Los Angeles are a few hours from each other. Yellowstone is 1,000 miles from Los Angeles; a one-way trip by car would take at least 2 days.
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When Charlie is broadcasting in Yellowstone, he says he is at the top of Mount Bighorn. He also passes the wooden sign that says "Mount Bighorn - Elevation 2500 feet". Not only is Mount Bighorn completely fictitious, the lowest elevation in Yellowstone is 5,314 feet.
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When the camera pans to Caesar's Palace on boxing night, the Bellagio is to the south. When the camera pans to the south of Las Vegas Strip, showing the destruction of Vegas, the building to the south becomes Paris Las Vegas.
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When the cruise ship Genesis surges against the pier, the Golden Gate bridge is shown where the San Francisco Bay Bridge should be.
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When Curtis looks at the map of Yellowstone on his laptop, Yellowstone Lake takes up about half the park. In real life, it's a small feature in the park's southeastern quadrant.
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The tsunami carrying the JFK as it destroys the White House is shown approaching from the left of the White House, as seen from the South Lawn. The Atlantic Ocean is east of the White House, not west, so it should be approaching from the right.
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The Sistine Chapel has 9 pictures displayed horizontally. In the movie, the "Creation of Adam" is immediately after "God separating day from night." In reality, there are 2 pictures between them.
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After the Tibetan family rescues the other family, all of the signs are in Traditional Chinese characters. Tibet is part of the PRC, and Mandarin is not a native language in Tibet, so all signs would be written with Simplified Characters.
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Factual errors 

Caldera eruptions do not occur as a single, massive explosion as depicted; they occur as a series of eruptions along a circular series of fissures.
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Seismic cracks appear suddenly, with no consideration of roads or buildings.
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At the G8 summit, the U.S. president enters the conference room and asks to be left alone with the other heads of state. A few moments later, an interpreter turns a button on her console to switch it off, puts down her headset, and leaves. The console is a genuine, contemporary piece of equipment, actually used by interpreters in 2010, but there's no need to switch it off (it's actually impossible). The knob is for selecting the language channels.
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The film is about the apocalypse predicted on the Mayan calendar. In one of the first trailers/previews, the calendar moving and forming into position at the beginning is Aztec, not Mayan.
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After John Cusack's character returns to LA after his trip to Yellowstone, he picks up Woody Harrelson's pirate radio station, 1,000 miles away. While some high-powered 50,000 watt AM stations skip their signals off of the ionosphere and reach listeners 1,000 miles away, it would be impossible for a personal radio transmitter to reach that far. Given the instruction to 'download my blog', it was more likely, even with today's tech, that the broadcast was being streamed on internet radio site. It is far less clear how it was picked up on car radio in 2012 with normal AM/FM tuning.
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The ash cloud eruption at Yellowstone Park is big enough to put the entire world in nuclear winter for years. However, a month after the eruption the sky is already clear.
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The credits list 'Queen Elizabeth' as a character, which we assume was the woman who brought her corgi dogs onto the ship. The current reigning British monarch is Queen Elizabeth II.
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In the many shots of the light twin aircraft, the ailerons are fully deflected during turns, but the aircraft's bank angle remains the same. When ailerons are deflected, the bank angle will continue to increase, eventually rolling the aircraft upside-down.
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When Jackson Curtis drives back in the RV, the radio is tuned to AM 745. In the U.S., A.M. frequencies are divisible by 10. He should be listening to AM 740 or 750.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The Antonov AN-225's flight range is 15,400 kilometers, more than enough to reach China from Las Vegas. Considering the panic on the ground, the plane may not have been fully fueled when it left.
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The events are scheduled for December 2012, but someone explains that they're occurring much earlier. Therefore, the Summer Olympics in London could be happening.
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The latest Antonov model is the 225. The only completed AN-225 does not have a rear access door, but an uncompleted 225 airframe was built with this feature. Yuri Karpov may be rich enough to buy, finish, and re-designate the abandoned aircraft. Alternatively, it may be meant as an aircraft of "the future".
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When Jackson is camping with the kids, Kate calls and tells him to bring them home early. He does, then says he is late for work. Jackson had at least one more night of vacation planned, but he could've spoken to Yuri during the drive back and said he could come to work.
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When the camera pans to Caesar's Palace before the boxing match, you can see for a small moment the Las Vegas Strip and the Caesar's Palace marquee showing Bette Midler's "The Showgirl Must Go On" poster. While Midler's last show was slated for January 2010, it is entirely possible that in the movie's world, Midler's show had a second run in 2012.
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Charlie tells Jackson to "download his blog", but the small red X over the monitor icon (near the clock) clearly shows that the computer is not online. If the computer is setup to allow VPN connections, the red X means no users connected (via VPN) to the machine. Furthermore, Charlie's blog is probably stored locally on his laptop.
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Yuri says the Antonov "An-500" aircraft is Russian. The Antonov is actually a Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer. Most people born before the fall of the Soviet Union refer to the entire former Soviet Union as Russia.
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Yellowstone is normally freezing at night. However the military is there because it is a new "global hot spot", meaning the temperature is far above normal.
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"Mutating neutrinos" are changing or changed neutrinos. Mutation, from the Greek 'Mutatis', simply means 'change.' The dialogue in the film indicates that the neutrinos have changed to a different type of nuclear particle, so the term 'mutating' is correct.
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An old portable TV (with rotary dial tuner) has a distorted picture on screen, as if it's been watched recently. The June 2009 Digital Television switchover should have rendered it useless without a ATSC converter. While full-power NTSC broadcasts in America ended in June 2009, the TV could be tuned to a low-power regional, religious, or foreign-language station, which were still broadcasting in November 2010. It would also explain the poor reception.
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Plot holes 

Jackson removes the strap holding the Bentley's front tire in place, but he never removes the strap from the back tire. It's still in place when Gordon gets in the car. How were they able to leave?
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An officer says that all communications from Earth have stopped. Later, Dr. Satnam Tsurutani is able to call Dr. Helmsley to tell him about the tsunami.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Curtis is racing to get his family out of their neighborhood and the limo flies into the air, the wheels aren't moving.
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When Curtis drives the Bentley out of the Antonov's cargo hold, he fights to retain control of the vehicle and bring it to a stop. He should be able to see the Antonov and the other driverless cars move away from him in the same direction. Instead, they move away from the plane toward him.
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When Jackson returns to the Yellowstone airstrip in the burning camper, the transmission is clearly in park.
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When the Cessna leaves the cloud, a moment later, it should be pushing air downward in order to achieve lift. However, it leaves the dust cloud completely undisturbed behind it.
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The director of the Louvre drives a Citroen DS, but the views inside the car show a different model. The rear-view mirror is located at the top of the windshield; a DS would have it near the dashboard.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Character error 

When the wave first strikes the ark, a tech on the bridge reports "collision pressure just below 80 Pascals, Captain". Air pressure at sea level is 101,325 Pascals, and during the day can vary 50-100 Pascals. Water pressure increases 101,325 Pascals for every 32 feet of depth. With water and air pressure alone, pressure on the ark would be closer to a 1 million Pascals. If he meant 80 kiloPascals (1kPa=1,000 Pascals), it would still be a relatively low pressure change.
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Continuity 

When the scientist tells the captain to open the bay door, the clock says 14:39 until impact. In the next shot, when the captain responds, the clock says 14:42 until impact.
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Continuity 

When Adrian Helmsley talks about the people dying outside of the arks, and Carl Anhauser interrupts, the time on the clock says 6 minutes 10 seconds to impact. In the next shot, the clock says 15 minutes 52 seconds.
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Continuity 

When Jackson is in the hydraulic chamber, trying to get the door closed, Helmsley gets a video feed, and reports to the captain "We have a visual, I think we found the problem." Prof. West then shouts "Show us the Hydraulic Chamber". The video screen shows Ark 006 (in the upper left corner); however they are on Ark 004. Then next time we see that screen, it says Ark 004.
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Continuity 

When the Arabian sheik reads a contract on the laptop (obviously the contract enabling him to board an Ark), the screen shows the sum of 1,000,000,000 with Arabic characters all around. In the next scene, when the characters are reflected in the sheik's glasses, the number 13-10 is clearly visible right above the 1,000,000,000 as the text scrolls down.
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Continuity 

The supervisor holds Yuri Karpov and other Green Boarding Pass holders. Karpov hits the supervisor out of the way, then runs to the departing Ark. In the next scene, when Adrian Helmsley and Carl Anheuser argue about letting Yuri Karpov and other Green Boarding Pass holders on the Ark, the supervisor is behind Laura Wilson, watching the argument.
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Errors in geography 

CNN shows the destruction of Rio de Janeiro, and earthquakes ravaging South America, immediately after it shows Mexico City being devastated by quakes. Mexico City is in North America, not South America.
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Errors in geography 

If Africa has risen "several thousand feet" and the roof of the world is in Africa's southern mountains, the south coast of Africa and the Cape of Good Hope would look nothing like they do now.
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Factual errors 

Chinese helicopters airlift a rhinoceros and a giraffe (among others) to the tunnels where the Arks are located. They fly over the Himalayas, in weather cold enough for a thick layer of snow to remain unfrozen on the ground. Between the extremely high altitude, the temperature, and the frigid wind blowing past them in flight, the African animals would die of either hypothermia or oxygen deprivation.
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Factual errors 

After Ark #4 collides with the mountain, the captain orders "hard to port", but the helmsman pushes the port side engine control full ahead. In a twin screw vessel, "hard to port" means pushing the starboard engine full ahead while idling or backing the port engine.
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Factual errors 

The Arks are high in the Himalayas, (up near 8000 meters, too high for all but specialist helicopters), certainly too high for a helicopter carrying 2 tons of (frozen) rhinoceros. It has been suggested that height above sea level should be considered, and the helicopters would be able to operate. However, the concerning factor is altitude above *average* sea level. The massive waves would leave massive troughs behind them. Even with lava and coastal collapse, it would still be too high for helicopters.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Giraffes make sounds during the ark scenes. It's a myth that giraffes do not have vocal chords. They can make soft bleating sounds, like sheep or goats, but they usually rely on body language to communicate.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The Antonov crashes because of engine failure due to thick dust in the air, not because of empty fuel tanks. When it finally hits the ground after falling of the cliff, a large amount of fuel could be left in the tanks.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The White House Chief of Staff would normally never be in a position to succeed to the office of President of the United States. There is always a designated survivor amongst the line of succession to maintain continuity of government. However, the Vice President is dead and the House Speaker is missing. Considering the amount of confusion, we must assume that no cabinet members were able to board Air Force One before it left Washington. Otherwise, he wouldn't have appointed himself Acting President.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

After Curtis fixes the hydraulics, a cut is on Anheuser's lip. In a deleted scene, Anheuser insults Laura Wilson, and Helmsey punches him.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The Cape of Good Hope is actually hundreds of miles from Kwa-Zulu Natal. The cataclysms could have changed that.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When Ark #4 almost collides with the north face of Mount Everest, the mountain is a massive pointy pyramid with pretty steep slopes on the uneven ridges, jagged pinnacles, and colors strewn across most of the mountainside. In real life, the northeast ridge forms a massive wall, with a large amount of snow covering its north face. However, seismic activity severe enough to make southern Africa "the roof of the world" could certainly change the shape of Mt. Everest.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

When the USS John F. Kennedy is washed towards the White House, multiple aircraft are on the deck, then washed overboard. During storms all aircraft are stored on the hanger deck. If they are close enough to land to leave the carrier, they would do so. However, most aircraft carriers have more aircraft than can be stored in the hanger. If it wasn't possible for all of the aircraft to be sent ashore, some would remain tied down on deck.
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Plot holes 

The Genesis Ark is set adrift when a floating Air Force One damages one of its docking clamps. If the clamp was designed to withstand the impact of several billion metric tons of water, it should've survived the comparatively small impact of a plane.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Jackson and Gordon are in the back of the truck, driving to the arks very fast, their hair doesn't move.
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Revealing mistakes 

When the ark containing the main characters is being tumbled on at least 2 axes, the water level in the semi-flooded rooms remains stable, as if the ark were over calm waters.
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Revealing mistakes 

Just before Gordon and the Chinese man fall, the safety wires supporting them are clearly visible.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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