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2012 (2009) - Plot Summary Poster

(I) (2009)

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Summaries

  • A frustrated writer struggles to keep his family alive when a series of global catastrophes threatens to annihilate mankind.

  • Dr. Adrian Helmsley, part of a worldwide geophysical team investigating the effect on the earth of radiation from unprecedented solar storms, learns that the earth's core is heating up. He warns U.S. President Thomas Wilson that the crust of the earth is becoming unstable and that without proper preparations for saving a fraction of the world's population, the entire race is doomed. Meanwhile, writer Jackson Curtis stumbles on the same information. While the world's leaders race to build "arks" to escape the impending cataclysm, Curtis struggles to find a way to save his family. Meanwhile, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes of unprecedented strength wreak havoc around the world.

  • Only a few years after the American geologist Adrian Helmsley's warnings of an impending global Armageddon by the year 2012, the Earth is devastated from end to end by cataclysmic natural disasters. As the President of the U.S. along with other leaders of the G8 Nations complete their secret project in Tibet to build colossal arks to sustain humanity, at the same time, the struggling Los Angeles author, Jackson Curtis, goes through hell and back to reunite with his ex-wife and their two kids. Inevitably, the unfathomable catastrophes are rapidly escalating, while Jackson strives to give his family a future in Tibet, however, can he make it in time?

  • Geophysicist Adrian Helmsley officially visits India's Dr. Satnam Tsurutani, his pretty wife, Aparna, and their son. From thence, he is led to the world's deepest copper mine, where he finds evidence that the Earth's crust is heating up faster than expected. He quickly collects evidence, and presents it before the President of the United States. Expecting the news to hit leading media, he is instead stunned when he learns that the powers-that-be have no intention of publicizing this catastrophe, and are intent on saving wealthy families that can shell out a billion Euros per family on four mammoth arks - without realizing that if the Earth is indeed headed for the prophetic self-destruction on 21 December 2012 - how can arks and it's wealthy inhabitants survive?

  • Several years before, geologist Adrian Helmsley comes across information that shows the world will come to an end in 2012. No announcement is made but the G8 countries begin to prepare for the event. Jack Curtis is a divorced and a less than successful writer. While on a camping trip with his children in Yosemite, he meets Charlie Frost, who is preaching that the end of the world is at hand. A series of events leads Curtis to believe what Frost has told him and with his family, heads for China where the industrialized countries have been working on a response to the impending disaster.

  • When the geologist Dr. Adrian Helmsley and his team discover that the core of Earth is heating due to solar radiation, he advises the North American President about his findings. The American Govern collects money from the worldwide leaders to build arks to save them with necessary people to rebuild civilization. Meanwhile, the unsuccessful writer Jackson Curtis discloses that the world is near to end and tries to save his son and his daughter from the tragic end.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • 2009, Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an American geologist, visits astrophysicist Dr. Satnam Tsurutani (Jimi Mistry) in India and learns that neutrinos from a massive solar flare are causing the temperature of the Earth's core to increase rapidly. Adrian travels to Washington DC and gives a report on the findings to White House Chief of Staff Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt) who takes Adrian to meet the President of the United States. In 2010, President Thomas Wilson (Danny Glover) and other international leaders begin a secret project to ensure humanity's survival. Approximately 400,000 people are chosen to board ships that are being constructed at Cho Ming, Tibet, in the Himalayas. At the same time as the People's Liberation Army are gathering volunteers, a Buddhist monk named Nima (Osric Chau) is evacuated while his brother Tenzin (Chin Han) joins the workers in the ship project. Additional funding for the project is raised by selling tickets to the private sector for one billion euros per person. By 2011, humanity's valuable treasures are moved to the Himalayas under the guise of protecting them from terrorist attacks with the help of art expert and First Daughter Dr. Laura Wilson (Thandie Newton). One of the artworks is the Mona Lisa, which is replaced in the Louvre with a precise copy. Her boss, Roland Picard (Patrick Bauchau) is later killed when his car is forced into a fatal auto accident in the same Paris underpass where Princess Diana was killed. Picard had discovered that the cave containing the vault where the Mona Lisa & other precious works of art were supposed to be stored was a fake location.

    In 2012, Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is a science fiction writer in Los Angeles who works part-time as a limousine driver for the Russian oligarch billionaire, Yuri Karpov (Zlatko Buri). Jackson's ex-wife, Kate (Amanda Peet) and their children Noah (Liam James) and Lilly (Morgan Lily) live with Kate's boyfriend, plastic surgeon Gordon Silberman (Thomas McCarthy). Jackson takes Noah and Lilly camping in Yellowstone National Park. After an encounter at a restricted government research site with Helmsley, they meet Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), who hosts a radio show from the park. Charlie, a conspiracy theorist, plays a video of Charles Hapgood's theory that polar shifts and the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar predict that the 2012 phenomenon will occur. Hapgood believed that unstable conditions under the crust of the Earth would cause it to shift -- Earth crust displacement. Charlie has a map of the ark project in addition to conspiracy-theory information about officials and scientists from around the world who were murdered after planning to alert the public. One such scientist was a fan of Charlie's & had sent him the map before his untimely death. The family returns home as seismic activity vastly increases along the west coast of the United States. After dropping off Karpov's bratty sons at the airport, Jackson grows suspicious and rents a plane to rescue his family. He collects his family and Gordon as the Earth crust displacement begins, and they narrowly escape Los Angeles as the city slips into the Pacific Ocean, racked by a massive earthquake that destroys all of downtown. As millions die in catastrophic earthquakes worldwide, the group, with Gordon piloting the small plane, flies to Yellowstone to retrieve Charlie's map, escaping as the Yellowstone Caldera erupts. Charlie stays behind to broadcast the eruption and is killed in the blast of the expulsion of an ash cloud. Learning that the ships are in China, the group lands in a devastated Las Vegas to find a larger plane.

    They meet Yuri, his twin sons Alec and Oleg (played by Alexandre and Philippe Haussmann), girlfriend Tamara (Beatrice Rosen) and pilot Sasha (Johann Urb). The group secures an Antonov An-225 aircraft (erroneously and perhaps deliberately marked an "Antonov 500") and they depart for China. Also heading for the Cho Ming site aboard Air Force One are Anheuser, Helmsley and Laura Wilson. Upon arriving in Tibet, they find that the ships are not ships destined to take the survivors off Earth but are giant seagoing ships, large arks that can hold thousands of people. Helmsley finds that the cabins are actually quite luxurious and only meant for 1-2 people, a fact he criticizes when he tells his porter the room could hold about 10 people. Anheuser explains that the high price of a room was necessary to fund the project since the governments of the world couldn't possibly have hidden the cost for very long.

    President Wilson remains in Washington, D.C. to address the nation one last time. With the Vice President dead and the Speaker of the House missing, Anheuser assumes de facto leadership. Washington is hit by the pyroclastic ejecta cloud from Yellowstone, which covers the city in a choking cloud of thick ash. Struggling with others in the devastation, President Wilson is killed by a megatsunami which carries the aircraft carrier John F Kennedy into the White House, crushing it.

    Sasha and the group plan to land briefly at Hawaii to refuel, however, the island chain has been devastated by volcanic activity. Continuing on, Sasha fears they may run out of fuel before making it to mainland Asia. They discover that the seismic activity of the Earth's surface has shifted the Chinese coast 1500 miles east and they are able to make a crash landing, narrowly escaping death by driving a Bentley out of the plane before it skids to a stop on a glacier. The plane overbalances on the edge of a cliff and plummets, taking Sasha with it. The group is spotted by the People's Liberation Army. Yuri and his sons, possessing tickets, are taken to the arks, Yuri coldly leaving Tamara (whose affair with Sasha was something he knew of) and the others behind.

    They remaining survivors are picked up by Nima and are taken to the arks with his grandparents (Lisa Lu and Chang Tseng). They stow away on the ark with the help of Tenzin, who had a plan to smuggle his family aboard through a rear entrance. As a megatsunami approaches the site, an impact driver becomes lodged between the gears of the ark's hydraulics chamber, preventing a boarding gate from closing and rendering the ship unable to start its engines. In the ensuing chaos, Yuri, Gordon and Tamara are killed, Tenzin is wounded, and the ark is set adrift. Just before he dies, Yuri is able hoist both his sons up to crew members of the ship; in doing so, he jumps to his death. Jackson and Noah dislodge the impact driver and the crew regains control of the ark before it can impact Mount Everest. After flood waters from the tsunamis recede, the arks travel to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa where the Drakensberg Mountains have risen in relation to sea level and become the tallest mountain range on Earth.

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