Our Mayan ancestors hand-delivered Roland Emmerich a wonderful marketing and commercial tool on a silver platter: an apocalypse of epic proportions. And in 2012, he delivers the visual goods. The mayhem is without a doubt stunning while tipping its hat at disaster films like Titanic or The Poseidon Adventure. Irwin Allen would have been proud.
But, man, this is OUR apocalypse. We deserved much more than a news report of a Mayan community committing mass suicide at the beginning of the film and another showing Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue falling over hundreds of people. Roland, dude, where’s the love?
I do understand how, in this politically correct time, Emmerich had to cut out of the film a whole disaster sequence that could have offended Muslims worldwide. But us Latinos? If New Yorkers didn’t mind Godzilla trampling up and down Manhattan or alien invaders turning their most precious buildings into toothpicks, we most certainly don’t mind seeing Machu Picchu or Mexico City receiving the same blockbusting treatment. Our time has come. So, bring it on. We love to see things do the explod-o.
I can understand why Latinos of all nationalities were conspicuously absent in Emmerich’s Independence Day. After all, our continent has always been a safe, not to say friendly, harbor to visitors from other planets. We are the land of the garadiabolos (a legendary fishlike creature found in Puerto Rico during the height of that island’s UFO-mania in the 70s) and the chupacabras. David Twohy acknowledged as much when he turned Mexico into the base of operations for our extraterrestrial friends in 1996’s The Arrival.
I thought our time had arrived with 2012. Think about it for a second. Our continent is a natural for disaster films. Remember the 1985 Mexico City earthquake? It’s begging for a major cinematic reenactment. And the hurricanes that have turned most parts of the Caribbean and Central America into giant swimming pools could give the tornadoes of Twister a run for their money. And let us not forget volcanoes as magnificent as Mexico’s Popocatepetl, who are eagerly awaiting their close-up. What do you say, Roland? Maybe for your next film?
I can understand the absence of Latino faces in the disaster films of the 70s. After all, we were merely a blip on Hollywood’s radar back then. But in the nineties and beyond, considering our purchasing power and that we are the fastest growing filmgoing audience in the country…weren’t John Leguizamo, Salma Hayek or even Eva Mendes available for 2012? The very least producers of mega blockbusters like this one could do is have one of our cities blown to smithereens.
Alejandro Riera is the editor in chief for Cafe Media, a multi-platform media company aimed at delivery content for acculturated Latinos and was the former entertainment editor for Hoy newspapers, Tribune Company's Spanish-language daily.
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