Roland Emmerich has optimistic view of telecom in 2012
Normally I don't review movies in this forum, but after watching 2012, I'm going to make an exception.


2012 is a science fiction film, released in theatres last week, about a catastrophic seismic event that shifts entire continents hundreds of kilometres, causes earthquakes in areas that were previously stable, volcanic eruptions in unexpected locations and, presumably, kills the vast majority of humans.


Of course this is science fiction, but there are two annoying aspects of the film.


One involves the resiliency of the telecommunications network. Towards the end of the film, when massive earthquakes have devastated major cities and tsunamis hundreds of metres high have swamped pretty well every area less than 15,000 feet below sea level, the two scientists who had discovered the hazard are still able to talk on their cell phones.


If you were in Ontario Aug. 14 2003 and tried to use your wireless device at about 8:00 p.m., you would probably have been unsuccessful. That's because four hours earlier, the Mohawk-Niagara power grid failed, leaving most of Ontario and several eastern U.S. states with no electricity.


If the wireless base stations and underlying infrastructure can’t survive a mid-summer overload in the power grid, they’re probably not going to do much better if a surge of neutrinos from the sun overheat the earth’s mantle and slide California into the Pacific Ocean, turn Yellowstone National Park into something resembling Mount St. Helens and send a 1,500-metre tsunami into the U.S. east coast.


In all fairness, it's clear producer Roland Emmerich, producer of Independence Day and The Patriot, was trying to make a horror/fantasy movie, and did a pretty good job.


What's interesting is if you check the Internet Movie Database on 2012, users have posted what they claim are “bloopers” in 2012, including the ability of a pilot to navigate an Antonov cargo jet amidst the disaster and a family’s escape from a volcano eruption in an executive jet.


By the way, the other annoying aspect of the film is the D.C. firefighter who salutes the U.S. president, as if he is inspecting her on parade, while she’s rushing to help a victim.


So if you decide to see 2012, turn off your cell phone, as a courtesy to fellow movie watchers. Rest assured there will be plenty of wireless calls, all the way through the film.


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