Human Beings of Corn

Documentary Review: 2012: Time for Change (2010)
Spoilers: NA


While anything with “2012” in the title stands to get plenty of attention and boost sales in today's market, here lies a documentary that will tell you more about 2012 than you might have cared to ask. 

Daniel Pinchbeck, journalist and author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, brings us 2012: Time for Change, a full-featured documentary on a plethora of subjects, including forest health, toxins, rising greenhouse gases, human rights, industrialized farming, national debt, permaculture, meditation, prayer, yoga, psychic phenomenon, and psychedelic drugs/experiences.

Stemming from an existential crisis that began in his twenties, Pinchbeck set out to find the root causes of today's multifaceted global problems, which he now dubs to be from “a crisis of conscience.” After an opening segment from the Popol Vuh (Mayan) creation myth, the question is posed: Will our children turn on lamps without thinking about what powers them as we do?

The by now well-publicized end of the Mayan calendar in December of 2012 is a subject addressed and re-addressed throughout. The end of the Mayan calendar marks the end of a 5,000-year cycle, which we are told will mark the time of a great awakening of respect for our planet and an interwoven relationship with the natural world and the cosmos. Such is the conclusion of the experts interviewed.

Connections are made to the Mayan downfall (exceeding land capacity, warfare increases, cutting down trees, etc.) with connections made to the present state of affairs. But unlike much hoopla hitting the shelves from some very well-known psychics and gurus, 2012: Time for Change does not inanely run with washed-out hype about a supposed end of the world or rants about a random unleashing of chaos. It doesn't monopolize alarmism, but slows down the unproductive apocalyptic thinking to expound upon possible solutions to the wasteful and fallacious thinking that characterizes the YouTube generation.

Unlike Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, which focuses strictly on global warming, Time for Change provides enlightening insights into a whole host of subjects (mentioned above), including a heavy dabbling into New Age mysticism in the search for higher consciousness, as the film moves forward with a less conceited tone than that of Gore's work.

How do we as westerners approach the subject of time? One of the more fascinating gems of the work contrasts our linear thinking vs. a cyclical Mayan thought, wherein every conception of the universe is seen in a repetition of emerging and re-emerging patterns instead of our “straight line” conception with a beginning and an ending. Experts like Penny Livingstone discuss pollution of water systems to supply greater food demand and dependency on corporations. All because we fail to realize: “What we do to the earth, we do to ourselves.” “Water is the next oil.”

To be seen are rowdy Christmas sale department store entries by large masses of shoppers and corporate greed protested on busy city streets. Signs are held high with raised and dissatisfied voices to go with them. Capitalism soon comes under attack, but what is mainly attacked is the premise behind it; that whatever cannot be monetized is discounted in importance under commercialized capitalistic reasoning. To ward off impending financial doom, restructuring efforts are taken to give an extended lease on life to a system that rewards progress at the expense of an identifiable middle-class.

2012: Time for Change is about mankind learning to respect nature and realizing the long-term costly wrong in not doing so. Bible belief is likewise investigated in the look into 2012 doomsday beliefs. Belief in fundamentalist Christianity is rightly called out for the fact that the waiting for a savior, god, or a redeemer to return to earth and “fix” these overbearing problems only removes from us the obligation to make the necessary changes. Such dogmas empower no one to take responsibility for their actions.

Some highly questionable portions of the film deal with psychoactive plants and drugs and their roles in culture and religion throughout the centuries, as well as on their alleged effectiveness at treating addictions to substance abuse. Initiation rituals and other forms of “knowledge” supposedly not attainable through conventional logic are talked about in some of Pinchbeck's own shamanic journeys that enabled him to “connect with nature.”

Pinchbeck's work is 125 minutes of informative, engaging viewing with only one significant flaw, which happens to be that along the way are no counter-opinions. The program does not allow for dissenting voices. No debate was brought in, no opposing experts, no counter-points examined—the presence of which would have helped to better solidify some of the more radical leftist ideals, particularly where psychic phenomenon, economics, and psychedelic drugs are concerned. Where were the skeptics?

The work makes it clear that getting viewers active in harnessing solar energy and using engines that run on water vapor and constructing more energy-efficient housing is a much bigger priority than on subscribing to hipster liberal politics. Ellen Page (“Whip It!”, 2009), discusses permaculture and the how-to of building environmentally functional housing. Time for Change – as the name very clearly suggests – is about taking action! 

With testimonies by Sting and David Lynch, and a quotation from renowned theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, 2012: Time for Change is a distinguished representation of the New Age movement and the modern rise of an environmentally-aggressive league of mystics that will change the thinking of the next generation. The film should be considered mandatory viewing for anyone anxious to get involved in green efforts, or simply anyone who wants to learn more about the 2012 controversy.



Grade: A- (4 stars) Recommended!
Rated: No MPAA rating
Director: Joao G. Amorim
Summary: A documentary feature that presents ways to transform our unsustainable society into a regenerative planetary culture.
Starring: Maude Barlow "Herself," R. Buckminster Fuller "footage," Gilberto Gil "Himself," Barbara Marx Hubbard "Herself," Penny Livingstone "footage," David Lynch "footage," Ellen Page "Herself," Daniel Pinchbeck "Daniel Pinchbeck," Dean Radin "Himself," Sting "Himself," John Todd "Himself"
Genre: Docudrama / Educational / Documentary / Animation / News