Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Day The Earth Stood Still

I always liked the original so when I heard a remake was in progress I couldn't wait to see it with my son. Then I saw the trailer and became almost nauseous. See, in the original, an alien comes to Earth with an ultimatum that if we earthlings don't stop our wars and don't halt nuclear proliferation then his planet will destroy our planet because we'd become a threat to their existence.

Given the dire reality of the threat of nuclear war and the potential for the weaponization of space at the time, it was a compelling message. Plus Gort the robot was great as the precursor to the Cylons of the original Battlestar Galactica.

Today, the threat of nuclear annihilation is probably greater than in the 1950's and 1960's due to the sheer number of nuclear arms, the increasing number of countries that deploy them, the ready availability of nuclear material and the instability of the nuclear powers. But nukes don't get the press coverage anymore. No, the media thinks that the slow encroachment of global warming is a far more dangerous and alarming threat than the immediate destruction via global thermonuclear war.

In the remake, the alien Klaatu descends from the sky bearing a message that humanity must be eradicated for failing to properly care for the planet. This is just disgusting and a slap in the face to the writer Harry Bates. It's also ridiculous to equate the theoretical threat of global warming with the actual and ready threat of nuclear destruction. And just how would our wayward environmental ways be such a threat to another planet as to attract the attention of an alien race? Just ridiculous.

I downloaded the original from Netflix and watched it with my son so he could see how the story is supposed to be. Now if he ends up seeing the remake with his friends he'll understand why it's such a silly and uninspiring film.

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