Feeling Sorry For Ourselves
by Alex Carnevale
God put self-pity by the side of despair like the cure by the side of the disease.
– Albert Camus
Squeezed into a running time that won’t abide character, feeling, or even plot, The Day The Earth Stood Still gets the most possible out of Jennifer Connelly’s green eyes. She’s always on her period, and she’s always telling Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) that human beings can reverse their destruction of the planet.
you couldn’t just insert my performance in Hulk into this movie?
Reeves stares back out of his human-shaped body at Connelly’s microbiologist and her black, curly-haired stepson. The boy’s father died a year after they were married, and left her the child. It takes an adopted minority to allow a white person to really feel sorry for herself. Don’t spend too much time thinking about how near Will Smith’s son fell from the family’s acting tree. Just pray he turns into Anthony Andersen and let us never speak of him again.
Momma, you said daddy’s job was hard!
Still the white mother and the black child whine about their lives as the entire planet is threatened. “We’ll just make him see,” Connelly grouses, as if she could hector a powerful alien like a husband. At one point during this adaptation the two cry over their lost figure that brought them together’s tidy military grave. Save us, they cry. And if you have time, save humanity.
villains of the cult
“Save the Planet” was a deceptive slogan, kind of like “Where’s the Beef?” (They knew where the beef was, didn’t they?) The planet’s just fine, if a little worse for the wear. It may be running out of some resources, but nothing time immemorial can’t replenish. It’s not the planet that’s in trouble – it’s us.
i really hope someone doesn’t remake this and make it even worse than it already is
Klaatu doesn’t agree. He’s the representative of a concern of civilizations that want to preserve Earth. It’s one of the only habitable planets left, and its human poison needs to be eradicated. Proving their lack of humor, Gort – a automaton biotech robot – and Klaatu ignore appeals from single mothers and Jon Hamm alike to plot the flood Noah spoke so warmly of.
central park great lawn gets the genocide it had coming
After arriving in a sphere with no evident place for a bathroom, Klaatu is born to his new body, and his excavation proves challenging for his human observers. Kathy Bates plays Madeleine Albright, and her character’s as mightily clueless. Klaatu demands an audience of world leaders. He is rebuked, so he takes it out on the planet with nanotechnology and mediocre special effects.
will I still have a career after this movie, green magic 8 ball?
The ‘science’ part of the science fiction has been eradicated by director Scott Derrickson’s engaging skill of stripping what’s interesting out of every scene. A civilization that would expend that much energy to threaten Earth as an envoy and then decide to destroy it probably mastered terraforming habitats in its infancy. Guess who spent most of the film’s second act brainstorming this idea?
you’re all nanobots and no action klaatu
At one point John Cleese’s four line cameo of a character even asks as much, wondering if this kind of technology has any further use than its current occupation as a greenish orb black box of a plane. Galactus brought the cavalry – he really didn’t care what we thought of them. Klaatu’s people are a subtler race, and yet the film barely hints at a deeper motivation or context for the events. It would have been so easy to build a real film into the blockbuster, as Paul Verhoeven did with Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, but that promise is meaningless to a moronic industry.
for the last time, no you were not spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High
Wasting Jon Hamm on a part with six lines in a movie this bad is levels of unconscionable worse than Plaxico Burress jacking himself in the thigh. It is a offense that will never warrant parole. If you can’t write a movie that sets up Don Draper to save the world and pays off that promise, you should stick to writing for Roland Emmerich and leave ruining the best material to J.J. Abrams. There’s a sentence I wasn’t sure I’d live to write.
the world ends not with a bang, but with a grossly thin leading lady
The current spate of apocalyptic movies has its first beaver dam in what is sure to be this massive flop. It’s not B movie terrible, but it does have stock footage mixed in with the perniciously boring plot. At least the film never lingers on a single moment, depicting the last battle of the human race with something like the compassion of an eleven year old stepping on an anthill. There is no joy in Mudville, or London, or Chicago, where glistening spheres frighten people instead of rightfully engaging their curiosity.
i’m sensing that this encounter is giving you a hot bonor, klaatu, exactly as we’d planned
In fact, we would welcome a reason, any reason, for our destruction. Klaatu, suited up and painfully inchoate, offers none. We’re just a lost cause to him and his alien friends. Perhaps this is a notion scary for some, but I found Klaatu’s arrival a relief. At least we would die for a reason. It is more likely that such an alien race would be worshipped as a God than attacked by our godless country.
Since The Day The Earth Stood Still is a fantasy, we are remanded to watch the engineers of our destruction sulk under the lights of Congress on C-Span. Are we so proud of our achievements so far that we resist the end? We gave it the old college try. Western civilization had its chance. Time for Klaatu and Galactus and Gort and Frank Langella to have their say.
Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.
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