Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The Day The Earth Stood Still
On principle I shouldn’t like The Day the Earth Stood Still because it is a message movie, but I do; the message in this movie is give up your nuclear arms and wars or you’ll pay the consequences. This is the entire message Klaatu braved hundreds of thousands of miles in space to deliver. This all makes sense for the film when you realize that it is a cold war film and people across the globe were afraid of the bomb.
Despite being a message movie at its core The Day the Earth Stood Still is quite entertaining; the characters are fully developed, all the relationships make sense and the plot moves at a nice speed that unfolds information for the audience as they need it not before.
I think that Klaatu is a great member of the annals of film aliens. While he represents a different view of the otherworldly outsider than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did this year, it is a view of the alien type that probably influenced Spielberg when creating his earlier science fiction works like E.T.. There is both a fear of the outsider and a curiosity about what they can bring to us.
However, I do have to say that my single favorite thing in The Day the Earth Stood Still was Gort. A giant (mind you eight foot tall was big for special effects at the time) robot that was capable of destroying everything in its sight and who only Klaatu could control – that’s my kind of cold war paranoia. Gort is not only a protector of Klaatu but you find out that the robot is some sort of intergalactic peace officer created by Klaatu’s people.
The Day the Earth Stood Still is a highly enjoyable film even if it has slightly suffered from being so era specific; however, seeing the original has me highly excited to see the remake when it comes out next month. Just imagine Gort with modern cgi.
Director: Robert Wise
Writer: Edmund H. Noth
Klaatu: Michael Rennie
Helen Benson: Patricia Neal
Tom Stevens: Hugh Marlowe
Professor Barnhardt: Sam Jaffe
Bobby Benson: Billy Gray
Gort: Lock Martin