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The Day of Mild Thrills

The Day the Earth Stood Still

To crack into this re-imagining of a classic sci-fi movie let us delve into the original. In the 1951 sci-fi classic a humanoid being named Klaatu, along with his protective robot companion Gort, travelled to Earth on a mission of goodwill. Klaatu warns the humans that other planets are concerned Earth is gonna blow itself up. So they give them an ultimatum “fix this sh*t or we gonna blow you up.” (actual dialogue.)

The whole thing was a commentary on the Cold War. Additionally, the original film was an insightful, character-driven drama about people learning to work together. Seeing that the Cold War ended so many years ago this new film had to become something entirely different. Thus, what better issue to address than our world’s ever prevalent environmental woes?

This time around Klaatu is a considerably different character. His charming personality and role of peacemaker have been thrown out the window in favor of soulless, prophet of doom. Klaatu visits Earth this time to tell us “Hey, you guys have been destroying your planet so were gonna kill you.” (again actual dialogue.) All Klaatu is here to do this time is save all the animals on Earth with magic orbs. Kind of like the story of Noah except with robots. Klaatu in turn is injured by humans, escapes the humans, and becomes a fugitive alongside a scientist played by Jennifer Connelly and her son played by Jaden Smith.

The characters try to reason with Klaatu saying things like, “We can change there’s still time!” Meanwhile, the military is freaked out that Klaatu’s robot Gort might be a threat. The military responds by attempting to destroy Gort, but are shot down. So they take him into captivity. Eventually, Keanu and company meet up with Jennifer Conelly’s scientist mentor (played by a surprisingly low-key John Cleese) to try and convince Klaatu to spare Earth. John Cleese basically says to Klaatu “Why now? We’re not on the brink of destruction yet. Your society didn’t change their ways until they were on the brink of destruction.” (Klaatu mentioned this earlier).

I found this whole sequence amusing as this professor has torn apart all the little logic that held Klaatu’s plans together in what? Like two minutes? The whole movie is built around the fact that our times up when in fact, were far from it. If Klaatu’s race is so advanced then why couldn’t they look at this problem constructively?

Later in the film, the captured Gort turns into a big swarm of metallic bugs and destroys all man-made technology… Like trucks and football stadiums. As the world crumbles, Klaatu contemplates the professor’s words and decides to save the Earth after all. Wow, all it took was one reasonably intelligent person to convince him? Remember he’s the sole representative for all of space. Klaatu then uses his “orb powers” to stop the swarm and then everything stands still for a moment. I guess they still had to cash in on that title. As the credits I roll I find myself wondering “Why was this movie made?” The story is completely unrealized, the character’s relationships aren’t fleshed out, and it pays little respect to the original.

Klaatu uses his “orb powers” to stop the swarm and then everything stands still for a moment. I guess they still had to cash in on that title. As the credits I roll I find myself wondering “Why was this movie made?” The story is completely unrealized, the character’s relationships aren’t fleshed out, and it pays little respect to the original.
Apart from the logical nightmare that is the plot, there are some positive points. The visual effects, music, and cinematography are top notch. This is an aesthetically pleasing film as well. The acting is competent, especially Jaden Smith. Jennifer Connelly is fine and so is Jon Hamm, though his character serves no purpose. We basically learn nothing about Jon Hamm and then he gets killed and nobody cares. Kathy Bates also pops in as the pissed off Secretary of Defense and she’s fine.

I didn’t think this flick was unbearable immediately after, but it seems to get worse the more I think about it. Not the worst movie I’ve seen this year but not good. In the end, I think this movie more than anything will keep audiences standing still. Get it? Cause they’re bored!


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