Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recycling Robots from Outer Space

Back in August, I opined that I was not excited by the remake of the Robert Wise directed sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Well, apparently audiences weren't too jazzed about a re-make, either, as it grossed a less-than-hoped-for $30 millionish in its first weekend.

I've heard that message of the movie is environmental, which, despite new effects and what seems to be a massive shift in the events of the original... Basically, Kneau comes from space to tell us all to recycle or he's going to sick his robot on us.

If you've seen the original, you know that Klaatu's concern isn't so much clean air and water, but the threat of nuclear annihilation (on Earth, as well as should humans set their eyes skyward). We kind of take this sort of story for granted as an artifact of the opening days of the Cold War, but as a message to humanity not just of anti-nuclear proliferation, but a condemnation of war on the heels of WWII and during the Korean War.

Sci-Fi's strength is often in its allegorical nature, or attempts to explore ethical and moral issues we haven't really faced yet. And I think its laudable to tuck the evergreen message of not trashing the planet into a movie where aliens and robots WILL KILL YOU IF YOU DO NOT SWITCH TO LOW FLOW TOILETS. But I think I'm a bit more fascinated with the idea of what mankind would do if faced down with the threat of annihilation if they didn't get their act together and quit killing one another.

Anyhow, I still kind of want to see the re-make out of some sense of morbid curiosity.

Big Bang Theory

I don't know if you saw this week's episode but... It's a bizarre pleasure to see characters on a TV show pondering the imponderables of Superman fandom. I know they're playing it for laughs, but I think us Superman fans have a good sense of humor about the conundrums of the rules and regulations they set up in Superman comics. And it all felt oddly... accurate.

Also, the ending was gold.


I gotta go to bed


Steven said...

It has been widely recorded that The Gipper opined such as you frequently to Gorbachaev: that the US and Russia would put hostilities to bed if faced with alien attack. Apparently Mr. Glasnost was so much wigged out by this suggestion that he returned to Russia to see if maybe the US knew something about extra-terrestrial threats that they did not.

Incidentally, I never really liked “Day”. The pacing was just so...slow... Naturally, the big attraction was Gort and it's a lot of talky-talk before you get that far: I didn't think that the creatively devoid Hollywood machine would do the re-animator routine on this work like its name was Bernie.

The League said...

well, due to budgetary constraints, a lot of sci-fi movies until Star Wars were pretty heavy on chatting. I think through thousands of hours of MST3K my brain subcategorizes black and white sci-fi in a totally different way from anything after Star Trek. But, yes... it is a pretty slow movie.

I have a reading suggestion for you based upon your Gorbie story, but now I'm afraid I'd give too much plot away if I putthe book in your hands.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the remake, but I have seen the original.

In that film, the spacemen were afraid that nuclear weapons on Earth would be used and that conflict could extend to space. Hence, their reason for coming to Earth.

But I wonder about the remake? Is it just out of sheer concern for us that Keanu Spaceman comes to warn us about environmental collapse? Why would aliens care if we decimate the planet (given that at this time there's no way for us to load up in WALL-E's Axiom and find another planet to live on)?

The League said...

Maybe they're afraid we'll build huge spaace cannons that launch our garbage at other planets? Maybe they worry about the fate of the universe should the last humpback whale should die?

All I know is, Kneau Reeves does not appreciate the Prime Directive.

J.S. said...

Maybe that's how Greenpeace rolls on other planets. (Hell, it's not too dissimilar from what those guys on Whale Wars are doing with the Japanese whaling fleet here on earth).

Simon MacDonald said...

This weeks episode of the Big Bang Theory was my first. I caught the opening bit on Superman and decided to watch the whole episode. It was a very funny show and I'm going to try and catch some more on my PVR.

"I am in possession of Leonard Nimoy's DNA!"

Instant Classic!