Thursday, March 28, 2013

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2008)

Having recently caught up with the classic film “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” I can completely understand Derrickson’s desire to retell this story. It is powerful. It is timeless. It has a message. I am also sure that in the collaborative art-form that film is, things are not all (or maybe even AT all) his fault, but the reimagining done in 2008 is a mess. There are a few visual moments, and a couple creative ideas that really work in this new film, but for the most part it has truly lost its soul.

The original film is a powerful call to peace and for the nations of the world (who were engaged in a real albeit cold war at the time) to find a way to get along. There were subtle hints at spiritual ideas in the film, but mostly it was just a powerful story about the circumstances humanity found itself in in the Twentieth Century.

This new film changes the approach as well as the goal. It wears its religious style environmentalism on its sleeve. And the message is no longer one of peace amongst a humanity at war, but a call to “save the world” at the height of the scientific consensus known as global warming. The environmentalism proposed in this film is even more of a scientific blunder than the particular brand of Scientism it had espoused. One wonders if the filmmakers even saw the irony of having an alien race wipe out an entire species to save an ecosystem?

For a great film, go watch the 1951 version of this story. Reserve this one for the montage of sillier moments from the 00s.

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