The modern iteration of the 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still was by most reports completely unnecessary. No, really. The first movie was done very well. The original movie was so good that I don’t know why anybody really thought it necessary to make a new version. However, much of modern U.S. culture has turned into a cheesy imitation of the past. So why should the movie biz be any different?
So, the movies are tremendously similar. You'd expect that considering the later release most certainly is a remake of the first. Although the producers of the recent release made changes, the original story remains mostly undisturbed. In the 1951 version, an alien space ship lands in D.C., whereas the latest version has the landing site in New York City's Central Park. In both movies, some trigger-happy soldier shoots the alien which sets off some pretty chaotic footage before the alien is able to restore order giving pause for open dialogue. There is a little confusion over to whom this big blue marble on which we live belongs, some alien induced destruction provides ample opportunity for the special effects crews to wow the audience. Then a pretty protagonist brings the Alien to a more reasonable state of mind and helps stop the destruction of mankind. Ultimately, the humans are made to promise they'll refrain from destroying the earth with their nuclear weaponry. Oh, wait, that is the 1951 version. You see, the cold war was just beginning to escalate back then. Today, however, the cold war and nuclear weapons aren't considered nearly the threat they once were. Hollywood had to change the promise we had to make. 2008's version was about global warming and environmental changes. In 2008, Earth is saved while mankind has to promise the aliens that we’ll stop wrecking the environment.
This trend in movies isn't new. Hollywood has been using the movies to cajole the American public into political correctness since the dawn of the medium. So, when they alter the Day the Earth Stood Still I should not be too terribly concerned, right? I'm just wondering what it is we're supposed to do to immediately gain such security. Just what does it mean to stop wrecking the environment? Will the aliens be satisfied now that Carol Browner is going to make energy and environmental policy at the Obama White House? Or do the aliens want something more than that? Is there something more than that? Really, even science fiction has its limits and Carol Browner may well be the one to take it to the edge of physics.
After it's all wrapped up - the action scenes with flying nano-bugs and colliding helicopters and loud explosions and bright flames - The Day the Earth Stood Still doesn't explain how 6.5 billion people can continue to exist on this planet without industrial energy supplies, industrial agriculture to supply food, using minerals, water supply, public health or much anything else on such a grand scale. Will that be in the next remake? If we're to find real answers we cannot wait another 57 years for a remake to show us the way.
Books I finished, mostly today
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