I am not happy. There is soon to be a remake of a classic movie, Robert Wise’s The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). You know the one – scary guy from outer space (with scary robot, Gort) appears to tell the world of the dire consequences to befall them if they don’t stop being nasty to each other. Klaatu (for it is he, Michael Rennie) warns the people of Earth that if all wars do not cease pretty damn quick and everyone starts to get on, the Earth will be destroyed. Faced with that sort of threat, the good people of our pretty blue planet get with the programme and all is well. Hooray!
It was cited by some at the time of making as a metaphor for the ongoing Cold War and the ramping-up of the arms race and all that mid-20th century Mutually Assured Destruction everyone was so het up about. A fair point, but for me it was a cool alien movie with a message about morality, very much like the old pulp sci-fi comics. Whatever it was or wasn’t, it didn’t need remaking, as far as this film-lover is concerned. Naturally, Hollywood usually hangs on my every word, but this time they can’t have got the email.
It’s not just that it is being remade, but that Scott Derrickson (director of such classics as The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) and Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)) is remaking it with Keanu Reeves. The same Keanu Reeves who hasn’t made a good film since Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989). What’s that? The Matrix (1999), you say? I don’t think so – over-hyped, SFX-sodden trash masquerading as serious sci-fi. If anyone could act in that, it was Lawrence Fishburne. Anyway, back to my point. It’s not only being remade with Keanu, either. Oh no. Not content with remaking a classic movie using an actor who is so-so at best in a lead role, they have changed the ‘message’ a little too. Honestly, it’s like someone taking one of your favourite childhood teddy bears, ripping off its head and super-gluing a potato on instead.
“What’s the beef Colin?” I hear you ask. Well, the message Klaatu is sent billions of kilometres across space to deliver is…drum roll…stop global warming! Yes, you read that right. Global warming. So, if, like, we don’t look after our planet, it’ll like, die and stuff? Bingo, Earth people – oh, and if you don’t do something about it ASAP, we’re going to explode your planet into lots of tiny bits. Please – someone tell me I read this on April Fool’s Day. I can kind of see the point that in order to foster peace and harmony across the vast expanse of space, an alien superpower may take it upon itself to be the ones killing in the name of peace. What I don’t get is why they would give a shit about the ice caps melting. Why could they possibly have a problem with that? A tiny blue speck, orbiting a minor star, which hangs out in the western spiral arm of the Milky Way. Oh no! The temperature’s gone up a bit – quick, Klaatu, get over there and tell them to stop burning fossil fuels!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that global warming is a very real problem, and one which ultimately will affect everyone alive, but don’t tell me that Keanu is the one to save us all in what is bound to be a complete dog’s dinner of a movie. What’s that noise? Oh, it’s the sound of that environmental bandwagon being jumped on. Klaatu barada whatever…
And Picturenose reviews the remake here. Enjoy.