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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ #2

Take a break from work: watch a movie trailer…


Much darker than that first trailer.

I said, back when I discussed that first trailer, that I imagined that this global-warming-is-bad update would deal with the mysterious why? of aliens caring about whether we humans destroy our environment, and there’s a hint of how that’s going to play out here, in that line about how only a few planets are capable of supporting complex life, Earth being one of them. Sounds like a needs-of-the-many-outweighing-the-needs-of-the-few thing, and we Earthlings are the few, in this case.

Now I’m curious to see whether the movie will deal with the idea that there’s probably nothing we humans could do with our current level of technology that would render the planet incapable of supporting life. We might render ourselves extinct, as well as many other species, but biodiversity would recover, though it might take millions of years if we did something really awful, like setting off all our nukes. Maybe the aliens are looking to preserve Earth and its biodiversity as it is now, and don’t want to have to wait millions of years for it to recover from potential human screwups. Or maybe there’s some secret Manhattan Project going on to find a way to rip apart the Earth’s core or something. That would be a pretty stupid thing for us to do, but hey, look around…

I’m kinda tickled by how this trailer, at least (and hopefully the film, too), plays around with the distinction between “saving the planet” and “saving the humans.” It’s kind of dumb, really, for us Earthlings to talk about saving the planet, which is going to be just fine no matter what we do, when we should be talking about saving ourselves. But here we have, it seems, an instance of a real choice between the two things that could be saved.

Plus: our first look at Gort!

The Day the Earth Stood Still opens in the U.S. and the U.K. on December 12.



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  • Mischief Maker

    How the hell did Keanu Reeves, of all people, get typecast as the messiah?

    Party on, dudes!

  • PaulW

    Because the other guy in the Bill & Ted tandem was a vampire. Or a wannabe avant garde indie director. One of those two. I think.

  • I’m curious to see how many people see this film and think “Klaatu barada nikto” is an Army of Darkness reference.

    …If the phrase is even in the remake at all, of course. :)

  • blake

    “I’m curious to see how many people see this film and think “Klaatu barada nikto” is an Army of Darkness reference.”

    Very few would be my guess, Michael.

    Shame.

  • MaryAnn

    How the hell did Keanu Reeves, of all people, get typecast as the messiah?

    I’d totally be religious if it involved veneration of Keanu, and blessings from him…

  • Mischief Maker

    Well I suppose if these blessings involved Keanu Reeves expressing an emotion they would qualify as actual miracles.

  • MaryAnn

    Poor Keanu. If this were the 1950s, we’d be praising his stoicism and manly restraint.

    I’m not saying he’s the greatest actor Hollywood has ever seen, but I do think he’s got a lot more on the ball than people give him credit for.

  • blake

    “I’m not saying he’s the greatest actor Hollywood has ever seen, but I do think he’s got a lot more on the ball than people give him credit for.”

    Nope.

    He’s complete rubbish.

    His acting high point were the Bill and Ted films.

  • Gina

    Oh come on, don’t forget Point Break. He turned into a surfer dude with integrity and purpose. Don’t you remember all the angst?

    He sure is pretty to look at. Sorry, it had to be said.

  • blake

    “surfer dude with integrity and purpose”

    Erm…

    Which Point Break were you watching ?

    Angst ?

    Keanu can’t pull off simple happy / sad acting, I think angst is way out of his league.

  • Anne-Kari

    I’ve not loved much of the Keanu oeuvre, but he’s surprised me more than a few times – most notably, in “The Gift” and the otherwise annoying “Something’s Gotta Give”. Two good performances do not necessarily make a solid case for talent, but I was very impressed with both those films and his execution of his roles in them.

  • Paul

    It’s hard for me to decide for sure how much I like Reeves because he and I seem to have similiar tastes in scripts so he ends up in movies I would generally like with or without him. All he has to do is not do a bad job.

    With that disclaimer, he’s played the expressionless, the bitter, the sweet, and the funny. That puts him between the actors who are always playing themselves and those who disappear into a role so completely I don’t realize it’s them until the credits.

  • Shadowen

    At our current level of technology, sure, we can’t destroy the world.

    Who’s to say the aliens in TDTESS aren’t prejudging us, and supposing that by the time we get to the level where we can we’ll still be as fucked up as we are, or as careless as we are, and accidentally set something off that, well, destroys the planet?

    Or maybe they’ve watched a lot of our movies and have come to the conclusion that we have a blase attitude towards blowing planets up.

    It’s what we might call a pre-emptive strike. Oh-ho-ho relevance.

    I think Keanu as an actor is limited to doing well in a certain set of roles, but because he’s pretty and well-known he’s often cast outside those roles, to the detriment of the film. It’s not his fault; he’s just doing a job.

  • Mark

    At our current level of technology, sure, we can’t destroy the world.

    Well, we can’t physically dismantle the planet, no. But we could depopulate it and make it pretty unpleasant for most of the (remaining) larger animals, and probably cause some nasty cascading effects for smaller animals and plants. Global warming won’t stop a nuclear winter.

    As for Keanu, I harbor a certain affection for him. I’d like to see what a director who favors substance over style would be able to do with him — he’d be interesting in a Cohen Brothers movie, for example.

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