All this weekend! 5 movies I’m psyched for in December and 5 reasons why. No. 2: The Day the Earth Stood Still [opens in the U.S. and the U.K. on December 12].
1. I’m feeling kinda starved for grownup science fiction lately. There’s been a few films this year that are arguably SF: Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, but they’ve got more of a superhero vibe; CJ7 and The Signal, but they weren’t particularly great; Journey to the Center of the Earth, but that’s for little kids; and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull turned out to be science fiction in the end. But as movies with science-fictional conceits go, we’re left with The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which is only very thinly SFnal; Cloverfield, which extremely well done but didn’t explore any new ideas; and Wall-E, which was wonderful and original. So I’m ready for anything really original, and this seems to be the only movie I can pin such hopes on.
2. Keanu Reeves as Klaatu. Honestly, when I heard it was him playing the enigmatic alien, I thought: Perfect.
3. John Cleese is in this, in the apparently not-comedic role of “Professor Barnhardt.” Maybe he invented a funny walk to defeat the aliens?
4. Director Scott Derrickson last film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, was a far more thoughtful and considered approach to a subgenre — the possessed-by-Satan horror movie — than we typically see. So I’m hoping that bodes well for this film, and that we’ll get a far more thoughtful and considered alien-invasion movie.
5. There’s that line, in the TV commercial, where Kathy Bates says something like, “What do you want with our planet?” And Keanu Reeves replies, half mystified and half peeved, “Your planet?” I’d like to think, because of the global-warming, heal-the-planet theme, that that’s gonna resolve into a Native American concept of eschewing the idea of ownership of the Earth, not into a “the aliens have been here for millions of years and consider this their planet.”