The Day the Earth Stood Still (review)

Get new reviews in your email in-box or in an app by becoming a paid Substack subscriber or Patreon patron.

End of the World? Please!

When the aliens come, and they want to blow us out of the galaxy for being such a waste of organic chemistry, and we’re all like, “Oh no, no, we’re good, we’re noble, we’re worth not killing,” and the aliens decide, “Okay, you puny humans can be, like, our court jesters, just entertain us and we’ll spare your miserable monkey lives,” let’s make sure we hide this movie away and not offer it up as an example of how entertaining we can be. Because otherwise we’re, like, totally doomed.
There’s a running bit here about how people — or civilizations — only really change when threatened with extinction or destruction, and you would think that a movie that allegedly is all about pushing humanity to that precipice would actually feel like it was teetering on some kind of, you know, precipice, instead of feeling like it was reading from some sort of instructional manual for “How to Make an Alien Invasion Movie That Doesn’t Rock the Status Quo.” The movie uses that actual word, precipice, and it’s a good word, but it has to be more than a word: it has to be a mood. Just like the original Day the Earth Stood Still, back in 1951, was both about an alien who arrives and threatens to exterminate us all unless we disarm nuclearly, and was simultaneously, via that alien-threat theme, a metaphor for the genuine threat of extinction via nuclear war, so this update is both about an alien who arrives and announces that we are scheduled for immediate extermination because we’re killing the biosphere and all the other innocent creatures who depend upon it and we must be stopped, and simultaneously a metaphor for our actual destruction of our environment. Or at least it thinks it is thusly metaphoric. So it should feel like friggin’ Soylent Green or something, all boiling heat and the oceans dying and starving people feeding on the corpses of the dead. Or it could at least throw a melting-icecap bone our way, maybe some drowning polar bears.

Instead, this is The Day the Earth Barely Even Notices We’re on the Brink of Doom, and Why Don’t Those Damn Hippies Just Shut Up About Global Warming Already? Sure, all those rioting people in the streets on the news on the TVs in the background appear to have noticed that a big-ass alien swirly sphere has landed in New York’s Central Park, but I’ll be damned if there’s any indication that those rioters understand why the aliens prefer to save the planet over us… or any indication why the audience watching the film should understand it, either. Nope, it’s all widescreen TVs for those news reports and trigger-happy armies shooting at the ambassador from another freakin’ planet and product placement for crap no one needs and rest stops at McDonald’s for a conference about whether the humans are worth saving or not. In a movie that evinced any sign of self-awareness whatsoever, I’d call all this — particularly the McDonald’s bit — ironic, but if anyone here understands that rampant consumerism and a fast-food culture is part and parcel of the Earth-killing business, there’s no sign of it.

Klaatu (Keanu Reeves: Street Kings, A Scanner Darkly), the ET who gets potshot at the beginning of the film, gets it: “Your problem is not technology. Your problem is you.” Be nice if updating screenwriter David Scarpa (The Last Castle) or director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) got this, instead of becoming examples of it. What, the end of human civilization isn’t enough, they have to throw in a wildly unnecessary subplot about a sad child? (The kid is played by Jaden Smith [The Pursuit of Happyness], who is Will Smith and Jada Pinkett’s son, and he truly is totally adorable, but still…) Is his contentious relationship with his stepmother (Jennifer Connelly: Reservation Road, Blood Diamond) meant to be representative of how unbelievably fucked up humanity on the whole has gotten? If so, never fear: all we need is a good cry and a hug and maybe some McDonald’s french fries to make the boo-boos go away. If only.

If movie had any balls at all, and genuinely wanted to shake us up and make us reconsider our ways, it would begin where it ends. I won’t tell you what happens in the end (hint: it’s stolen from one of the best ongoing science fiction book series of the moment), but it’s at once an awesome demonstration of the aliens’ power and resolve (and should have been their first solution, actually, to the Human Problem, rather than wiping us out) and the start of the real story. It’s the most extreme of ways out for the mess we’ve made of the planet, but that’s what could have made for a truly gripping, truly dramatic science fiction tale. The one we got is, alas, instantly forgettable, and completely useless if it had any hope of saving Earth from us.

share and enjoy
             
If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.
If you haven’t commented here before, your first comment will be held for MaryAnn’s approval. This is an anti-spam, anti-troll measure. If you’re not a spammer or a troll, your comment will be approved, and all your future comments will post immediately.
subscribe
notify of
72 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
view all comments
Der Bruno Stroszek
Der Bruno Stroszek
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 5:26am

I think I read an entertainment news item the other day, actually, that said they were going to beam this movie into space. So we’re doomed. It should reach Alpha Centauri by 2012, which is enough to make you think there’s something in this Mayan calendar gubbins.

Jonah Falcon
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 8:25am

Mary, you missed the point a little:

Why the hell would aliens be concerned about us ruining our own biosphere?

In the original movie, the Galactic Council was concerned our nukes and our warlike behavior might decide to attack them, so the threat was a warning that they were going to preemptively destroy us before there was a first strike by us.

What are they worried about here? That we’ll go to their planets and litter? Use fluorocarbons? We’re not a threat to THEM. If they were concerned about us, they’d let us commit suicide. Here, it’s “If you don’t stop killing yourselves, we’ll kill you!”

Ay yi yi.

Patrick
Patrick
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 8:50am

Just got my “DtESS” Special Edition DVD. (It looks sooooo good in its remastered clariy, BTW!) It came with a free ticket to see the remade debacle. I guess if I get disappointed, I’ll get disappointed for free!

SF movies very, very, very rarely work to shake things up in our culture–and that’s a shame.

I’m dreading doing some middle-of-the-road, touchy feely, namby pamby version of the subversive “The Man Who Fell to Earth” featuring Robin Williams in David Bowie’s original role. Blecch!

Alex Knapp
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 9:18am

I’m a little saddened by your review, but not surprised. One of the things I love about the original DtESS is its deep, unabashed irony. A bunch of aliens coming to Earth and telling us “Stop being violent!” “Or what?” “Or we’ll kill you all!” I always got a kick out of that…

blake
blake
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 9:35am

Alex Knapp you are a genius.

I never thought of the irony.
It will always be my greatest downfall.

Jolly
Jolly
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 10:13am

Right on, MaryAnn! Let’s get rid of the “Doctor Who” DVD box sets, flights to Europe, wine, and other sh*t that nobody needs that’s killing our planet. And screw the blog pages full of banner ads selling stuff that will only disappoint, eventually decomposing for 10000 years at some landfill.

Chris-E
Chris-E
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 10:46am

Totally expected this type of review. Being “green” is a fad (at least for story and advertising purposes), but if you’re gonna be preachy then go balls to the wall! It should also make sense! Wouldn’t killing billions of humans release untold amounts of carbon into the atmosphere making things worse? Then again, it is carbon that helps “green” things grow (which is why limits on carbon are funny to me!).

There are far more imminent dangers in the world than the .50 degree temperature change.

Global warming is real to an extent, but I’m positive there’s more to it than the effect man. Ever heard of the “little ice age”? What about the “medieval warming period”? There were no cars and factories back then! What caused the climate change in the medieval period? Maybe it was all of the dragons? Yeah! They breathed so much fire that it caused the world to heat up and then the 3 degree increase in temperature caused them to go extinct!

The simple fact is that without humans the world has still gone through regular warming and cooling cycles. Hurricanes, tornados, wildfires and other “natural disasters” are just that, NATURAL. They cannot be prevented no matter “clean” the energy is. New Orleans wasn’t destroyed by global warming, it was just badly designed (since it’s below sea level) and had poorly built levees. On top of that, the local government did not prepare it’s citizens enough before the storm and the Federal government failed to act when it needed to.

Maybe pointing out how inept our leaders are (Democrats and Republicans) would have been eye opening and would have been a good subplot. Maybe on another planet there are actually good politicians who truly represent the people they “serve”. That would be real science fiction!

Instead it’s always that humans just suck and we have no redeeming qualities. I don’t need to pay for a movie to tell me that we all suck. I have eyes!

I think Wall-E presented a more valid argument. Mass consumerism and the “get shit cheap” mentality are more dangerous. Buying a bunch of crap we don’t need and will eventually not use is more harmful because that stuff ends up sitting in a landfill and trashes the environment (not to mention most of it is made in China, who is the largest polluter).

How do you get rid of all the trash? Launch it to space! Then aliens will come here and try to kill us for screwing up their environment. That would have been a far better “environmental” scenario for a remake.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 11:47am

Mary, you missed the point a little:

Please, it’s MaryAnn, not Mary.

Why the hell would aliens be concerned about us ruining our own biosphere?

Because they like the biosphere; it’s extremely rare, and worth saving, in their minds.

Chris-E, please take your global-warming-denying bullshit somewhere else.

Right on, MaryAnn! Let’s get rid of the “Doctor Who” DVD box sets, flights to Europe, wine, and other sh*t that nobody needs that’s killing our planet. And screw the blog pages full of banner ads selling stuff that will only disappoint, eventually decomposing for 10000 years at some landfill.

Not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not, Jolly, but of course no one is saying, “Don’t ever buy stuff ever again.” The idea is to be smart about what we buy and how we live, and to be sustainable about it.

It really frustrates me that so many people see so many things as black-and-white.

Chris mankey
Chris mankey
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 11:54am

There are far more imminent dangers in the world than the .50 degree temperature change.

Oh look it’s a long idiotic screed on global warming denial!

Chris-E
Chris-E
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 12:09pm

I’m not denying global warming! I’m stating that man is not solely the cause and that there’s history of it happening before the impact of man.

You cannot ignore that FACT, even if you want to ignore my comments. I in no way said climate change was a myth, or that we’re not contributing to it. I just stated that people are capitalizing on the “green” craze by creating fear. Now they’re trying to pass it off as entertainment. Your reviews are very political at times, yet it’s not okay to make comments here if they are not totally in line with your liberal views? I’m not Ben Stein. I’m an athiest and I believe in science, but I won’t be fooled by companies trying to sell new products or by Hollywood.

Like you, I love Wall-E and think it’s the best film of the year. It succeded by being subtle and yet “in your face” about the issues that face us. It also didn’t say humans are evil, just that we lose our way at times. Wall-E is smart, this new “Day” is not.

KV
KV
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 12:34pm

Dies the Fire as best ongoing ‘sci-fi’ (every time we type that, Harlan Ellison herniates somewhere, and as much as I love his writing, that warms me slightly)?

Urk. It’s a fair opinion, being, well, personal opinions, but there’s mine. I think it would work rather well as a film or HBO series, actually, because then the bloated ‘Hey, look at my research!’ writing style won’t get in the way of a fairly well-handled, if not particularly novel, plot.

‘Foreigner,’ by Cherryh, is probably my choice, honestly. Ongoing narrows it a bit – I honestly love ‘Cyteen’ more, and can probably noodle it as an ongoing, being that a sequel is arriving in January.

In any case! Dies the Fire is still likely better entertainment for people than this film… which I shamefully admit I will go see anyway for laughs.

(P.S. – The original tale by Harry Bates, ‘Farewell to the Master,’ is a nice piece of nostalgic science fiction. Available free on the internet, ‘nostalgia’ in this case means ‘It hasn’t aged very well, but it has its place in geek history and is worth a little bit of your time.’)

KV
KV
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 12:36pm

I suck for train of thought thinking – the reference to ‘Farewell to the Master’ is me derailing back to the film at hand, and not more musing on science fiction novels.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 12:41pm

Your reviews are very political at times, yet it’s not okay to make comments here if they are not totally in line with your liberal views?

Opinions are welcome here, whether they agree with mine or not. Fiction and spin masquerading as fact do not. Anyone who dismisses the dangers of the human impact on global warming with “natural cycles” spin clearly is uninformed on the matter. And unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that there *is* no greater danger to human civilization that the steadily rising temperatures.

This thread will NOT turn into a debate on the merits of global warming and climate change. I will delete further comments that attempt to debate this matter.

Anne-Kari
Anne-Kari
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 1:42pm

I’m bummed. I’ve been hoping for a fun remake of this film, and looking forward to my favorite Guilty Pleasure actor (Keanu). But this just looks like it sucks. Harumph.

Chris-E
Chris-E
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 1:51pm

I thought message films like these were meant to spark “debate”!

logos
logos
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 2:23pm

And here I thought MaryAnn was a champion of rational inquiry and an opponent of dogmatism. Big mistake.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 2:40pm

I *am* a champion of rational inquiry. There is no rational opposition to human-caused climate change, and the potential dangerous ramifications of it. Global warming isn’t dogma — it’s science.

I thought message films like these were meant to spark “debate”!

Right. This movie is meant to spark debate about the authenticity of human-caused global warming as a threat to civilization the way all the Nazi-themed movies this season are meant to spark debate about whether the Holocaust really happened.

Deal with it, folks. The indisputable scientific consensus is that we humans have knocked the natural climate cycles way out of whack, which will be to our extreme detriment unless we reverse it (and we may already be too late to do so). If the scientific consensus changes, fine. But the fact is that there is no serious doubt among the scientific community that we’re fucked unless we do something soon, and maybe even if we do.

But like I said: we’re not going to debate this here. There are plenty of other places on the Web to debate this, if you really want to. I also will not tolerate: anyone who claims evolution didn’t happen or Santa Claus is real. Tough shit. It’s my site.

Shadowen
Shadowen
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 4:21pm

I also will not tolerate: anyone who claims evolution didn’t happen or Santa Claus is real.

Now you’re going over the line with your dogma, Mary-Ann. Saint Nick was a real person. :p

…and because I’m the kind of person who picks at things, I will say that I don’t think any climatologist thinks the climate doesn’t change over time without intervention from humanity. The mere existence of the term “ice age” should tell you this. The point with anthrocentric climate change is that humanity is accelerating or perhaps even reversing what would be the natural cycle. Similar to how cultural systems evolve faster than biological ones, so too is the rate of warming caused by our consumption and certian inefficient but convenient technolgoies predicted to exceed species’ ability to adapt to it.

Shadowen
Shadowen
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 4:22pm

Now, on topic: was the Wolverine trailer worth the price of admission, MAJ? Or since you saw this in a preview screening were you exempted from having to watch ads before the movie?

David Ellis
David Ellis
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 5:34pm


One of the things I love about the original DtESS is its deep, unabashed irony. A bunch of aliens coming to Earth and telling us “Stop being violent!” “Or what?” “Or we’ll kill you all!” I always got a kick out of that…

I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen the original (haven’t decided whether to see the remake—I had been looking forward to it but now I’ll have to check out some more reviews before I decide to put my money down) but your comment makes me wonder if THE ABYSS was drawing on DTESS as thematic source material.

Laurie D. T. Mann
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 8:38pm

This is one of those times I’d very happy to not be a professional reviewer. I’m so glad I don’t have to see this movie. Jim and Leslie were going to go, but with the globally horrible reviews for this movie, they’re going to see Bolt and I’m going to see Milk (which FINALLY hit Pittsburgh this week!).

Joe R.
Joe R.
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 11:13pm

I’ve noticed that The Flick Filosopher does this a lot with her comments section, using it as an excuse to bully anyone who disagrees with her.

If she had bothered to read Chris-E’s post properly she would’ve noticed that he wasn’t denying that global warming exists, nor was he denying that man had a role in it – but that didn’t stop her from putting those words in his mouth.

I’ve noticed a pattern emerging on all these comment threads…. anyone who dares to disagree with the holy writ of MaryAnn is insulted and ridiculed by the almighty reviewer, or even if (as in the case of Chris-E) they agree on the broader issue but have a different perspective on certain particulars.

I wonder why she even bothers to have a comment thread after each review – because any feedback that is not in line with her own views is greeted with defensiveness and arrogance.

Joe R.
Joe R.
Fri, Dec 12, 2008 11:27pm

The Flick Filosopher’s behaviour on this thread are particularly ironic given her comments in the review of “Role Models” – where she bemoans Hollywood’s condescending and humiliating treatment of certain minority groups.

Odd then that she would use the comments section at the end of the “Day The Earth Stood Still” to condescend to and humiliate someone she believes to be a member of some minority group.

It’s sad that she felt the need to distort the truth in order to do so…. labelling a person as being in denial of the existence of global warming, when, if she had actually read his various posts properly and fully, then she would realise that he is not.

Shame shame shame.

Der Bruno Stroszek
Der Bruno Stroszek
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 7:13am

Oh, for goodness sake. Joe, are you seriously suggesting that climate kooks should be considered a persecuted minority? Is this some kind of postmodern prank humour, or are there people out there who seriously think that having serious scientists regard you as silly is discrimination comparable to what Steve Biko or Harvey Milk had to stare down? I mean, I’m going out for a drive today, and I’d hate it if the road was all clogged up with waaaaaahmbulances.

Vergil
Vergil
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 7:17am

If YOU would have read HER replies “properly” you would see that she did not put words into Chris’s mouth. Yes, MaryAnn is an unapologetic screaming liberal, but anyone who can read and comprehend a co2 concentration graph over the last say 400,000 years would have to admit that she’s right about this point. LOVE your use of the word “evinced” by the way MaryAnn.

Kenny
Kenny
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 11:52am

I agree with the original review of the movie. The product placement was blatant and, as usual, out of place. There was absolutely no depiction our consumer ways forcing the biosphere’s decline, unless the blatant product placement was meant to be an ironic illustration of our real priorities. (The movie wasn’t that clever, so I doubt this was intentional.)

I also agree that the final solution, the ‘price’ should have been the alien’s first action. Klatu could have just turned our technology off for a while, walked into the UN and talked to the representatives of every major world government without hinderance.

Finally, there was a line “They (the UN) are not our leaders! I’ll take you to our leaders..” *sigh* If ONLY our leaders were Bach loving, Nobel prize winning, esoteric formula pondering scientists with gravitas and deep moral understanding.

There were things I did like about the movie. Reeves was perfect, and GORT was superb (utterly implacable and totally, incsrutably menacing.)

Ide Cyan
Ide Cyan
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 2:34pm

MaryAnn: have you heard of L. Timmel Duchamp’s Marq’ssan Cycle? It pretty much starts where you say this movie should start. http://www.aqueductpress.com/marq-cycle.html

PaulW
PaulW
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 3:01pm

I worry about Jennifer Connelly. She’s a good actress who keeps lining up for… well… questionable movies. That and her diet (or lack of one). Eat a burger, McBeal! cough, wait…

Jolly
Jolly
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 5:05pm

Not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not, Jolly, but of course no one is saying, “Don’t ever buy stuff ever again.” The idea is to be smart about what we buy and how we live, and to be sustainable about it.

Yes, MaryAnn, I was being sarcastic. However, buying “smart” is subjective, and often involves people justifying their own consumption patterns while denigrating those of others. I don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with flying or driving a Hummer. My impression is that the earth is capable of absorbing the impact of some human activities. The issue is of scale; with over 6 billion people we are capable of generating activities that are beyond the capacity of the earth to deal with. This involves hard questions about how to ration actions that have a detrimental effect on the environment. These questions have yet to addressed at any length. Talk by environmentalists about what *others* “need” generally strikes me as sanctimonious.

Your comments about the role of fast food simply confuses me. In 1985, the Soviet Union was the second largest producer of CO2 (19%). Clearly, fossil fuel driven industrialization plays a huge role. Hummers or Big Macs may be symbolic of American “excess,” but eliminating them won’t in and of itself address problems like anthropogenic climate change.

Jolly
Jolly
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 5:28pm

Excerpt from an article in the Guardian:

“According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad. The carbon emissions from such flights can swamp the green savings made at home, the researchers claim.”

http://www.flyingmatters.co.uk/templates/news_article.asp?PageID=148

Kenny
Kenny
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 5:33pm

Jolly, buying smart is not a subjective decision at all.

You say there is nothing intrinsically wrong with flying all the time or driving a Hummer, but in the next sentence you talk about it being a problem of scale… that there are 6 billion people on the planet.

So what you’re basically saying is that it would be FINE to fly everyewhere and drive a Hummer, if only there were only a couple of billion of us?

Since this is a pointless and incredibly redundant argument… I think we can safely move on… don’t you think?

There are six billion people, so we have to figure out what kind of carbon footprint the Earth can support per head of population… and stick to it.

Jolly
Jolly
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 6:05pm

Kenny, I think you’re the one missing the point. Did you get to where I wrote: “This involves hard questions about how to ration actions that have a detrimental effect on the environment. These questions have yet to addressed at any length.”

jolly
jolly
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 6:14pm

Jolly, buying smart is not a subjective decision at all.

Of course it is, when the decision is voluntary. Can you tell me what the current target is that I should be striving for to stop further accumulation of CO2? Can you claim that you’ve personally reached this milestone?

Suppose we established a personal “environmental” quota for each person, and that quota allowed for some set of activities beyond basic food and shelter. Provided that I stay within my limit, do you have any right to judge the merits of the activities that I do choose? Provided of course, that they meet other ethical criteria.

Kenny
Kenny
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 6:18pm

Yes Jolly, I got to that point… however all you’re interested in saying is that enviromentalists are sanctimonious. I’d be very surprised to find an environmentalist who wasn’t lowering their carbon footprint to the very best of their ability.
You don’t need to wait for the rationing question to be addressed at length (or rather, to your satisfaction) before you impose a bit of self discipline on your consumer activities…

Jolly
Jolly
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 6:21pm

So what you’re basically saying is that it would be FINE to fly everyewhere and drive a Hummer, if only there were only a couple of billion of us?

If sustainability is the only criteria, it’s probably acceptable to do those activities with the current population, provided that they are allocated to the privileged few. I don’t believe I indicated anywhere that everyone could do those activities for anything other than a very small population. Probably well below 2 billion…

Kenny
Kenny
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 6:21pm

And no, I would make no judgements on how you chose to spend your carbon ration… I think we can be fairly certain that your Hummer would take up most of it though :)

I hope you really love that Hummer.

Kenny
Kenny
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 6:23pm

Haha.. “Allocated to the privileged few”!!!

Jolly
Jolly
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 6:28pm

You don’t need to wait for the rationing question to be addressed at length (or rather, to your satisfaction) before you impose a bit of self discipline on your consumer activities…

Already done that. I only drive the Hummer on Tuesdays now…

Jolly
Jolly
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 6:32pm

I hope you really love that Hummer.

Funny thing is I don’t even own a car. Apparently you figure that anyone that criticizes certain aspects of the environmental creed must outright reject the underlying concerns…

Joe R
Joe R
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 8:00pm

For the record, I do think that global warming exists and I am in complete agreement with The Flick Filosopher’s political/scientific views.

What I objected to what MaryAnn’s rudeness and arrogance in the way she talks to people on the comments section of her website. Not her politics.

I liked the way Vergil and Bruno Strozsek tried to twist my words and made arrogant assumptions about my political views.

It’s not the Flick Filosopher’s politics I object to – it is her rudeness and arrogance in talking to anyone with opinions that are different from her own.

drew ryce
drew ryce
Sat, Dec 13, 2008 11:48pm

It all depends on hw you view the fundamental nature of this site, isn’t it.
If this site is analagous to MaryAnne’s “living room” then it makes perfect sense for her to set ground rules like “no smoking”, or “no holocost denial” and boot you out if you insist on lighting up.
If the site is analagous to a public gathering place, even one with a business purpose like a cafe or a bar, then you are far more likely to take offence at curbs on ones public speech.

For myself, I am inclined toward the “living room” model. MaryAnne has set the place up. It’s hers and if I don’t like her rules I can start my own salon.

That said, I suggest that MaryAnne exercise caution and restraint in her use of the boot. The hostess can ban smoking, but if she does it while she is chain smoking stoogies, it looks bad and leaves a bad feeling.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sun, Dec 14, 2008 1:39am

For the record, the only comment I have deleted from the comments thread to this post is one that agreed, 100 percent, with my stance on global warming. And I deleted it because it had absolutely goddamn nothing to do with the movie *The Day the Earth Stood Still.*

I don’t care what your politics are. I don’t care whether you disagree with me. I care that you STAY ON TOPIC. The relative merits or not of the scientific stance on global warming are NOT ON TOPIC for this thread. If this we were talking about a documentary about global warming, that might be a valid topic to follow. For this film, it is not.

Stay on topic. That’s all I care about. Honestly.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sun, Dec 14, 2008 2:35am

Now, on topic: was the Wolverine trailer worth the price of admission, MAJ? Or since you saw this in a preview screening were you exempted from having to watch ads before the movie?

They don’t show trailers at press screenings, but as soon as I can find a version online, I’ll post it as a trailer of the day.

I’ve noticed a pattern emerging on all these comment threads…. anyone who dares to disagree with the holy writ of MaryAnn is insulted and ridiculed by the almighty reviewer,

You know what? Here, on this tiny patch of the Internet, I *am* the almightly reviewer. I’m the god of this tiny demesne. And I will smite the unworthy.

MaryAnn is an unapologetic screaming liberal,

You’re suggesting there’s something one should feel the need to apologize for?

MaryAnn: have you heard of L. Timmel Duchamp’s Marq’ssan Cycle?

No, I’m not familiar with that series, so I can’t say if it bears any resemblance to how the film ends.

buying “smart” is subjective, and often involves people justifying their own consumption patterns while denigrating those of others.

Yes, that’s true.

I don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with flying or driving a Hummer.

You don’t think there’s something selfish about driving a vehicle that gets such abysmal gas mileage — and that also consumes a disproportionate amount of resources to produce itself — even as we *know* the oil will run out someday, and likely rather soon?

Clearly, fossil fuel driven industrialization plays a huge role. Hummers or Big Macs may be symbolic of American “excess,” but eliminating them won’t in and of itself address problems like anthropogenic climate change.

They are *not* just symbolic. The culture we’ve built, which involves immense investment of energy into the production of food on one side of the continent so that it can be frozen and shipped to the other side of the continent, does not have to be this way. Cheap fake food that drives out small local producers of real food impacts everything, from our carbon output to our health. It’s all connected to the killer lifestyle we are living… killer for us as individuals and killer for our environment.

I’m NOT saying that everyone should be bicycle-riding vegetarians. I’m saying that there are not-too-difficult ways that we could be living that would be better for almost everything *except* corporate bottom lines (unless those corporations were slightly more farsighted than the next fiscal quarter, and unless those corporations start taking into account the true cost of what they sell). But this movie doesn’t want to see that, even as it pretends that that’s what it’s all about.

That is infuriating, and it is absolutely right to condemn this movie for being complete and utter bullshit when it comes to confronting the real and dangerous issues facing us. It does not have the guts to truly deal with them.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sun, Dec 14, 2008 2:40am

Suppose we established a personal “environmental” quota for each person, and that quota allowed for some set of activities beyond basic food and shelter. Provided that I stay within my limit, do you have any right to judge the merits of the activities that I do choose? Provided of course, that they meet other ethical criteria.

Guys, I’m not kidding. If you want to talk about this kind of stuff, you’ve GOT TO CONNECT IT TO THE MOVIE. Otherwise, take it outside.

And, whaddaya know, I just deleted another comment, one that I did not agree with, but only because it had absolutely fuck all to do with TDTESS and was downright trollish, with obviously no intent to even speak seriously even if it was off topic. (Hint: Anyone who mentions Al Gore as an authority on global warming is probably going to get the boot, whether you’re invoking him in a positive sense or a negative one.)

Jolly
Jolly
Sun, Dec 14, 2008 3:48am

You don’t think there’s something selfish about driving a vehicle that gets such abysmal gas mileage — and that also consumes a disproportionate amount of resources to produce itself — even as we *know* the oil will run out someday, and likely rather soon?

I think the more interesting question regards the ethics of an economic system that results in an individual being able to amass the resources needed to buy and operate a Hummer while many go hungry. Middle class environmentalists like to emphasize choice, as if voluntary restraint and voting with our wallets will fix everything, when many will never be in a position to make such choices. I’m not going to say more, because I don’t think this is the venue.

Marc
Marc
Sun, Dec 14, 2008 8:07am

Well, I guess we’re all doomed now. They’re beaming it (the movie) into outer space. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/INSERTING-and-REPLACING-20th-bw-13790201.html

Jonah Falcon
Sun, Dec 14, 2008 10:46am

“I’m a little saddened by your review, but not surprised. One of the things I love about the original DtESS is its deep, unabashed irony. A bunch of aliens coming to Earth and telling us “Stop being violent!” “Or what?” “Or we’ll kill you all!” I always got a kick out of that…”

Alex, you missed the point of the first film. The aliens were afraid that we would try to destroy THEM with nuclear weapons.

MBI
MBI
Sun, Dec 14, 2008 11:12am

“Alex, you missed the point of the first film. The aliens were afraid that we would try to destroy THEM with nuclear weapons.”

Right. So they came down and threatened us with their big scary weapons because they perceived us as a threat. When the U.S. did this, it was called the “Cold War,” which is the same action that Klaatu condemns us for throughout the entire movie at great length.

Goddamn do I hate the original movie. This terrible remake is actually an improvement.

Here’s another statement I heartily disagree with: “Jennifer Connelly is a good actress who keeps lining up for… well… questionable movies.”

Completely wrong. Connelly is a bad actress whose esteem has been inflated by picking a lot of good movies to be in.

Jolly
Jolly
Sun, Dec 14, 2008 11:31am

The hostess can ban smoking, but if she does it while she is chain smoking stoogies, it looks bad and leaves a bad feeling.

My complaint would be that our hostess is nowhere near as informed as she presents herself. Take the following generalization where she extols the virtues of local food:

The culture we’ve built, which involves immense investment of energy into the production of food on one side of the continent so that it can be frozen and shipped to the other side of the continent, does not have to be this way.

I won’t disagree that production energies are a problem. However, “food miles” are bogus – goods are often shipped from abroad because the enery requirements for producing them elsewhere are lower. The following quote is from the Review – Institute of Public Affairs, on food exports from New Zealand to the UK: “Table 2 demonstrates that the CO2 footprint of apples is less, and lamb is spectacularly less, in New Zealand than in the United Kingdom. Only onions have a comparable CO2 footprint, but that is still after transportation is factored in.”

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5490/is_200707/ai_n21295693/pg_2?tag=artBody;col1

The local food movement has been recognized as a sham by people within the environmental movement.

In all fairness though, MaryAnn is a film reviewer, and probably doesn’t have the time to research sweeping claims before making them.

Kenny
Kenny
Sun, Dec 14, 2008 11:35am

The more I think about the movie.. the more pissed off I am.

Sure, they may have felt that global warming and the decline of our biosphere are so implicit that they don’t need to show them, but the product placement just served to undermine everything the movie was supposedly about.

Also I kinda have a problem with the price at the end of the movie. Klaatu stops everything from working. Every single element of our technology just grinds to a halt…
I don’t care how advanced his culture is… our technology, at its most fundamental levels, works because of the physical constants of the Universe. These same constants are what allows us to exist as living beings.

If Klaatu managed to stop electricity from working on Earth, our nerves wouldn’t transmit impulses and we’d literally be dead in a heartbeat.

Cars stopped working? They use internal combustion to run their engines… without fire, most of us will die this winter.

Finally, I may be wrong, but wasn’t that a wind up watch on the sec def’s wrist? Clockwork stopped working??