15 December 2008

The Day The Earth Stood Completely Unimpressed with Hollywood

This GORT Thing Could Stop Humanity But Couldn't Refund my 9 bucks

Since our beginning, mankind has looked up to the heavens in the hopes of a more intelligent race passing on the secrets of the cosmos. But, watching alien Keanu bumble through his lines would probablyy result in sending these interstellar lifeforms back to where they came from. The movie's premise is that the earth must be saved from the humans, because if there's anything Hollywood doesn't like it's average schmoes (who ironically pay for their lifestyles). Keanu is the representative of these blood thirsty aliens hell-bent on our extinction, and he plunks his oversized, spherical shaped blob of attitude right onto our beloved Central Park in NYC. The "warmongering" humans arrive with a show of force to ask this yahoo from outer space a few questions, and all of a sudden we're the assholes! In an obvious slam against techniques used by the Bush Administration, the acting Prez (Kathy Bates) wants to sequester alien Keanu for "further interrogation". Obviously the message here is that a cabal of Lynndie England, Halliburton, and Sarah Palin's hunting buddies are solely responsible for the complete downfall of the human race. Keanu then trots around with Jennifer Connelly for awhile, in which she explains that "we can change", which is supposed to be plug for Obama (uh, I guess). Then, Keanu uses his throwback robot to 50s schlock, GORT, to make it so all electronic devices on earth collapse, so humans can redeem themselves in an orgy of PETA fundraisers and sailing off into the sunset on Al Gore's carbon-neutral boat. The End.

If Hollywood is trying to push Global Warming awareness, in what Kurt Loder remarks as "An intergalactic Al Gore, great", they probably should have picked a different month than when America usually gets ravaged by ice storms. The concept of eradicating all technology so we can "start over" doesn't take into account the inevitable cannibalism, war and famine that usually accompanies such a sudden loss of resources. Perhaps they'll leave that for the sequel!

Hollywood has tackled social issues with the apocalypse-themed movie in the past, and they have certainly withstood the test of time. Classics like They Live showed the devastation of Reganomics, Dawn of the Dead highlighted the stupidity of society due to obsessive consumerism, and Children of Men took on the rampant decay of civil society. But the Day the Earth Stood Still is so heavy on self-righteousness, that it feels little details like plot and character development are unecessary for this spaceman opus. And I even admit to being a shameless Keanu apologist, because I view his characters as some permutation of Ted from Wyld Stallyns. In Parenthood there was Boyfriend Ted, in Matrix there was Hacker Ted, and in Point Break there was Surfer Cop Ted. But, unlike the alien E.T. who pedaled his way into our hearts back in '82, Alien Ted only makes you look at your watch and wonder why you continune to waste your life in movie theaters.

On a positive note, Will Smith's son (Jaden Smith) had a good role as the lone voice who dared to ask of the alien invader "Why don't we just kill this guy?" The only sane voice in a movie full of actors thinking they're Mother Teresa incarnates for making us movie-going rubes aware of the problems the Earth faces. I hope that kid goes far in Hollywood and makes movies for the sake of...(wait for it)...people enjoying the movie.