Sunday, May 30, 2010
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) A.
I saw the original 'Day the Earth Stood Still' and immediately followed it with the 2008 remake that has made so many people so angry. I'm of the opinion that classics must be respected, and therefore remain untouched. That's why in this world it would be a crime if we ever see 'Citizen Kane' or 'The Third Man' remade. but those are classics in the best sense of the word and the fact that they won't be remade is a testament of the respect they're held with. I don't think 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' has earned that same respect, that same undisputed honor. It's a classic for sure and indubitably a great motion picture. But it's not valued in the same way those other movies are. When you think about remaking it, there's a certain level of curiosity that makes you wonder if this story could be improved upon. After all, Science Fiction in the 1950's is nothing like Science Fiction in this modern era. Perhaps an update would work, if nothing else, as an experiment. But here's the thing: it's not the visual wonder or heavily Scientific plot that makes the original work so well. It's the human story line, the wonderfully subtle performances, and the potent message about the world's invasion of other planets. The movie is about peace, not war, about a man with a simple mission, not a battle between man and alien. Unlike the old Science Fiction stories when technology hadn't developed, this movie is calm and steady in its approach. It has no corny pretensions or unnecessary exaggerations. And the ultimate key to the film is its closing scene, when the alien makes an offer and then leaves. The movie doesn't try to resolve its conflict. It simply presents a warning and a very good one, at least for a Science Fiction story.