Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Dec 18, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still

To be absolutely clear: I didn't see this movie. I'm not *going* to see this movie. I'm not really reviewing it, I'm just noting how philosophically horrific this movie is.

The basic premise seems to be that humans are "destroying" the earth and thus some super-powerful aliens have decided to get rid of humanity in order to "save" the earth. What are we doing that's so bad? Technology.

Now, here's where it just gets STUPID. How the hell did these aliens get the power to destroy us WITHOUT technology? We're being attacked by super-powerful HYPOCRITES? Wow, that's inspirational.

In addition to this spectacular bit of idiocy, the trailers gave some evidence that a Jesus-like sacrifice will be required on the part of the female protagonist in order to prevent this catastrophe. (I don't know if this actually happens or not.)

If you are confronted by presumptuous hypocritical aliens demanding sacrifices, do yourself (and, by extension, the rest of us) a favor and tell them to go to hell--which is the only rational and appropriate response. Like Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men, don't give someone holding you hostage the excuse of pretending that it's *your* fault that they are killing *you*. They don't even deserve *that* much concession.


Brandon said...

I've been watching many movies lately, paying special attention to their underlying philosophies. While I can and do enjoy many philosophically imperfect movies if they have redeeming aspects, some are really depraved.

Recently, I saw Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki. It was recommended on the ObjectivismOnline forums, but I could not get over the heroine's blatant pacifism and environmentalism which seemed to be the focus of the movie. When she killed *her father's murderers* in a bout of rage, she cried and regret what she had done. Later, when her kidnappers were being killed for reasons she did not know, she cried for it to stop and stood in front of the guns to end it. Then, of course, the basic message of the movie seemed to be that insects and nature should be respected like any human (or more so). Ugh! I'll stick to Spirited Away.

If I see "The Day the Earth Stood Still," should someone invite me to do so, I'll fill you in on how it actually plays out. But I don't plan on it.

Thanks for the post! I enjoy your movie commentary.


Brian said...

Stick with the original. It actually had a decent message given what we're used to seeing on the big screen.

Daniel said...

Hi. I'm doing sort of the same thing over at The Nearby Pen--that is, reviewing books and movies (from an Objectivist perspective). Hope you'll stop by if you have the time...

W. Hoffman said...

It's not surprising that the message was changed for the modern audience. I saw the original with Patricia Neal, who interestingly played Dominique in the film version of "The Fountainhead", and Michael Rennie (as Klaatu) and Sam Jaffe (as the peaceful scientist modeled after Einstein).

The message for the original was quite different. Humanity was threatened with extinction by a conglomerate of races who had agreed to equip a police force with absolute authority in the event of aggression, and our coming of age atomically and in terms of space flight put us on the watch list.

Even as a young child I saw this for what it was. I put it to anyone that a movie made presenting the equivalent attitude by the US towards say, Trobrianders or any other society so primitive as to believe us omnipotent, would be rejected out of hand as exhibiting classical imperialism.

As SF, it should have been the first of a trilogy, with Part II presenting our emergence as a space-faring race who could not be cowed by the all-powerful Gorts.