A Unique Type of Annihilation

Actually, I wanted to watch the 3D animated film, Battle for Terra, which started screening yesterday. I took half a day off from work for this purpose. I left the office at 12:00NN but, despite my intentions, I missed the screening by three minutes. I was told that I could still go in, however, the show already started. The cinema doesn’t allow repeat viewing of 3D films, so it’s either wait for the next screening time or never mind missing the opening. The latter was definitely out of the question, and I didn’t want to wander anywhere for two hours. My resolve? Go home and rent a VCD. Battle for Terra can wait for tomorrow or even on Saturday; the weekend is near anyway.

Wallpaper of The Day the Earth Stood Still from the official website.
Wallpaper of The Day the Earth Stood Still from the official website.

And so, there it was. I picked out The Day the Earth Stood Still, just to satisfy my curiosity. I wanted to watch the original 1951 film first, but it wasn’t anywhere in sight. I wonder why the original wasn’t reproduced during the release of its adaptation. Or was it? Anyway, I went to the current film’s official website and it said there that the original adaptation is available together with the current film on DVD and Blu-Ray. This would definitely entice people to buy the DVD and Blu-Ray copies. Nice marketing strategy, eh? You can visit the official site here.

Basing from accounts of the original film, an alien visits Earth after World War II (1939-1945) to warn people of a possible nuclear destruction. The alien, Klaatu (played then by Michael Rennie) and his robot, Gort (Lock Martin) land at a mall in Washington. Of course, the aliens were attacked by soldiers and Klaatu was wounded. Gort retaliates but he was eventually stopped by Klaatu. Klaatu then throws on a disguise and lives among the human race to understand humankind. He warns humanity to stop using nuclear weapons. He is shot dead within the film, gets revived by Gort after a receiving a message (“Klaatu barada niktu,” whatever that means) and leaves Earth, advising the human race not to extend violence to outer space.

Poster of the original film.
Poster of the original film.

Now, the present adaptation is much different. Instead of post 1945, the aliens visit Earth in 2008, not to warn against nuclear destruction, but to actually determine if it should be destroyed. See, there’s one of them already living in the Earth for 75 years—his mission was to monitor human activity and attitude. Now according to his diagnosis, we are destructive and any negotiations with us are futile. This convinces Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) to proceed with “Operation Save the Earth—Save the Earth from Humanity.” According to Klaatu, if the Earth dies, humanity dies; but if humanity dies first, the Earth will go on living. Sort of like Earth’s way of self-preservation. Walang personalan! (Don’t get too personal!)

Now, Klaatu and Gort (he’s CGI in here) arrive on an orb-shaped ship not in a Washington mall, but in Central Park, Manhattan. Everything else stays truthful to the original film, except (I think) for the role of Jacob Benson (Jaden Smith). Also, the Helen Benson in the original film (played by Patricia Neal) is now Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) in the present. It is because of Jacob and Helen’s portrayal of the good side of human emotion that Earth is spared from eradication.

I didn’t like it… and I didn’t hate it either. It’s one of those films that I consider to be “in-between.” I actually didn’t like the story—not very much engaging—I knew how it would end. However, the acting was above average, and the effects were actually great! I got teary-eyed towards the end, but the tears never did fall. That’s just it! I’m not too excited about it, but it never did fail to entertain. I don’t know with fanatics of the original, but I figured they were disappointed with this modern revival. Oh well…

Let me know what you thought of the film.

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Published by

Recis Dempayos

Budding YouTuber / vlogger, occasional blogger, aspiring multimedia artist.

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