Everyone Has Reversals

Story Lessons, Big and Small (Warning: Spoilers!)

December 28, 2008

Open Letter to "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (Remake)

Dear Mr. Earth Stood Still,

After recently seeing you in the theatre, I have some questions, and one note of sympathy, I'd like to express to you.

Question #1
: What exactly are you about? I understand that the aliens have come to destroy humanity because we are effing up our planet and the planet is, in the grand scheme of things, very valuable. Truth be told, when Klaatu states this as the reason for our impending destruction, I feel he had a good point. But at no time do any characters acknowledge this is a good point. Nor do any characters stage an argument about how we as people might change in order to 'save the planet'.

I understand Klaatu was apparently moved by human beings' capacity to love... but how does this change the problem of our destruction of the earth? Showing the capacity to love might be the antidote in a film about, say, cold war nuclear brinksmanship... but how does one woman hugging a child mitigate the whole "your society has ruined the planet" thing? Hugging and spraying CFCs into the atmosphere are not mutually exclusive.

Question #2
: Is your solution to our problem, as shown by the "happy ending", that we power down and go 'back to nature'? Does this seem a little -- I don't know, simplistic to you? 'Cause you know we're just going to go right back to burning coal, and that shit is nasty.

Question #3
: Did you consider at all that your message might be taken more seriously if it were more interesting? Less predictable and slow? Full of fewer cliches? Just an idea... what if the Nobel-winning physicist (or whatever) as played by John Cleese did not, in fact, argue that humans 'can change' -- as one would expect him to? What if he was the one voice that believed Klaatu's mission was just? Then perhaps there would have been -- just a thought -- an actual debate in you, rather than the (dull) unified assumption that humans are indeed awesome.

Question #4
: Did you ever, at any point, consider allowing some moments of humour? All the best movies -- whatever the genre -- have moments that make an audience smile. It's what makes us care. It has been a long time since I have seen such a humourless movie... did you think that because you were about something 'important' you had to be absolutely no fun? I assure you that humour is humanity, and your absence of one belies the absence of the other.

Note of sympathy
: I just wanted to say I'm sorry that it appears that not one person who was involved in your creation felt any passion. If they had, you might have had a chance.


A Viewer Upset Her Holiday Time was Wasted on You

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