Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Putting the "Science" Back in Science Fiction

So last night Amanda and I finally saw The Day the Earth Stood Still and we thoroughly enjoyed it (though I might have a little more, I definitely must give her dad credit for weening her on Star Trek and 50's sci-fi classics). I heard mixed reviews on it, and yes I know it didn't stick to the 1951 story exactly, but what did surprise me was that it stuck to the way 50's Sci-Fi was made, and then beefed it up a bit.

Let me explain myself. 1950's Science Fiction used to be exactly what it says it the title and would show through in the movies. Their would always be the scientist-hero in the story, and some form of government/military always did stupid stuff with Science winning out in the end. Also, their would be some portion of the film where said scientist would get to explain real scientific principles. The Day the Earth Stood Still stuck to this winning formula.

John Cleese and Jennifer Connelly play said hero-scientists who end up saving the world while politicians and military over-react and worry about protecting themselves. The movie opens with a micro-biological discussion led by Jennifer Connelly on organisms that are able to live on one of the moons of Jupiter (?) Then there is a medical surgery scene that seemed pretty real to the actual practice, the "As scientists we cannot do what you are asking us to" bit, and the Klaatu (alien played by Keanu Reeves, perfect casting) helps a scientist (Dr. Barnhardt by Cleese) solve an equation scene...and I loved it all!!

On top of having these types of scenes that don't happen in Sci-fi a lot these days, the creators of this new edition added in some cool explosions, a better protector-robot version of GORT, a way cooler spaceship for Klaatu, and all the great special effects to go along with those that new-age Sci-Fi can provide.

The Day the Earth Stood Still blends the old and new of Sci-Fi beautifully and provides a good message about protecting the planet without getting too preachy or self-righteous (there is no "ooh, our spaceship is 'green'" crap, just "take care of your planet or die"). Just an all-around fun movie and a fun remake of the original.

1 comment:

Jodi Jean said...

interesting ... i've never seen the original. i'll have to netflix it when i can.