No Gort!! No "Klaatu Barada Nikto"!! Uncapie Goes Postal On THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL Remake Script!!
Published at: April 9, 2008, 8:15 a.m. CST by merrick
Yo! I'm Uncapie!
Everyone has seen the stand alone, classic 1951 film, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" directed by Robert Wise starring Michael Rennie as "Klaatu". It was based on Harry Bates' "Farewell To the Master" and is science fiction at its best.
Now they're remaking it in Vancouver. Keanu Reeves is in the lead role as the visitor from another planet with a warning for Earth.
What was wrong with the original that merits a remake?
After I read the script, I threw it against the wall.
The story starts out with a promising beginning. Astronauts aboard the space shuttle discover a glassy sphere, which they recover through their bay doors.
No sooner as they do, the sphere (as if it has a will of its own) lets itself out, joining thousands of other spheres that head towards the surface of the Earth.
That's only the first two pages. Now it gets worse.
Scientist Dr. Helen Benson (portrayed by Jennifer Connolly) has a whiny son, Jacob. He's not as interesting as Bobby Benson in the original, and I'm real tired of the dysfunctional family theme. Jacob plays too many "violent" video games, Helen scolds him for it. She might as well put a dress on this kid and get it over with. Yet, they live in a violent world - we discover that Jacob's father was killed in Iraq.
An enormous energy sphere shows up in New York, and good ol' Klaatu makes his appearance. The entire army and air force are ready to stomp his ass if he gets out of line.
Of course he gets shot, and we do get a robot to come out of the ship. But its nothing like "Gort" - nor is it as fierce as "Gort."
Its called the "Totem". It walks around on all fours, does its destructo-ray stuff, and stands upright like a totem pole when its finished.
Oooooh, I'm soooooo scared.
Cut to the chase.
Klaatu enters the hospital. He escapes in a military uniform. There is no allusion to the "Major Carpenter" or "Carpenter" name, which is the subtext in the original film (Klaatu was a metaphor for Christ).
Klaatu befriends Helen and Jacob, enlisting their aid to meet with a "Mr. Wu" who is from Klaatu's home planet. Wu who has been monitoring Earth's behavior for eighty years - at a McDonald's of all places.
Okay, logic problem here.
If Klaatu is sent from his planet to destroy the Earth, why do we need Mr. Wu to tell us that it needs obliterating if he's already here? What? He couldn't do the job himself? How did he get here in the first place? Where's his space ship? Why wait eighty years? Why would Klaatu have to travel a hundred million light years for Mr. Wu to tell him that - when Klaatu is already doing the job he's sent on (coming from his home planet to destroy our world)?
Turns out that...because of Global Warming (and the destruction of our own planet with industrial waste and pollution)....the other galaxies deemed that we are not fit to survive. The glass spheres they sent down were to collect land and sea animal specimens to take back to their planet for study.
Visions ran through my head when I was reading this script: episodes of the sixties versions of "Ultraman" or "Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot." Maybe "Prince of Space: Part II" with Klaatu as "Krang-Kor." "Ha...ha...ha..."
And no, the immortal words, "Klaatu Barada Nicto" are never uttered. Ever.
Needless-to-say, Earth goes through a violent energy field released through Klaatu's ship (wait a minute - wasn't Gort supposed to be the ultimate bad ass in this story?). But Earth survives, with Klaatu giving we humans a second chance as he dies - telling us that we must change our ways in order to survive, in a delivery that would rival Steven Segal's speech at the end of "On Deadly Ground."
Maybe the title song from "Godzilla Vs. the Smog Monster" would be more appropriate.
And you can bet they'll be no Theramin music either. Maybe a few tunes by Dogstar, though.
Gone are the interaction between Bobby and Klaatu at the Lincoln Memorial, the Arlington Cemetery, and the visit to the space ship.
Gone is the scene with Bobby discovering Gort taking out the two guards - and finding out that Carpenter is an alien.
Gone is the Hugh Marlowe character.
Professor Barnhardt is in it, but his role his limited. Plus, he gets killed. Why? He was the voice of reason. This makes no sense.
Yes, there is a scene where everything in the world stops for an hour and chaos erupts, but it was done in the original much better...and with style.
There are so many books out there just begging to be made into films, why does Fox have to remake a classic? Why not film Joe Haldeman's,"Forever Wars"? Or "Alfred Bester's "The Stars My Destination"? Or Arthur C. Clarke's "Rendezvous With Rama"? Or "Childhood's End"? Or the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson? Or quit stalling Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" as a movie?
I have no hopes for this as a film. It can't hold a candle to the timeless original. Call it something else, but don't call it "Day the Earth Stood Still."