Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The day the earth stood still, 1951 film and 2008 remake

Just found a film from 1951 that had parallels to Christ that were partly censored:
" The day the Earth stood still "
Wikipedia says:
In a 1995 interview, producer Julian Blaustein explained that Joseph Breen, the film censor installed by the Motion Picture Association of America at the Twentieth Century Fox studios, balked at the portrayal of Klaatu's resurrection and limitless power.[3] At the behest of the MPAA, a line was inserted into the film; when Helen asks Klaatu whether Gort has unlimited power over life and death, Klaatu explains that he has only been revived temporarily and "that power is reserved to the Almighty Spirit."[3][5] Of the elements that he added to Klaatu's character, screenwriter Edmund North said, "It was my private little joke. I never discussed this angle with Blaustein or Wise because I didn't want it expressed. I had originally hoped that the Christ comparison would be subliminal."[6] The fact that the question even came up in an interview is proof enough that such comparisons did not remain subliminal, but they are subtle enough that it is not immediately obvious to all viewers which elements were intended to compare Klaatu to Christ.[7][8] For example, when Klaatu escapes from the hospital, he steals the clothing of a "Maj. Carpenter," carpentry being the profession Jesus learned from his father Joseph. At the end, he rises from the dead and ascends into the sky. Other similarities include his apprehension at night, being a friend to children, having wisdom and knowledge far beyond any human being, and the people wanting a sign.
The 2008 remake has more biblical themes.
Klaatu is perplexed by this, but continues to proceed toward eliminating the human species infecting the planet. He orders smaller spheres—hidden on Earth—to begin taking animal species off the planet. Helen drives Klaatu to a forest near a pond. She witnesses Klaatu summoning a sphere that collects various species (evoking Noah's Ark) as Klaatu walks on water. Around the planet, the spheres collect other life forms. Helen quizzes Klaatu about his statement that he has come to save the Earth and discovers that he thinks the only way to save the planet is to exterminate humans. She begs him to realize that humans can change. A police officer driving by the pond notices strange activity. He sees Klaatu and recognizes him as the wanted man. Drawing his gun he confronts Klaatu, who defends himself by using telekinesis to move Helen's car to run the officer over, killing him. But Klaatu then revives the officer by applying some of the placenta and then laying hands on his head, Lazarus-like, and raises the officer from the dead.
Hoping to appeal to Klaatu to change his mind about humanity and save it instead, Helen takes him to the home of Nobel Prize-winning Professor Barnhardt (John Cleese), where they discuss how Klaatu's own race went through a drastic evolution to survive their own star's demise.
In meantime, the robot, named "GORT" (Genetically Organized Robotic Technology) by the United States government, is subjected to experiments in an underground facility in Virginia. Trying in vain to drill into the robot, the drill bit inadvertently releases Gort's genetic material which produces winged insect-like entities. Eventually the robot's form dissolves into a swarm of these "insects". The self-replicating miniature robots begin erasing all humans and every human-made item in their path. However, it does not destroy grass, trees or non-human organisms. Apparently if unstopped the swarm will erase all vestiges of the human race, leaving the planet in its natural state. The swarm is heading to Manhattan, where the major sphere is located.
[ ps If aliens really wanted to help this planet they could do so by giving us the technology to make a difference eg large scale electricity storage systems, a plastic replacement that is totally biodegradable to leave only non toxic remains, a way of manufacturing phosphate and potash from scratch, or just take most folk off this planet and ship us to virgin Earths in other solar systems. ]

Why didn't Klaatu just speak to all the world leaders on their laptops or smartphones while hovering in the globe spacecraft  at satellite distance - better than getting dead ended with Regina Jackson, secretary of defense ? At 1:08 on the DVD Klaatu is made to say, " Technology is not the answer " but I think technology is the answer. Smart aliens would have the technology to enable humans to manage the ecosystem in a sustainable way. Aliens could have given us materials  which were fully biodegradable to non toxic chemical. They could also have given us ways of generating electrity that would last thousands of years without causing any harm to the environment. They could have shown how to safely treble crop yields so that more are could be used as wildlife habitat. They could have shown how to make tropical rain forest produce so many useful things that the rain forest were worth more intact than converted to pasture for beef cattle etc
At least Barnhardt shows more interest in understanding Klaatu than just trying to fight with him

Maybe Klaatu could have been made to say to Barnhardt, " I will download all the information you need onto you computer " Well Klaatu could have send emails to the top scientists and engineers , secretly - without causing a world wide panic. What happened to Mr Wu ? Why hadn't he at least invented a large scale electricity storage system so that electricity from solar panels could be stored for use at night or winter ? Odd how the aliens and gods that people write about are no more " On the ball " than the average person on the street ? Well I suppose it wouldn't make for thrilling  melodrama if aliens just came along and solved all our problems in a quiet, civilized way

In the original 1951 film " The day the Earth stood still " . At 40min on DVD, Klaatu asks Prof Barnhardt, " You have faith ? ( In me ) " Barnhardt replies with the winning line, " It isn't faith that makes good science, it's curiosity " Sadly this line was missed from the 2008 remake in which, at 1hr08, on DVD Klaatu is made to speak as stupidly as God, " Technology is not the answer " Maybe vast leaps forward in our technology could make long term sustainable life on Earth possible, as well as colonizing other exoplanets ?
At first I thought it was dumb to have Klaatu act as stupidly as Biblegod, wouldn't aliens who could make it to Earth need to have been so much more intelligent ? However now I think it was smart to make Klaatu say stupid things if he was supposed to be the parallel of Jesus, it maybe excuses the viewer to contest & challenge and realize there were better ways to think ( without fear of going against their religious beliefs )
Also interesting in the 2008 remake that at the start of film they have a glowing sphere ice ball which could be a parallel to burning bush and Moses, except it didn't speak.
Are the 1951 & 2008 versions like different gospels where each playwright was wanting to tell slightly different stories - to draw out different points.

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