Monday, December 15, 2008

Unbeatable True Love? -- The Day the Earth Stood Still

A remake of Black-and-White classic, plus Keanu Reeves, the new “The Day the Earth Stood Still” somehow did not impress me as it should have.

From Cold War to environment protection, Aliens sent the messages, and human kind seems never listened. At the end of the day, the handsome Alien guy (or I should say, a clone) was so touched by the single mother he met, that he sacrificed himself to terminate the program that was supposed to destroy mankind. Looks like true love can beat anything, even Aliens… But just can’t image those high-tech Aliens still use palm recognition to trigger the switch!

The relationship between the mother scientist and the stepson costs a lot of effort, but was it really worthy? The little boy’s imagination about his Rambo-like father looks so unreal, even for a little boy. The mother chose to escape with the Alien guy (given that the guy looks just the same as Keanu Reeves, that’s understandable…) yet still taking a little boy with them? Why not just put the boy at the Professor’s house? That looks much wiser, more like a scientist’s choice, not a panic mother. Or, they just want to keep Mr. Smith Junior in the show. And after the mother was captured, the boy made friends with the Alien within seconds! Amazing? Or I should say, just a human nature of survival?

From Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly to Jaden Smith, the face expressions increased, in that order; and the drama we could feel decreased, in that order. Young Smith got a very emotional acting gift, but that could not save the failure of the scripts. Keanu is almost without any expressions, but God know we just like that! His acting is making you think, about every word he said, and every flash in his eyes. But pls exclude the part about two Aliens talking in McDonald, in Chinese! I can tell you that their Mandarin is very lousy, and I just don’t understand why the writers use such a scene to try to flatter Chinese-speaking audience. To be frank, I only felt insulted. For Jennifer, it seems that how she understands the word “mother” is, as long as the child is at present, you see nothing, talk about nothing, and do for nothing, except for the kid. Ideal mother, which never exists. But in the scenes she is alone or with Keanu, we can still see what a good actress should do. Pity for her Gothic-looking face, maybe she should try again if she is playing the Alien next time.
The Madam Secretary is an obvious metaphor to Rice. The U.S.-central theory is so out-of-date, especially given the news that Mr. Obama called China for help. So I just don’t know whether the scripts were really meant for this theory (I suppose the scripts had been finished before the sub-prime crisis), or this is just a joke. Either way, it makes me even more disgusted. The lines that the U.S. President gave the stupid order of using missiles against the Aliens while he himself (I assume that he is a “he”) were hiding in a “safe location”, are really typical to the current Mr. President. God blessed he is soon to leave.

There are always a lot of digital effects in such a movie nowadays. But the scene that a stadium was destroyed by the “metal locusts” looks not that gorgeous. Maybe they should try the Lady Liberty next time? As a reference, I suggest them (and you too, if you have interests) to watch the Japanese movie “Sinking of Japan”. Also a remake from a classic some 30 yrs ago, this latest one “destroyed” a lot of grand Buddha statues, castles, palaces and other famous buildings in Japan. That, is what I call “destroy human kind”, by destroying all the icons of human civilization, not just a stadium, not some mountains or rivers (that is what I call “destroy the nature”). And one bug I found about digital effects is the scene that when Klaatu and Helen were talking in the cemetery, the yellow leaves on the ground were waved up by the wind, but the trees in the background didn’t move a single twig! Keanu looks like to be “pasted” to the background actually. Even if they need to do sth to the clouds, it should not be that hard to use a more vivid way to do that.

BTW, is there anything related to “earth stood still” here? Actually I wanna call this movie “The Day the Alien Visited”.

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