Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Earth Stood Still, Again

People with reasonably decent memories or post-traumatic stress disorder will remember that in January I held forth on the subject of the classic 1950s sci-fi film The Day The Earth Stood Still and reached the potentially fearsome conclusion that I didn't like it much. However, now all bets are off because I am watching the almost definitely a good idea 2008 remake.

It's at the the early stages so far but the all the indications so far point to the frightening reality that the film's star, Keanu Reeves, is not going to be essaying the part of Gort - the eight-foot tall solid titanium robot who barely ever moves and is completely mute. If only Gort had had a cut-glass English accent, eh?

So far it's a very different film altogether. As with all modern films, it follows the now standard dictate that a film should have a beginning, a middle and an end but almost never in that order, with a weather eye on pissing me off. The film started in the mountains of India in 1927 with a bearded Keanu Reeves (he's almost definitely not going to be Gort is he? Bugger.) before jumping ahead to the modern day scientific community. Presumably Keanu Reeves, now 110 years of age, is going to lay some truths on the finest minds in astro physics, nuclear physics and civil engineering.

Gallingly, none of this is very likely to happen. On the plus side, a space rocket is about to crash land into Manhattan, an exciting film scenario but an eventuality which, if it ever happened in real life, would result in a war on Jupiter.

I am not sold on film remakes at all. If they are good remakes then they are, by their very definition, pointless. If they are bad remakes then all that they will do is hasten everyone's inevitable demise, as blood pressure skyrockets. The best that you can hope for is to aim at insane, camp, schlocky crap. The vaulting ambition of the modern day screenwriter, there.

Gort, a noted shit

Still, at least this particular remake isn't taking it scene-by-scene as some offenders in this category have done. A pointless, scene-by-scene remake of a film with Keanu Reeves in it and he doesn't even play Gort would be too much to bear. And as a film, it's not been so bad so far. Keanu Reeves has been largely absent and an opening credit sequence mention of John Cleese has mercifully so far proved to be a false alarm.

Perhaps he's going to be playing Gort.

But in this day and age of interwebs and wireless doohickeys and almost completely rampant piracy, it's damn near impossible to justify the remake of any film. Any impressionable youth worth his salt will just go and find the original on Netflix (yeah, right) or on a torrent site and watch that instead. And all the CGI Gorts in the world, mercifully inaccurate threats of John Cleese and performances considerably less restrained and dignified than that of Michael Rennie by Keanu Reeves will never be able to save it. Its $80 million dollar budget would have been better spent on saving the world from itself (this is, after all, the overall message of both films) or, even better, manufacturing us a real Gort.

Ain't no god damn preachy sumbitch aliens going to mess with our planet once we've got a fuckin' Gort.

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