THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2008) (Netflix) – In my continuing effort to evaluate just how badly ‘classic’ movies can be re-made, I’m braving Keanu Reaves. I had the key phrase ready, just in case. Apparently the famous “Klaatu barada nikto!” line is spoken twice in the film, both times by Klaatu. If it was, it was subtle and I didn’t catch it. Wikipedia says there’s one as Gort goes on his first over-protective rampage, and the other at the end with the orb.
This film shows not the invasion of the Planet, but of the sad state of United States science education, where kids can grow up, go to school, become scientists, and still not understand basic science. Somehow they think that polygraphs work on anything, least of all on aliens, and that while a general anaesthetic might not work on an alien, a local should totally be fine.
Which option would you pick given two scenarios; a) all life wiped off the face of the earth in a short stretch of time by ravenous metal bugs b) reverting overnight to a seriously over-crowded, unsustainable and brutal feudal society overnight. Well, let’s just say that Klaatu picked for us, and Klaatu’s a dick.
All things considered, I really did find this to be a decent adaptation of the 1951 film. Motivations are left a little less clear, and less preachy than the original. Damn it, Keanu was good in it too, though the film really did call for an emotionless robot, so there you go.
WINTER’S BONE (iTunes) – Thematically, there’s something here that reminds me of ANIMAL KINGDOM, but set in Missouri and much much sadder. I was left feeling like everything here was really out of the hands of the characters, where in ANIMAL KINGDOM nearly every single one of them deserved what they got. Here, with this girl just trying to provide for her brother and sister. She tries to get answers from a scary cross-section of her extended family. It feels real – something of a documentarian approach that is horrifying. Every character here seems so lonely, lost, ruined.
I was reminded of this film recently when I watched NO RESERVATIONS with Anthony Bourdain apparently trying to kill WINTER’S BONE author Daniel Woodrell.