I just got done reading one of the most absurd articles I have ever read. Alex Billington recently wrote an article in which he compares the original ‘The Day the Earth stood Still Movie' with the remake and I couldn't believe what I was reading! This guy runs a website called Firstshowing.net and Billington has had some brain farts before, but this one takes the cake. I am going to go through parts of his article and point out certain things that are just blasphemies for anyone who says they are movie geeks. Before I begin I will have you know I have not seen the remake of ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still' yet, but from the trailer and reviews have read, I have a really good idea of what it is going to be like.
Just so you know as a hardcore film geek this article really just pissed me off because he is leading people astray, and lying to them. The first thing I have to point out is that Billington saw the remake first, then went back and watched the original film because he had never seen it before!
And a funny thing happened - I really disliked the original, a lot. There I've said it, and it'll probably instantly discredit me from writing about movies forever. Derrickson's remake is by no means a perfect film, but I gained a lot more appreciation for it after I saw how horrid and cheesy the original was. Sure it was a great film for its time, maybe, but it's no longer 1951. And in 2008, watching it for the very first time, I wondered how anyone could still enjoy it and yet stomp all over Derrickson's remake?
Hell yeah, you have been discredited! How can any self proclaimed movie geek not like the original film?! Any remake of a film is easy to stomp all over because most of them are not as good as the original and shallow. Back in the day filmmakers had balls and knew how to tell a good story.
Maybe I just grew up loving the spectacle of movies more than the story; Home Alone and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the films that defined me and my generation when I was a kid. That doesn't discredit me, that just means I have an opinion that may differ from everyone. And I tried to sit back and enjoy the original, I tried to appreciate it for what it was and compare it fairly to the remake. But they just did so many things better this time around...
Hell! I grew up watching those same movies and I still embrace the older movies for what they are and how they inspired the movies that we have today. I hate these kinds of people that write off older movies just because they are in black and white or because the effects aren't as good as they are now.
Billigton is 100% discredited as a film writer for the simple fact that he clearly states he cares more about the spectacle of the film than the story. The story is the back bone of any film! And back in the day because the effects were limited the main thing they had to rely on was story, and the story for the original movie is as solid as a story can get you fool! Hell yeah I'm pissed!
The studios love this kind of audience. Oh yeah you know the kind I'm talking about. The ones that leave their brains at home when they go out to the movies. I know there are movies out there that are brainless films that we enjoy, but we enjoy them for what they are. The same way people need to respect older movies for what they are.
If you want to talk about cheesy, just count the number of times the kid mentions "gee whiz" or "ah swell" in the original. Sure that was how kids spoke at the time, but you don't hear little Jaden Smith saying things like "OMG" or "like, you know" in the remake. Even the message in it is so much more poignantly conveyed. In the original, Klaatu stands on his ship at the end, makes a muddled statement about saving humanity, and flies off with the understanding that they'll be "waiting for our answer." There was no real threat. In the remake, there's a brilliant scene where John Cleese explains that only on the brink of chaos, do we actually change. And the threat was very real this time...
One thing I have heard about the remake is that Jadens character just goes around screaming about his daddy being gone. What drove the original film was the relationship between Mr. Carpenter and Bobby, and about there being no real threat? What the hell? Is he serious? Did Billington even understand the film he was watching? I guess the original film was just way over his head because it had a story and everything.
Speaking in terms of acting, Keanu Reeves is a much better Klaatu than Michael Rennie. Reeves' Klaatu has so much definition and is very out-of-place on our planet, whereas Rennie's Klaatu is just like any other typical human. There's nothing that makes him distinct or makes him alien in any way. With Reeves, you can tell he doesn't really fit in his body, he's completely emotionless, and is using that human form only as a way of connecting with the people of Earth. In the original, Rennie comes off as just another human with the same emotions and sensibilities as any other actor. And claiming that it was just good "at the time it was made" is not a reasonable excuse for bad acting.
Gee Wiz! Keanu Reeves plays the same blasted character in this film that he plays in all the other films he makes! Michael Rennie as Klaatu was great! He was commanding and bold, and he spoke with authority. In the original Klaatu didn't come to earth to tell the humans ‘Their time was up' he came to warn them. Apparently in the new film Klaatu has no control of what is going on around him and he leaves the fate of the world in Gort's hands. Reeves is monotone, emotionless, and dry in most of his movies. Now I do enjoy watching Keanu because he gets these roles that fit his acting abilities and the characters he plays works for the films he is in. But, to come out and say Micheal Rennie is a bad actor is uncalled for.
What's really getting under my skin on this is that everyone holds the original in such high regard, yet they can easily tear apart the remake. Have any of them even watched the original recently? It doesn't really stand up to time anymore and that's exactly what I felt when I watched it. I don't believe judging classics by what they achieved when they were released is the best way to judge every movie...
Doesn't stand the test of time? Really? I guess there are no more weapons or war in the world anymore. The message of the original still stands the test of time unless all of the nuclear weapons in the world have disappeared recently. Billington has totally missed the point of the original film. Instead of coming to Earth and attacking us, like the remake does, we are warned. We're warned because we think we're the only ones in this enormous galaxy and because our actions could effect others. The original is a movie about peace! According to Billington movies that promote peace in the world don't stand the test of time. I guess peace is overrated.
In the original, they also allowed for a similar bit of interpretation, but it connected with the time that the movie came out because Klaatu actually mentions atomic power and violence as his concerns. And at the time, that's what people were afraid of the most. And if I must make the comparison, the message in the remake is so much more brilliantly conceived than that of the original.
Hold on. Just stop right there mister. Are you saying that atomic power and violence is not relative to our time? Oh sure, back in the day everyone was afraid of being blown up. We don't worry about that today at all, thank goodness. Nope. North Korea and Iran are not acquiring nuclear weapons anymore, and those suicide bombings in the mid east are just clumsy people carrying bombs that are accidently setting them off. The message of the original film is still as important today as it was back when the movie was made, even more so!
And once it hits theaters next weekend, I challenge anyone to fairly compare the original The Day the Earth Stood Still to the remake and provide some actual legitimate reasons why one is better than the other. And if you compare the remake to every other sci-fi movie ever made, then you also must compare the original to every other sci-fi movie. I'd like to be convinced that the original is true classic, because I don't believe that it is.
It is obvious the original film just went over his head, he didn't get it. He must also not have an understanding of what is going on in the world around us. I am convinced he did not sit down and commit his time to watching the original film, I think he put it in his DVD player and started cleaning his house poking his head in every once in awhile to see what is going on. I bet Billington will like the new Karate Kid remake more than he likes the original as well.
What is scary to me is that this proves that there is a generation of uneducated self proclaimed movie geeks out in the world. Alex Billington being the king of them. I had to write this rubuttle so that people know that the orginal 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' is still a great movie and that it has stood the test of time both in story and subject matter. If you have not seen this film then it must go on the top of your list of movies to see.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion's even Billington but when their opinion is wrong I will be their to point it out.