Sunday, November 30, 2008

That's Ecotainment

Oh no! It sounds like Klaatu's Christ-like message in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still is going to be an environmental one.

How is that going to play? "Stop ruining the planet or Gort will blow it up!"


"Scott Brown on the Looming Deluge of Eco-Disaster Flicks" in Wired:

The dopiness of so-called ecotainment—environmentally virtuous entertainment—rises in direct proportion to its message-mongering. In this way, it's no different from the Christian inspirational flick. To be sure, many classics prey upon our ecological anxieties—The Birds, Jaws, and Jurassic Park come to mind. But these highlight the indomitable and inscrutable brutality of nature, not the need for better stewardship of a beleaguered planet. They're the children of Moby-Dick, not Silent Spring. Even in these jittery, post-Inconvenient Truth days of rising seas, killer storms, and T. Boone Pickens TV spots, blockbuster-scale ecotainment is still the poseur spawn of Towering Inferno-style disaster matinee and Silkwood-esque docudrama. The subject matter simply resists Hollywood idiocy: Environmental problems are complex and holistic, whereas mainstream movies thrive on conspicuous good/evil dichotomies that flatter our binary human minds. To oversimplify: Nature is Gore-ville; blockbusters are Bush country.

...Before this beefed-up, camp-free ecotrend can continue, however, it must pass its ultimate legitimacy test: Keanu Reeves. He's starring in a Category 5 environmentally minded remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still—an antiwar-message movie from 1951—invading theaters in December. Fox has been "trying to remake this since the original," says screenwriter David Scarpa. "Ray Bradbury did a draft in 1980." Now that humankind has finally generated a worthy successor to nuclear Armageddon, the studio has pulled the trigger. Keanu plays Klaatu, the wise alien who, in the original, landed in DC with his chaperone, the chrome killbot Gort, and began counseling against atomic brinkmanship with the USSR. This time, he's an unearthly Earth-firster who chides our planet-raping ways—and backs up his critique with lethal action (Gort again—but updated).


Loren Eaton said...

I feel all enthusiasm for this film now draining from my body.

Matt Maul said...

Me too.

And I was SO geeked when I saw the teaser trailer about a month ago.

The original classic has aged enough for a plausible remake. And even though he did the Christ thing in The Matrix, I thought Reeves was a decent choice for Klaatu.

As I said, sigh.