It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Day the Earth Was Killed

...That could be the title for the new Keanu Reeves sci-fi bomb of the season. It's really a remake of the Robert Wise directed The Day the Earth Stood Still. In the original, Michael Rennie played an extraterrestial emissary sent to warn Patricia Neal of the dangers of nuclear war, and included a dazzling love triangle between Rennie, Neal, and Gort, the robot*. Gort seemed menacing enough, at least to anyone who couldn't run faster than 2 miles per hour and didn't have a mirror handy to reflect Gort's death ray.

The new one replaces the original chestnut of a story with the premise that a bunch of aliens have decided that trees are sentient and that humans are the planet-wide equivalent of canker rot. This of course means that humans must go.**

The original trailer was a bit... well, awfully dull, considering that it includes scenes of stadiums and buildings dissolving like Ovaltine in hot milk. So they've spruced up the footage and released a bevy of trailers in advance of the December 12th opening. I don't have the footage, but I do have script excerpts!

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Excerpt - Trailer 1 - The Day the Earth Stood Still

Regina Jackson (Kathy Bates): This is our planet.
Klaatu (Keanu Klaatu Reeves): No, it is not.
Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly): You're going to destroy us all. It's unfair!
Klaatu: No, it is not.
Professor Barnhardt (John Cleese): There's a giant robot outside. Is it yours?
Klaatu: No, it is not.
Mr. Wu (James Wong): Someone double-parked a Corvette in my spot. (To Klaatu) Is it yours?
Klaatu: No, it is not.
UPS Guy (Alex Winter): I've got a package for a Mr. Ted Logan. (To Klaatu) Is that you dude?
Klaatu: No, it is not.
UPS Guy: It's addressed to "The alien in the examination room."
Klaatu: No, it is not.
UPS Guy: It's a ray gun.
Klaatu: No, it is not.
Gort (Danny DeVito): Pick up the stinkin' ray gun you pansy. It's your job to destroy the earth.
Klaatu: No, it is not.
Helen Benson (Patricia Neal): Gort, Klaatu Barada Nikto.
Klaatu: No, it is not.
Gort: I got your Barada right here, baby.
Borat (Sasha Cohen): It's nice!
Klaatu: No, it is not.
Darth Vader (James Earl Jones): The force is strong with this one.
Klaatu: No, it is not.
Tomaso (Harpo Marx): (Horn noise)
Klaatu: No, it is not.

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Excerpt - Trailer 2 - The Day the Earth Stood Still

Lush string music. Klaatu is holding an oak sapling in his arms.

Narrator (Alec Balwin): He came from another world. She came from this one... but their love was beyond human understanding!

Klaatu (Keanu Reeves): (Running his hand through the leaves of the sapling) I won't let them cut you down, baby!

Narrator: Danger was everywhere.

Dramatic music - Scenes of lumberjacks, sawmills, unpainted furniture stores, toothpicks, Euell Gibbons

Narrator: Even their friends couldn't understand

Gort (John Tesh): She's too young for you Klaatu! She's only a sapling!

Narrator: Nothing could stop them. Not even a planet.

Klaatu: I'll save you, even if I have to destroy the world!

Romantic music - CUT TO

Atomic explosion.

Narrator: See it with someone you love.

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Excerpt - Trailer 3 - The Day the Earth Stood Still

Narrator: For centuries human beings have believed they were alone in the stars. Then, mankind began to speculate about the possibility of life on other worlds. Finally, one calm summer day, they suddenly realized that they were no longer alone.

Dramatic music swells up - CUT TO -

Massive explosions - ships sinking - buildings collapsing - the Eiffel Tower crumbling - tornadoes - tidal waves - more explosions - cars crashing in a demolition derby - Evel Knievel crashing on his motorcycle - cyclists crashing in a bicycle race - a guy balancing plates slips and crashes - an old woman slips on a banana peel - a cat on a table slips and falls off - Soupy Sales takes a pie to the face

Narrator: The Day the Earth Stood Still!

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Excerpt - Trailer 4 - The Day the Earth Stood Still

Two men are sitting, facing each other across a desk.

Man (Michael Palin): An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
Klaatu: No, it is not.
Man: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
Klaatu: No, it is not.
Man: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
Klaatu: No, it is not.

Etc. etc...

UPDATE: Faced with sagging reviews the producers come back with a current events ad, in an effort to seem hip.

Robert Mugabe: Zimbabwe is mine!
Klaatu: No, it is not.

* The eye contact the cyclopsian Gort made with Neal was sizzling... literally.
** The source for the movie is reputedly Eric Pianka's Cookbook of the Damned.

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Pull the Other One

I'm not much of fan of celebrity tabloid journalism. However, even a jaded, cynical observer of the entertainment business like myself (all right, I was really thinking of Army Archerd, but cut me some slack) couldn't help but notice this article today in which Jennifer Aniston complains about the public interest in her life, calling it "ridiculous."

I guess it wasn't so ridiculous when it was fueling a $1,000,000 per episode stint on Friends.

Later in the article, Aniston talked about her holiday plans, saying, ""I have an annual tree-trimming party. But I usually rearrange the ornaments the next day...you tabloid jackals!!!"

All right, I added in the last bit. It would however make for a more consistent argument if celebrities who complained about media overkill would then refrain from talking about every little detail of their lives in the same interview. More and more, interviews are getting to be like this:

"I am sick and ******* tired of paparazzi chasing me around and people asking about my relationships. Get a life you parasites!"

"Strong stuff for sure ...and how do you plan to spend the weekend?"

"Oh, I'm spending the weekend in this lovely home on Martha's Vineyard. We'll get the dogs, Fluffy and Siddartha, out in the backyard and play frisbee in the cool December air, then head back in for some mojitos, and have some close, dear friends ... George, Julia, Sir Anthony, The Kennedys ...over to watch an advanced DVD of my latest film... (to passersby) in theatres Friday!"

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