12 December 2008
WARNING: Please do not read further if you do not want to know more about the specifics of the movie. As some would say: Spoilers ahead! * * * * * I gotta say, I just came from seeing this movie, and I don't think it's as bad as has been portrayed. I'm not 63 years old, and I wasn't around when the first version was introduced, so I'm in the target audience for the 2008 release. First off, the movie was pretty much as I envisioned it: a decent sci-fi movie about the impending destruction of the human race by intergalactic beings who view us as a threat. I mean, if you were looking for more than that, some sort of message, then I guess you came away disappointed, but I for one was not looking to be preached at about how we're slowly poisoning the Earth through global warming, on the brink of worldwide nuclear war, or consuming the resources of the planet faster than we should be. I get enough of that stuff on the evening news. It was intended as entertainment, not as a 1950's parable, and it succeeded in entertaining me for 110 minutes. Regarding the acting, well, it's Keanu Reeves.... If you were expecting brilliant oratory, maybe you should have gone and seen "Frost/Nixon" or some sort of Shakespearian drama. What I didn't find was overly cheesy acting, which was what I expected. It was dry in some parts, sure, but not laughable like has been suggested. I liked the interplay between the kid, Helen and Klaatu; it made the movie's premise about Klaatu changing his mind about the human condition much more believable. One of the previous commenters [on MSNBC.com] suggested that all Helen did was plead that "We can change...!" the whole time, but I say that the actions of the characters in the movie speak louder than their words. Finally, regarding the science: I liked how they protrayed the "nanotechnology" as little bugs that pretty much ate everything in their paths; kind of a cool twist on an old theme. I first read about nanites in Crichton's novels, and I've been interested in the subject ever since. Making the nanites akin to bugs reinforced the "cleansing the Earth of all but the basest lifeforms" theme. One problem I had, though, was this: how did the nanites distinguish between human flesh and animal/plant cells? Can they actually be programmed to recognize and consume artificial materials and the specific human DNA pattern while leaving everything else? All-in-all, it was a movie I would watch again for the sheer entertainment value. Happy moviegoing to the rest of you!