It's the end of the world as we know it: Keanu Reeves is starring in the upcoming remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still as -- you probably guessed it -- Klaatu. As if having Neo, "the wooden one," playing the intergalactic harbinger of alien distrust with strong Christian parallels isn't bad enough, this time around instead of warning us about nuclear proliferation he'll be lecturing about how we mistreat the environment. That's right: Al Gore is an alien.
Where did we go so wrong? How did a B-movie warning about the evils of the Cold War become translated into a modern political statement against our own carbon footprints? More importantly, where was I when nuclear weapons became less of a danger to the continuation of the human race than automobile exhaust? To quote the director, Scott Derrickson, "the original being a Cold War film was addressing what was clearly the greatest threat for the human race at that time, mutual nuclear destruction, and that's not the most pressing threat that we face now." Hmm: the gradual warming of the Earth versus instantaneous incineration by terrorists. They don't teach you much about the real world in film school, do they, Scott? Remember the Doomsday Clock? It's still ticking.
What's next, a remake of On The Beach where the Earth's last survivors huddle on Mt. Everest as the rising ocean levels guarantee an unavoidable death by drowning? How about a new Dr. Strangelove (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Greenhouse Effect) in which Slim Pickens determinedly sprays CFC-laden aerosols in the upper levels of the stratosphere? Will the modern version of Failsafe detail the intentional extermination of the endangered American Bald Eagle in exchange for the accidental destruction of the Siberian Tiger? No doubt the perennially invading Body Snatchers will be reborn as Earth plants striking back at the human race that has focused on dooming them.
You know what the kicker in all of this is? Since Hollywood can't leave well enough alone, Gort will not be a robot this time around. (Heck, he won't even be real! Just a CGI cartoon.) Though this is ostensibly because the aliens are "green" -- read: "hippies who prefer biological engineering (good?) to manufacturing ( bad!)" -- I suspect that it's actually because they didn't want any unfavorable comparisons between the acting of Reeves and an immobile piece of metal.
Sigh. Klaatu Barada Nikto, indeed.