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More spoiler movie details to follow:

A movie that had much charm and dignity the first time around was the victim of a rather depressing sequel.  I like the idea of the modern twist "to save the Earth" from humans, but I don't think the plot updates well from that simpler time.

It does make you wonder if we humans are really that stupid and violent?  Unlike Klaatu, I was not convinced that any truly valid argument was presented for our preservation.  The most terrifying part of the movie might have been John Cleese in a totally sober moment, like a defense lawyer making our case.  Klaatu is told that  only on the brink of extinction do we act responsibly. Then he sees that only in witnessing death do we show compassion. This is convincing?  This is a passing grade? Obviously he was confused by the human body he was in, thinking with a human brain structured to rationalize any behavior.

But I don't think either Klaatu-- the first or second-- ever showed enough subtlety to undertake such a mission to Earth. Surely they should be intelligent enough to figure out how to do it right.  Unless that's the culture-- to do the saucer, or plasma orb test, and see if they attack? 

Frankly, they should have done as the dolphin-headed white-haired guys from "This Island Earth" did.  Get some Interociters built and have some quiet talks with cabinets across the globe.  Exeter would have been a better man for the job.

Some nice cg effects here and there, but the nano-clouds, though done at a higher rez, were still reminiscent of scenes from "The Mummy," or "The Langoliers." 

For me, an unavoidable view, but a B-minus effort.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
anselmo_b
Dec. 15th, 2008 09:10 am (UTC)
Me too.
I watched both versions last week in order to be able to compare them better. The new one simply doesn't work as well as the original, but I wasn't too disgusted either. However, one has to take into account that Jennifer Connelly plays in it, and I would probably be able to drool my way through anything she is on.
For me the major flaw was in the premise of the story. In the original Klaatu comes with a straightforward message to Mankind: - We are the league of species that rules this neighbourhood and we won't have any wild apes fooling around with nuclear weapons. If you don't behave, we'll put your lights out, period. -
In the new one, however, it becomes hard to understand what the aliens are about, their message sounded to me somewhat like this: - We are a league of advanced species that value life carrying planets above anything, including fellow sentient life forms. Because we consider you a threat to this planet, we will put your lights out. No matter that we have the technology to prevent you from harming it further without killing you. No matter that we have the technology for healing the harm you've done already and helping you to deal with it in a better manner. No matter that it is well known that interfering with a complex ecosystem, as the one you are part of, in ways such as exterminating species considered noxious, usually has unforeseeable devastating consequences. -
That is a bit confusing for me, and I didn't even go into moral considerations there.
The second flaw was the unimaginative usage of special effects. For example, in the original the flying saucer had a seamless metallic surface that nevertheless could “slide open” to reveal an access ramp. How neat is that in terms of technological speculation? The new ship looks like a flashy bowling ball from the seventies; it might look impressive but it’s just a vacuous aesthetic postulation without any added value. Any mythological or biblical description of an aerial carriage aims better at plausibility. The tiny bugs were neat but totally ludicrous in the context. The appearances created by special effects should not take precedence over the meaning they are supposed to convey. Stage machineries have awed audiences for centuries, but who wants to play admission just to watch and hear flashes and thunders?
dyvyd
Dec. 15th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Me too.
You have added some flesh to the bones of my similar thoughts. It makes me wonder now if "advanced" race just means better at destroying things?

Your technology point is right on too. When can we expect a new wave of mind-blowing movie Sci-Fi effects not already shown in the fifties, and shown then, in some cases, more convincingly?
dyvyd
Dec. 15th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Me too.
Maybe they should test new Sci=Fi films on an audience composed of scientists, writers, & NPWCs, that is "nerdy people who care" -- before releasing to the general public?
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Cydonia photo: ESA

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