The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
92 min – Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller – 28 September 1951 (USA)
An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.
Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe
There is so much relevance to today in this movie, watching it again made me shiver all over again. It’s a shame that we humans have evolved no further than this since 1951, and have forgotten Klaatu’s warnings.
“It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.”
In response one almost begs for the reality of that old Twilight Zone classic “To Serve Man.”
And surprisingly, in light of our selfish lack of progress and violent un-development, I am declaring::
I think the plot of this movie will actually happen to us one day, and maybe one day soon.
What? How is that? Can you be serious? Yes I can. Let me lay out the reasons for my prophecy.
1. We’re in trouble
I think the Earth itself is going to be ok, though man is putting it to some tests, but I think man himself is in trouble. We hate, we envy, we war, and that is just inside our hearts. What’s inside spills out to the outside and causes man to curse and grab his neighbor’s wife, and then kill to cover up and justify greed and covetousness.
What will save us from our own evil hearts if we will not listen to the old answers that have worked for the few who have surrendered to them over the centuries?
If we’re not listening to Klaatu, or heeding the ancient’s words of wisdom, we are indeed in trouble and setting ourselves up for “To Serve Man” and its answer to a delicious world sold out to selfishness, fear and loathing.
2. There is an Invisible War
If we have not been listening, if we have not been reading the ancient texts that alert us to this war, then maybe we deserve the alien answer, and the destruction of “War of the Worlds.” The outline is clear in the literature of almost every culture. There is a war raging for the right to man’s soul. And this war is not “to come” it is here, and being waged 24/7.
Yes, I think an alien will come, but I don’t think this new Klaatu will threaten us. I think this new Klaatu’s master will send him with a word of promise and peace, if we just submit to his plan. And I think we will submit, because we are desperate, and because the dessert will look so good we’ll find it easy to swallow the brussel sprouts whole and overcooked.
3. We’re are looking for answers
Yes, there are answers a plenty on Earth, but we’re tired of the old paths to peace. There is still some good answers out there and a few have stumbled onto the road to happiness, but too many “huu-mons,” as the Ferengi call us, are still stumbling along the trail of tears.
Worse, few are listening anymore. Desperation is rising and ears are closed, so disillusioned man lifts his head to the heavens and cries “WHY?” And one day the heavens will answer. With aliens? Angels? Demons? A savior of some kind? There seems to be none on earth that can rescue us, so the heavens must provide one, right?
4. Who are the Invaders?
According to ancient text our invaders will come in the costumes we want them to be in when they arrive. They will be great impostors dressed as aliens, angels, demons, or mothers-in-law, if that’s what we want to be thrilled by.
Today’s market place is setting us up for the deception; in movies, on TV, and in the books we are reading on our Kindles. Those that will conquer us understand we are imaginative creatures, with too much time on our hands, and who are looking for new ways of escape.
The best and most inviting line in all that has been broadcast to us in the last 50 years is “…to go where no man has gone before.” In today’s over titillated culture each new entertainment must take us to the edge and beyond old frontiers. It will fail at the box office if it doesn’t.
Lady Gaga may be history tomorrow if she doesn’t take us beyond “the Edge of Glory” and into the Glory itself. That was why Gaga was so ahead of the scandalous Madonna when she arrived, but her successors have gone beyond her now, and she must up her game or be left back in forgotten celebrity hell with Madonna.
I don’t think this theory will be a shock to those of who look to Sci-Fi for answers and ways to escape; to Roddenberry or Asminov, or even Hubbard.
“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.”
― Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
“I spent the rest of the day in someone else’s story. The rare moments that I put the book down, my own pain returned in burning stabs.”
― Amy Plum, Die for Me
My expectation may provide a different angle to those who wonder why they were “taken” by The Fourth Kind. And it may make no difference to at all those getting their wisdom from “Mars Need Women” or “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.” But as a man who has been abducted by the strange prophecies of ancient texts, I know it will happen, because the ancients said so, and I see their prophecies working all around us today.
So, how shall we then live? As Klaatu says, “The decision rests with you.”