Midnight musings: The Day the Earth Stood Still

I don’t know why it is that a certain movie will get under your skin and you wake up in the middle of the night and lie there analyzing it. For some reason this has happened to me with the movie The Day The Earth Stood Still.

It’s not that it was a movie with deep meaning: The plot is pretty predictable. It was an underlying message, not dealt with in the movie that started to bug me. .

In a nutshell, the plot is that planets such as Earth are apparently rare in the universe and some highly advanced alien civilizations (we never learn anything about them) decide that the planet must be saved from the destructive human race. Their enlightened solution? Kill off humanity.

Actually, it goes further than that. They save representative species (excluding humans) and then turn loose a swarm of super locusts which devour everything; trucks, buildings, stadiums, people and one can only presume trees and all of the animals, birds and reptiles that weren’t spirited away to safety. (Pretty good special effects.) I could only assume that once they were finished, the planet would be bald and empty and ready for recolonization.

Now what began to bother me in the middle of the night was the question that was never asked. How could you, without question, assume that highly advanced alien civilizations could morally and ethically make the decision to eradicate an entire sentient species with no organized attempt to communicate their concerns or to solve what they saw as a problem.

I know it’s just a damned movie and not one that will go down in the annals of Hollywood history as a classic and the makers of the movie could argue they only had an hour and a half to advance the plot and that in the end the aliens recognized that we humans were unique and wonderful for all our faults and the annihilation was cancelled and we all lived happily ever after, presumably committing mankind to saving Earth in the process.

But that was necessary for the prerequisite Hollywood happy ending and in my late-night musings I wondered if the writer(s) of this epic really believed that the human race is truly a plague on the Earth that should be eradicated, and if that was the subliminal message of the movie.

There are those that do believe this but I suspect they assume that any cleansing process would exclude them, due to their purity of soul. Come to think of it, wouldn’t that just piss off all those radical environmentalists to find that they were being obliterated along with all of those evil resource users that they had been attacking for years?

Then again it was only a movie, mildly entertaining and in the middle of the night a passing thought gains far more importance than it deserves. Maybe a glass of warm milk would have been in order.


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