- May 15, 2020
ASPECTS OF A SCI-FI MOVIE
ASPECTSOF A SCI-FI MOVIE
Aspectsof a Sci-fi Movie
Moviesdisplay different aspects depending on the nature and expressions ofthe characters, the actions done by the characters, and the settingof the film. The aspects are primarily drawn from the plot of thefilm. Different aspects can be learned from the science fiction movieTheDay the Earth Stood Still.Julian Blaustein produced the movie in 1951, which was directed byRobert Wise. It mainly revolves around the visit on earth by ahominoid alien referred to as Klaatu accompanied by a gigantic andpowerful robot named Gort (Etherden, 2005). The movie suggests thatthe two came to earth to convey an important message to the humans.The movie’s storyline is engaging as the actors play theircharacters in an effective way and display a great sense of humanity.Aspects such as religion, xenophobia, and artificial intelligencehave featured in the movie.
ReligiousAspects of the Movie
Themovie can be viewed as a Christian allegory. The movie fails toportray aliens as enemies as it occasionally is in many movies wherethe foreign creatures are featured. In fact, TheDay the Earth Stood Still,the alien is featured as a savior, just like Christ in the Biblicalcontext. The alien states, “My mission here is not to solve yourpetty squabbles. It concerns the existence of every last creature onEarth.” Such can be compared to Jesus who was concerned with thesalvation of the people rather than the Roman rule. The film has ahigh similarity to life and teachings of Christ as put in the Bible.Upon landing on Earth with an alien spacecraft and in the company ofGort – the robot, Klaatu starts offering some gifts to the peopleon Earth and displays friendship to the people. Such an act ispresented in Christ’s teachings of love and sharing (Etherden,2005). Most religions also teach on the moral of sharing and lovingother individuals irrespective of their origin, background,ethnicity, race, or any other differences just as the movie shows.Unlike other movies where “alien” characters have featured,Klaatu’s character is full of virtue and could have been developedto act as a messenger to preach righteousness to the universe.
Duringhis charity activity upon landing on Earth, soldiers attacked Klaatuwith the allegation that whatever he is sharing is dangerous to thepeople. He however replied to the soldiers saying, “We have come tovisit you in peace, and in goodwill.” The same thing happened inthe Bible where Jesus was arrested for sharing the Good News ofsalvation with the people of the world. When confronted by thesoldiers, Gort-the robot attempted to protect Klaatu by chargingagainst the soldiers but was stopped by Klaatu as suggested byKozlovic (2014). The event is also compared to Biblical teachingswhere Jesus stopped Peter from attacking the soldiers during hisarrest. These accounts bring out the biblical aspects of the moviewhere righteousness is widely portrayed. The characters are alsocomparable with those found in religious texts such as the Bible asthe character of Klaatu can substantially be compared with that ofJesus.
Klaatuwas portrayed in the movie as a messenger sent to Earth to share thecrucial news with the human race. The same happens in most religioustexts where people believe that a messenger was sent from heaven(mostly perceived by most religious groups to be somewhere in thevast space) to come and share some news with the people on the earth(Etherden, 2005). Upon his arrival, the individuals in the landdemonstrate great fear. He then shows his power by cutting offelectricity in the whole world for an hour. The viewed the act as agreat miracle. Such an action is comparable to that of the biblicalmessiah whose many miracles depicted his power and made him knownamong the people. He also asked, “Do you have faith, ProfessorBarnhardt?” Jesus always asked the same question when someoneapproached him for help.
Klaatuwas then seized and imprisoned but got a chance of running away.Different technological aspects were represented in this part of themovie. The guns used by the soldiers and the nature of the prisonwere suitable in suggesting that the film was a science fiction.Despite the technology and barriers, the alien managed to escape butwas later seized and killed. He was then taken to his ship where acertain device and the power of the “All Mighty Spirit” were usedto bring him back to life. This also reflects the biblical accountsof the death and resurrection of Christ (Kozlovic, 2014). Suchaccounts make the movie qualify to be a religious allegory. The movieperfectly qualifies to be a representation of divinity and not aflirt of divinity as is the case of other science fiction films asput by Kozlovic (2014).
Kozlovic(2014) also suggests that the film holds what is commonly referred toas religious anonymousness. It contains numerous religious subtexts,which are hidden in the film to create different layers of denotationto the storytelling (Kozlovic, 2014). Such subtexts can only be notedthrough conscious sensitization of their existence. Most sciencefiction movies employ the use of sacred subtexts to bring out theirovert and covert dualism in the storytelling processes. The same canbe noted in TheDay the Earth Stood Stillespecially in the manner in which the film presents the aspects ofreligion.
TheFilm’s Xenophobic Aspects
Thefear of foreign people is widely displayed in the movie. Xenophobiawas a common thing in the early science fiction movies where robots,giant animals, foreign objects, and aliens were featured. Most of theforeign characters in the fiction movies caused trouble on earth andwere therefore feared by the people. In TheDay the Earth Stood Still,the alien who landed in the United States was greatly feared by thepeople despite his peaceful mission (Weber, 2008). He is even thoughtto be an enemy from the Soviet, which was United States’ greatenemy, especially during the Cold War (Dvorsky, 2007). The xenophobiaand misguided understanding of Klaatu’s mission lead to hisdetention. He was viewed as a great enemy of the American societyeven after portraying his harmless and kind nature. Different partiesin the movie display the aspects of xenophobia.
Thegovernment was in great fear upon the arrival of the alien. Klaatuand Gort landed in the United States during the period that markedthe peak the peak of the cold war (Etherden, 2005). Any foreignobject would obviously be suspected by the United States intelligentbodies to have been sent by the enemy.
Duringthe Cold War period, there was significant tension on what wouldhappen and at what time. Nations kept secrets of their militaryinnovations and therefore anything was expected from the affectedcountries. The landing of the foreign body created fear in the U.S.government and the military with most people speculating that thiswas an object from the Soviet Union (a U.S enemy during the ColdWar). However, the alien had a much different intention as he camewith the message that was important especially during the Cold Warperiod.
Thesoldiers who confront Klaatu upon landing on Earth also depict axenophobic act. After landing, Klaatu started displaying his friendlycharacter by offering gifts to the people. He even suggests that hehad a gift for the president in an attempt to demonstrate his kindnature. Despite all these, the soldiers were still convinced that hisvisit to the planet was not of good intention as shown by Kozlovic(2014). Just like in most science fiction movies, one of the soldiersuses his high-tech gun to shoot the harmless Klaatu and even injurehis shoulder. This act displays the soldier’s xenophobic nature ashe shot the alien without any evidence of harm but due to fear of hisnature.
Thepeople also presented the aspect of xenophobia. Just as the citizensof the United States were in great fear of the unidentified foreignobjects in its airspace back in 1947, the people in the movie werexenophobic on the arrival of Klaatu’s high-tech space vessel. Theresidents of the boarding house present the xenophobia correctly asthey display a tensed mood after seeing the spaceship and the natureof the individuals who came out of it (Kozlovic, 2014). The eerienature of instruments such as the electric guitar, Theremins,electric bass, and electric violin increased the fear of the peoplewho had never seen devices of such nature. The instruments createdthe feeling of otherworldliness (McDowell, 2014). Despite the beautydisplayed by the instruments, their nature enhanced the xenophobiaamong the people. The music by Herrmann for the movie also enhancedthe xenophobic aspect of the movie.
The“religiousness” of the movie tends to fight xenophobia. Klaaturealizes that his appearance on the planet has caused tension amongthe people, especially those who witnessed his landing. Some of hisunearthly abilities such as the capacity to control the world’selectricity also create fear among the people, especially with thepowerful abilities that his actions depict. The same was alwaysexperience during Christ’s mission as at first people were in greatfear of his abilities. For this reason, the alien strives to displayhis Christ-like love and passion by resolving to offer “heavenly”gifts to the people. This was mainly aimed at creating some form offondness between him and the people and therefore gives him theability to achieve his purpose of relaying the important message tothe leaders of the earth. The generous nature aimed at reducing thexenophobic state of the people.
Thisaspect is greatly depicted in the movie especially throughout thealien characters. The robot in the movie was an ultimaterepresentation of artificial intelligence. Gort has the ability toact like a real human. He has been given the character of a robotpolice with coded instructions of destroying any individual whoattempts to show aggressiveness (Kozlovic, 2014). The robot alsodisplays the ability to show loyalty as it does to Klaatu. It servesthe purpose of obeying and protecting its assigned person who happensto be Klaatu.
Therobot confronted the soldiers when they tried to capture the alienwithout being given any instructions. This act displays the aspect ofartificial intelligence and significantly enhances the film’sgenre. Gort used the element of visual perception to recognize thatKlaatu was in trouble and through an integrated decision-makingability, he decided to save his partner by choosing to confront thesoldiers.
Therobot also shows concern, which depicts artificial intelligence’saspect of emotion. Humans are characterized by the ability to showemotion towards each other and other things. The ability of a robotto show or react in an emotional manner is an indicator of a highlevel of artificial intelligence. When Klaatu was shot and killed,Gort is shown displaying the emotion of love and concern for hispartner. He picks Klaatu and takes him to the Klaatunian device wherehe operates some device that brings Klaatu back to life. An ordinaryrobot would have failed to respond in this manner, but due to itshigh level of artificial intelligence, the robot manages to saveKlaatu.
Therobot also can recognize different languages and can even speak inthe alien language. Such depicts the aspect of artificialintelligent. When Klaatu died and was taken to the Klaatunian, Gortis heard conversing in a foreign language. The message he speaksmakes the machines perform the instructed function (Kozlovic, 2014).The machine’s ability to comprehend Gort’s speech and language isalso a great revelation of artificial intelligence in the film.Gort’s ability to converse is also an indicator of artificialintelligence in the movie. The interaction between Gort and the alienwho is seen to be possessing great human-like character was madepossible by the integration of high-tech artificial intelligencesystems that make his have a feel of his environment and eveninteract with it in close to the same manner in which human do. Atone point, Helen (one of the characters) asked Klaatu, “Withoutyou, what could he do?” while referring to Gort. Klaatu replied,“There`s no limit to what he could do. He could destroy the Earth.”Such according to Kozlovic indicates Gort’s independence due to hisartificial intelligence.
Gortis depicted in the movie as an excellent illustration of exemplarypseudo-sentient machinery.
Thedevelopers of the movie give Gort the ability to have a human-likecharacter and having excellent knowledge of what happens around him.The way he moves talks integrates ideas, develop decisions, andrespond to different circumstances epitomizes the creative use ofartificial intelligence in the film (Dvorsky,2007).The machines in the spacecraft, the robot (Gort) and the interactionsof the two with Klaatu have clearly brought out this aspect in theentire movie.
Theuse of artificial intelligence in the film relates significantly tothe other aspects depicted in the movie. The robotic nature of Gortand his ability to display some human-like behavior contributes tothe creation of xenophobic states among the people on earth. Such isdepicted when he confronts the soldiers who at given times tend toretrieve. His nature even resulted to shooting by one of thesoldiers.
Hisability to be loyal to his partner also creates an interactionbetween the religious aspect of the film and the use of artificialintelligence in the film. He follows Klaatu wherever he goes, defendshim, and obeys him just as the disciples (especially Peter) did toJesus. The aspect of artificial intelligence also ensured that thereligious aspect of resurrection succeeds to fit in the film(Etherden 2005). Gort’s decision-making, perception, and speechability made him take the already dead Klaatu to the machine in thespacecraft and give it instructions that enabled it to perform someprocesses, which resulted to Klaatu’s resurrection.
Thedevices’ ability to perceive and comprehend information was also ofbenefit in ensuring that Klaatu was brought back to life. The wholefilm is an epitome of science fiction. The robotic character of Gortis nothing comparable to this world especially by considering theyear in which that movie was created and the technology of theperiod. He gadgets used by different characters in the movie,including Klaatu’s musical instruments, are scientifically unrealin the current world (Dvorsky,2007).The interior of the ship depicts a type of technology that does notcompare to any in the world. A gestural interface was used inoperating different functions in the craft. The interface was made insuch a way that it could sense gestures as the lights would dim bylowering the hand and brighten by moving the hands up.
The1951 film titled TheDay the Earth Stood Still wasgreatly received in the movie theaters and entertainment scene. It isa science fiction film displaying an unexpected visit to Earth by analien and a robot in a high-tech spacecraft. The visit comes in aperiod when various nations of the world are in the high tensioncreated by the cold war. The United States was not in good terms withthe Soviet Union at the time of the visit, and this creates suspicionand creates a xenophobic state in the U.S. government, which thinksthat the alien was an enemy from the Soviet Union (McDowell, 2014).The movie succeeds in featuring the aspects of religion, xenophobia,and artificial intelligence. The whole movie and the visit by thealien is a religious allegory. The alien (Klaatu) portrays thebiblical Messiah in the way he acts towards people, the manner inwhich he thinks, and the way in which he handles situations. Thecircumstances that Klaatu goes through also depict the life ofChrist. Artificial intelligence was greatly portrayed by Gort therobot and the machines in the spacecraft. The people who had neverexperienced such a visit displayed the aspect of xenophobia. Thewhole movie was great and clearly showed the various characteristicsof a science fiction films. Klaatu, according to Kozlovic (2014),leaves the leaders of the world with the message, “Theuniverse grows smaller every day, and the threat of aggression by anygroup, anywhere, can no longer be tolerated. There must be securityfor all, or no one is secure.”
Dvorsky,G. (2007). Revisiting the day the Earth stood still. SentientDevelopment.Retrieved November 19, 2016, fromhttp://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2007/01/revisiting-day-earth-stood-still.html
Etherden,M. (2005). The Day the Earth Stood Still: 1950`s Sci-Fi, Religion andthe Alien Messiah. Retrieved November 19, 2016, fromhttps://www.unomaha.edu/jrf/Vol9No2/EtherdenEarthStill.htm
Kozlovic,A. K. (2014). Robert Wise`s the Day the Earth Stood Still Part II:Klaatu as Alien Messiah. Retrieved November 19, 2016, fromhttp://www.kinema.uwaterloo.ca/article.php?id=563
McDowell,J. C. (2014). Thepolitics of big fantasy: The ideologies of Star Wars, the Matrix, andthe Avengers.Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.
Weber,B. (2008). The Day the Earth Stood Still | Film Review | SlantMagazine. Retrieved November 20, 2016, fromhttp://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/the-day-the-earth-stood-still