Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

12/15/2008

Review: The Day The Earth Stood Still

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous


DayTheEarthStood

Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw The Day The Earth Stood Still Friday night, for my birthday.

Okay, now, it’s probably important to know that the original version of The Day The Earth Stood Still is one of my all-time favorite science-fiction films. It’s regarded by most film scholars as a classic, and not just of science-fiction. So, I did my best to set aside any preconceived notions of how this film should run or the ways that it could go wrong and just enjoy it for what it is.

The movie stars Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly. I’m not a big fan of Keanu Reeves, even though he starred in the Matrix, but I do adore Jennifer Connelly. In any case, Reeves stars as the alien who’s deciding whether or not to eradicate all life on Earth, to let it restart, basically. To remove all of humanity’s damage so that the Earth can restore herself to her natural, pristine state. Jennifer Connelly plays a scientist who is called in to study Klaatu, played by Reeves. She and Klaatu form an uneasy alliance as he explores the world he’s come to destroy and the people he’s come to erase.
Naturally, the plot runs about the way you think it would. Klaatu starts off remorseless and determined to fulfill his mission. Connelly’s character uses every means at her disposal to convince him to do otherwise. She uses her son, who’s really the son of the man she was married to before he died. That’s one of many departures from the original film. Connelly’s character is really several characters from the original film all in one. She also takes Klaatu to see a genius friend of hers to try to convince him that humanity can change and the Earth isn’t lost. The genius is played by John Cleese, who is a real genius and actually plays a serious role here.

Now, normally, I try not to spoil films and books by not giving too much away. But, I’m going to deviate from that a bit here and just warn you that I’m totally going to fill the rest of this paragraph with spoilers. If you don’t want to “ruin” the movie for yourself, skip to the next section. Ready? Still with me? Okay, so the movie was okay, but it seemed like it was building towards something then, suddenly, with the Earth saved, the movie just ends. So, there’s all this huge build up and then… Poof! Nothing. Fade to black and roll the credits. That’s it. A mediocre film with great effects that just never quite pays off in the end.

So, yeah, it was okay, I suppose. Most of the film was decent enough, except for the part I described in the “spoiler paragraph” above. It’s a shame, really, since Reeve and Connelly do a good job otherwise and have decent roles going right to the end. The movie just never seems to get to its point, we never get the pay-off that we’re expecting. Worse yet, I don’t ever remember Keanu uttering the famous words from the 1951 original: “Klaatu barada nikto! ”

I recommend that you see this on the big screen, but at a matinee. This remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still isn’t as good as the original, but the effects make it worth seeing on the big screen, just not at full price.

12/7/2005

Writing Personal Essays

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 9:02 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Well, that is what blogging is all about, no?
I’ve actually had this book, Writing Personal Essays: How to Shape Your Life Experiences for the Page, sitting on my shelf for more than a year and am just finally getting around to reading it. I’ve been reading so many insightful, thought-provoking, gut-wrenching, velvety, and just really well written blogs, not to mention the ones that sound and feel so familiar, that I’ve been inspired to improve my own writing, especially on this blog. Well, perhaps “shamed” is a better description.
A friend of mine recently asked, essentially, “Dude, what’s up with the Mr. Sensitive posts?” Frankly, I have no idea. Blame it on the rain. Blame it on the holidays. Blame it on my birthday which is circling like a giant, black vulture. I don’t know, maybe it’s just that I held back so much for so long because of who I was with or life circumstances or whatever that it got all backed up and now it’s pouring out because there’s no where else for it to go. Maybe it’s the repressed exhibitionist in me sneaking out. Hell, it might even be that my friend who’s a month or two out of a year long engagement has a date but I can only seem to meet interesting girls on the Internet, but I’m always “nice guy” material, not “wow, he’s hot” material, and never will be. Ick, that sounds so bad when I put it in black and white.

This all comes back to that old question, “Why do you blog?
Honestly? What’s behind the thoughtful posts lately? You really want to know? What else? Girls. Why else have I done anything in my life, worthwhile or not. It’s always in relation to those marvelous, mysterious, fascinating and infuriating members of the fairer sex. Which is a misnomer, really, since I’ve never known a one of them to play fair. Always batting their eyes and making my hands all sweaty or my heart skip a beat. Sadly, the thing I miss in this particular medium is hearing their voices and seeing the expressions on their face. I can watch a woman’s lips move and not even hear what she’s saying after a bit. All that matters is seeing the magic of those delicate lips and teeth and tounge move in harmony. And, while some guys might be “leg men” or whatever, for me, it was always the eyes. And, the ears, freakishly. Something about a delicate, pink, shell-like ear that always makes me want to tell stories. And, there’s the change. I have a more feminine audience and, suddenly, I find myself wanting to explain, to justify, to persuade. All those things and more.
But, of course, the classic melancholy of a writer kicks in and I’m sure that none of them are really reading this or would really listen to me in person. Who would want to listen to my foolishness? I tell myself. With all the truth and honesty in those blogs I linked to up above, who would want to spend their time sifting through my verbosity to find the tiniest grain of truth that even I forgot was there?
In the end, that’s all I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. Someone to listen to me. Someone to hear.
I saw a movie with Jennifer Connelly in it this weekend. She was laying on some lucky actor’s chest, playing with his sweater and looking all wistful while he was saying something. Her pale green eyes were all but translucent as she said her line. Of course, I was so busy watching her mouth move that I have no idea what she was saying. It hurt so bad that I had to get up and leave the room. How could I have misjudged my ex-wife and my life so badly that I actually married someone who didn’t understand that was all I wanted? Even after I told her? And, now, there are days that I feel like that will never happen. I think, sometimes, that’s the way it should be. That I’m just meant to be alone. Worse, I’m getting used to the idea.
And, now that this little essay has gotten a little too personal, so I’m going to go have a drink. A strong drink


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"We cannot be sure that we have something worth living for unless we are ready to die for it."
   --Eric Hoffer

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