Friday, June 05, 2009

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Warning: Potential spoiler - I give away some of the story.

I recently watch the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. I didn't know much about it, just that it was science fiction and starred Keanu Reeves. It's a remake of a 1951 classic.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the part where you find out the aliens are here to wipe out humanity because we're destroying the earth. (I wonder if that was in the 1951 version?)

After that I was cheering for the aliens, although I'm sure you're supposed to be cheering for the poor humans struggling not to get snuffed.

By almost any definition, homo sapiens is an incredible pest. If any other animal or plant had spread as much as we have and altered the planet as much as we have, we'd certainly be trying to "control" it (a euphemism for wiping it out).

Wiping out people entirely might be a little extreme, but certainly the earth would be better off with a lot fewer of us.

Often, pandemics are listed as potential problems of the same order as environmental destruction. But even the worst pandemic (depending on your definition), the bubonic plague, only killed roughly 50% of the population. That would still leave us with billions of people. But if we destroy the environment, that could kill not only all humans, but huge amounts of other life as well.

I was disappointed with the ending of the movie. The humans (mostly Jennifer Connelly) convince the aliens (represented by Keanu Reeves) that humans shouldn't be wiped out because we are actually nice people who care about our kids, and we can change, even if our track record is abysmal. Come on, how gullible are these aliens?

Oh well, I didn't really expect the movie to end with humans getting wiped out, as pleasing as that might be to a rabid environmentalist.

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