Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Calling Klaatu

Is today the Earth will stand still?   I ask this question because while killing time (horrible expression) I watched the movie remake, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” starring Keanu Reeves.    I still prefer the 1951 original with Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal.  Watching as a young boy, I appreciated its message, and I still do.

An alien named Klaatu warns humans for threatening nuclear annihilation and insists we abandon our nuclear weapons.  He is refused an opportunity to speak to all the leaders of Earth’s nations and is killed.  He is brought back to life by his “enforcer,” a giant robot named Gort with a deadly ray beam.   To capture everyone’s attention and to demonstrate his power, he stopped all electricity on the planet.

What makes this movie so fascination is something I missed as a child, and even as an adult I didn’t get it until recently.   The movie is a Christ allegory with Klaatu taking on the name “Mr Carpenter.”   Gort resurrected Klaatu from his “tomb” in a morgue.  

Klaatu eventually lectured the Earth by saying: “There must be security for all – or no one is secure.   This does not mean giving up any freedom except the freedom to act irresponsibly.  Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves – and hired policemen to enforce them.  For our policemen we created a race of robots.  Their function is to patrol the planets…and preserve the peace.  The result is that we live in peace, without arms or armies, secure in the knowledge that we are free from aggression and war – free to pursue more profitable enterprises.”

This was Klaatu’s message of redemption.  The allegory was complete when he ascended into the heavens in his spaceship. 

With use of nuclear weapons seeming to be real more so than ever before as a result of the North Korea and United States diatribe with saber-rattling accusations and infantile trading insults, perhaps we are in need of Klaatu and Gort.   It’s 66 years since the original movie with its stark warning.  Calling Klaatu. Gort is needed, again.

If Christ could turn off the Earth’s electricity, I bet he would.   That would be a true miracle!    We’re in need of one.

Deacon David Pierce

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