Of course, it deserves to be ruined. Spoiling the ending is all too necessary for the good of movie-renting humankind, because this movie had no ending.
OK, technically, it has an ending. But it’s such a jaw-droppingly stupid one. Such a “what the hell just happened?” one. A complete, “That’s it?” kind of experience.
We spend a couple hours seeing special effects that are, to be honest, pretty damn good.
We see Keanu Reeves in his usual, expressionless mode, but it works perfect here, because he’s an alien in a body constructed to be human…so he is not used to being a human or feeling like a human. So, Keanu’s typical acting weakness, his lack of ability to emote, is actually a strength here.
Jennifer Connelly does a fantastic job of emoting just perfectly and being expressive in all the right ways.
John Cleese is fantastic in his cameo.
Kathy Bates isn’t given nearly enough to do with her role, but she does it well.
But what we end up with is a movie about a collection of alien races who send Klaatu (played by Reeves) to Earth to make the final decision about us. And that decision is…
…remember, I’m going to spoil this for you…
…I mean it…
OK, you’re still here. He is here to push the button on the human race. To save Earth, the aliens figure humans have to go, so that the planet can heal and other life can go on. The notion is that only a tiny fraction of planets in the universe can support complex life, and so they are not willing to spare one species…that is, us…and lose the planet. Essentially, we are seen as a cancer that needs to be removed so that the patient, the Earth, can live.
Actually, as far as concepts go, that ain’t bad. It’s a decent update for our time, since the original version of the film dealt with aliens being mad that we were pursuing nuclear science, and were too immature for it. That’s probably true, but it would be a little late for them to complain about that now, so the environmental theme works better now.
Predictably, after making it clear that he thinks we’re unredeemable as a species, and must be wiped out, he decides after starting a nanotech “plague of high tech locusts” end of the world that hey, because one little kid cries and his stepmom hugs him, we must be OK. So then the rush to reverse Armageddon so that we won’t be wiped out, with some queer comment about, “It will come at a cost. You will have to change” or something like that.
And what changes?
Klaatu turns off our power.
Yeah. That’s the end of the movie. Klaatu returns to his vessel, turns of the nanotech bug swarm, and shuts off every powered device in the world, including wristwatches.
And leaves without a single word.
That’s right. Everything’s shut off (including, presumably, life support machines for patients, heat in places where people will die of hypothermia without it, and so on).
Nobody tells the world why. Nobody says, “OK, this is your last chance. Start from scratch.” Nobody tells the people of the world one damn word about why the power was shut off and what step we need to take…or goals we need to meet…to prevent a return to destroy us.
All that work with the special effects, some pretty good acting overall, an interesting take on the robot Gort this time around, a story that had promise for maybe most of the first 2/3 or 3/4 of the affair…all to get a contrived “I understand you humans now” change of personality from Klaatu, and a head-scratching ending that just left me pissed off more than any other crappy movie ending I’ve ever seen.
I mean, I said to my computer screen: “What kind of useless shitting ending is that?”
I never talk to the screen when I watch a movie.
The 1951 movie shouldn’t have been remade to begin with. But if you’re going to remake it, can’t you at least give us an ending that makes at least some small fraction of sense?
(If there are typos galore in this, I’m not surprised. It’s almost 2 a.m. and I’m headed to bed, and I have no plans to go back and edit this.)