“The Day the Earth Stood Still” for Jennifer Connelly

A brief history lesson before I begin. In the 1950s and 1960s, following the development of the atomic bomb, folks were a tad bit nervous. Atomic bombs are scary things, after all. Boys and their toys, especially powerful boys with powerful toys, tend to make the rest of us a wee bit frightened. Folks had nuclear fallout shelters. (Watch Grease 2 for an example of one good use for such things.) School children were taught to hide under their desks in the event of a nuclear attack, because elementary school desks were apparently made of some kind of nuclear protection device.

As is often the case, science fiction writers saw an opportunity to point out the futility of such weapons by telling the big boys what fools they were being for developing such destructive toys. One movie from 1951 that did just that, and has since become a sci-fi classic, was The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Here’s the trailer for those of you who are unfamiliar.

In that film, an alien and his robot land on Earth to warn us of our destructive behavior and the effects this behavior has on the rest of the galaxy. Seems the atomic fallout doesn’t affect just us earthlings, but the folks from his planet as well. He’s come to offer an ultimatum. Learn to live peacefully or be destroyed.

I’m still haunted by images of the gigantic robot with no eyes, having seen this film when I was far too young to watch such things. But I’m excited by the prospect of a planned remake scheduled to film in December for a summer 2008 release. I’m not usually excited by the prospect of remakes, generally because they so often get things wrong or take on films that really should be left alone. Psycho comes to mind, no offense to Anne Heche. But, in this case, I will admit to a certain willingness to overlook such potential flaws. Here’s why:

Yes, Jennifer Connelly is slated to star in the new version alongside Keanu Reeves. Reeves will be playing the alien, named Klaatu, while Connelly will play Helen Benson, the scientist who first encounters Klaatu upon his arrival. Patricia Neal played the role in the original.

Let me fill you in on my Jennifer Connelly infatuation for a moment. I fell in love with her while watching David Bowie eat scenery in Labyrinth.

I wanted to be Billy Campbell so I could woo her in The Rocketeer.

I sat through the not-so-incredible Hulk just so I could see her save Eric Bana from himself.

And I cheered during her acceptance speech after she won the Oscar for playing opposite Russell Crowe and his many voices in A Beautiful Mind.

So as I prepare to watch the amount of fresh TV programming dwindle over the course of the coming months, I will be anxiously awaiting this new release next summer. Anything that lets me see Connelly in action will certainly help ease any potential summer doldrums.