Sunday, January 29, 2012
It’s been a very lazy weekend for me, so I surfed the channels and found myself caught up in the movie “The Day The Earth Stood Still” with Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly. The basic plot is that an alien, (Reeves) lands on Earth, to make the final determination of whether he will destroy the human species.
“If the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the Earth survives. There are only a handful of planets in the cosmos that are capable of supporting complex life...” - Klaatu
Seeing that the immediate reaction to his arrival brings a very strong military response, the world panics and looting begins, he decides it’s time to pull the plug. The hostilities toward the unknown is mirrored in the response of Jacob Benson(Jaden Smith), Jennifer Connelly’s son. The boy wants to just kill the aliens. But the decision is changed when Klaatu sees the other side of humans. Our ability to empathize and the possibility of changing our self-destructive behavior, convinces Klaatu to stop the destruction to the species.
“There's another side to you. I feel it now.” - Klaatu
Then I watched the movie “The Help”. This isn’t my review of these two movies; it’s simply my observations of what each movie says about us.
“The Help” takes place during the turbulent 60s in Mississippi when, segregation was institutionalized and ingrained. Threaded through the personal stories of the characters are historical references to the civil rights movement. At one point a character says to the lead to hurry up and write her story before the whole civil rights movement blows over. They refer to Martin Luther King’s call to march on Washington and the killing of Medgar Evers.
The movie was brilliant as was the story it told. It was not preachy; it had its funny and profound moments. It was a peek into a world that has hopefully disappeared forever.
As I watched the end credits of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, a simplified hope that man can change its self-destructive ways, I looked at it with a personal meaning. I wondered if I could change my own self-destructive behavior. Will it need a life-threatening situation before I do the right things or will I just devolve into a meaningless slug? Or could I even change?
Then as I watched the end credits of “The Help” it dawned on me that the 60s really wasn’t that long ago, given the grand scheme of things. So if an entire nation can change, I can change myself to be the person I want to be, the person I know I can be and be proud of myself.