Zoller’s UFO Imaginings Animate Quotes from The Day the Earth Stood Still
Kurt. Saw. A UFO.
Upon further research, I’ve been discovering that regular people, like my filmmaker/digital artist pal Stephen Zoller and I, aren’t the only ones who’ve witnessed UFOs. Celebrities like Russell Crowe, Dan Aykroyd, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Will Smith have reportedly witnessed unidentified sightings. In 1997, former Arizona Governor Fife Symington and actor Kurt Russell witnessed one of the most seminal incidents, the Phoenix Lights. Russell claimed he saw the “Lights” while flying his private plane. In fact, he may’ve been the first person to officially log the sighting. (Click on Aykroyd, Symington and Russell).
Anyway, Zoller and I also share a love for thought-provoking movies about UFOs, including the original 1951 classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still. Its logline went: An alien (Klaatu) lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets. This big-budget film, starring Michael Rennie as Klaatu and Patricia Neal as Helen Benson, offered social commentary, wrapped in a Christ-like parable — Klaatu, who came on a mission of peace, named himself “Carpenter,” he was killed but was resurrected, and then he ascended into the heavens.
The 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still also deals with man’s destructive nature. But this story updates the ticking clock, with a climate crisis angle as Keanu Reeves as Klaatu “decides that humans shall be exterminated to ensure that the planet with its rare ability to sustain complex life can survive.”
Both movies touch on questions that I’ve previously written about in Medium (“The Reality of UFOs May Be Hiding in Plain Sight” and “Advanced UFO Fuel & Propulsion Scares the Bejesus out of Big Oil”), questions such as: How would “contact” be the game-changer of all time for humanity? Would a global catastrophe, like climate crisis, make them interfere in our affairs? Could they be hiding in plain sight, and could they actually be beings from our very own future and not little green men?
So, I’ve taken wonderfully dramatic and prescient quotes from both movies, and artist Zoller has created a series of awesome digital recreations that reflect those from both movies.
1951 original movie — The Day the Earth Stood Still
Klaatu: I am leaving soon, and you will forgive me if I speak bluntly. The universe grows smaller every day, and the threat of aggression by any group, anywhere, can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all, or no one is secure. Now, 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. We, of the other planets, have long accepted this principle. We have an organization for the mutual protection of all planets and for the complete elimination of aggression. The test of any such higher authority is, of course, the police force that supports it. For our policemen, we created a race of robots. Their function is to patrol the planets in spaceships like this one and preserve the peace. In matters of aggression, we have given them absolute power over us. This power cannot be revoked. At the first sign of violence, they act automatically against the aggressor. The penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk. The result is, 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…. if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.
Barnhardt: One thing, Mr. Klaatu: suppose this group should reject your proposals. What is the alternative?
Klaatu: I’m afraid there is no alternative. In such a case, the planet Earth would have to be… eliminated…I assure you, such power exists.
Klaatu: Perhaps before deciding on a course of action, you’d want to know more about the people here — to orient yourself in a strange environment.
2008 remake — The Day the Earth Stood Still
Helen Benson: I need to know what’s happening.
Klaatu: This planet is dying. The human race is killing it…I said I came to save the Earth…We can’t risk the survival of this planet for the sake of one 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…this one can’t be allowed to perish.
Klaatu: Our sun was dying. We had to evolve in order to survive.
Professor Barnhardt: So it was only when your world was threatened with destruction that you became what you are now.
Professor: Well that’s where we are. You say we’re on the brink of destruction and you’re right. But it’s only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve. This is our moment. Don’t take it from us, we are close to an answer.
Klaatu: I’ve noticed. I was hoping I could reason with them.
Mr. Wu: I’m afraid they are not a reasonable race. I’ve been living amongst them for seventy years now. I know them well…Any attempt to intercede with them would be futile. They are destructive, and they won’t change…The tragedy is, they know what’s going to become of them…They sense it. But they can’t seem to do anything about it.