Greetings on Earth Day: “Klaatu barada nikto!”
BY DENNIS KING
For all you inhabitants of Earth who are not environmentally astute, outdoorsy types, here’s a way to celebrate Earth Day on Thursday from the comfort of your own La-Z-Boy. Why not create your own day-long marathon of Earth movies?
DVD shelves are bulging with movie selections that probe the globe in all its myriad facets. Some suggestions:
Why not start on a high-minded note with “The Good Earth,’ Sidney Franklin’s earnest 1937 adaptation of Pearl S. Buck’s novel, about a poor Chinese farmer and his wife who suffer through famine, drought and a plague of locusts. It’ll cleanse your soul with its noble tale of humility and bravery, and it’ll boggle your mind with its portrayal of Caucasian Paul Muni as a humble Chinese peasant.
Then bore deep beneath the surface of things with the sci-fi chestnut, “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” You can choose either the quaint, old-school 1959 film with James Mason as the craggy, absent-minded Scottish professor leading a cast of spelunkers that includes pop crooner Pat Boone as a squeaky clean young adventurer. Or, you can go with the razzle-dazzle 2008 version with its big-budget CGI and Brendan Fraser as a scatterbrained scientist on a quest to find his missing brother. (The theatrical version boasted spiffy 3-D effects, so if you watch it on DVD in 2-D, don’t expect as thrilling a ride.)
Back on topsoil, perhaps its time for some good, old-fashioned ’50s paranoia with the classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Michael Rennie scolds earthlings for their wasteful, warlike ways, and the indestructible robot Gort responds to those immortal words, “Klaatu barada nikto!” Enough said.
If you haven’t had enough of cosmic shenanigans, check out the truly nutty “Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000,” in which John Travolta and a cast of “man animals” espouse the virtues of L. Ron Hubbard’s 1982 novel and its crackbrained philosophy and create a movie so staggeringly inept that it’s like watching a 10-car pile-up in outer space.
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