"There is no time left for anything but to make peacework a dimension of our every waking activity." Elise Boulding
I love finding a timeless piece of art, like "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), that still rings truer than most movies being generated more than 50 years later. Everybody should be made to watch this story (and maybe "Mr Smith Goes to Washington") until they can understand the values of tolerance, sacrifice, reason and peace on earth. We are forever on "the eve of destruction" but we do have the power to "change the future". And Klaatu and Gort are about those possibilities!
Klaatu arrives from a distant planet in a flying saucer space ship which lands in Washington D.C. He comes out of the ship, in his silver spacesuit, offering words of peace and a gift of knowledge which he carries in his hand. The army fools immediately fear an alien demon and shoot Klaatu. This is too believable as fear overwhelms our reason. Fear of an unknown. Shoot first, because they all must be as damn violent as we are. Klaatu is seriously wounded.
Klaatu appears to be just a man, but this is the man from the stars, the man with serious technology at his fingertips. He heals himself at the infamous Walter Reed hospital and escapes to wander Washington trying to understand these strange people of planet earth. The alien befriends a local family, particularly a young boy, and at this point it feels a little like "The Man Who Falls to Earth meets Beaver Cleaver". But, hey, you gotta love the Beaver!
Through Beaver, he finds his way to a renowned scientist, Dr. Barnhardt. Barnhardt will be Klaatu`s connection to the world`s entire scientific community. "Its good to find a man with faith in science Dr. Barnhardt. Its not faith that makes a good scientist Mr. Klaatu. Its curiosity". Klaatu has a "life or death" message for planet earth and he`ll deliver it through a meeting of the world`s scientists to be arranged by Barnhardt. The aliens will show their power to destroy weapons and stop electricity world wide so that a message is received loud and clear when this group meets.
Of course, the military fumbles again and kills Klaatu before he can deliver his sage to the world. Now the clock is ticking and Gort (the killer robot) will destroy the earth as punishment for mankind`s disease. The disease of intolerance and violence. But lucky for us Klaatu delivers a message of peace and restraint to Gort through a woman he has befriended. And Gort will revive Klaatu for his famous final moment.
Klaatu, from the deck of his silver flying saucer, delivers an ultimatum to the dumbstruck group of scientists and military. Our planet and its raging hostilities are a threat to the ever shrinking Universe, says Klaatu, and if we don`t learn to live in peace then we will be exterminated. This is the law of a peaceful universe. So here we have it. A symbolic story of the paradox of mankind that seems to have been with us forever but seems more critical than ever. Everyone on this planet needs to pull together in a direction beyond war, terrorism and corruption. We have to overcome our intolerance for each other and forge "peace on earth" or the shite will hit the fan. And there won`t be anything left to fight for! We`d better suck it up before Klaatu and Gort come back. It won`t be pretty!