The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) (part 2 of 11)
Suddenly, electron microscope images of bacilli start flashing on the screen. Biology! I hope we get to see a frog explode soon. A caption informs us that we’re at “Princeton University – Present Day.” Hey, everybody, it’s Present Day! Yaay!! Gosh, I hope I get an X-Box. Or an exploding frog. Either one would be wicked cool.
Here we get a reveal on Jennifer Connelly as Dr. Helen Benson, holding a class discussion in a darkened science lab crammed full of fancy-looking equipment. (Hey, watch your elbow, Sheila—(smash!) Oh… well, we can always get another interocitor.) Actually, the point of this scene is to establish that Helen isn’t just a biologist—she’s an extreeeeeme biologist. The bacilli flashing on the screen behind her, for example, live in totally radical places like sulfuric acid, radioactive waste, volcanic magma, etc. The fact that she studies bacteria that live in sulfuric acid will, in a few moments, qualify her to be part of the A-team of scientists reacting to an interstellar object about to crash into the Earth. Because… um…
(Okay, in retrospect I can see that the government thinks we’re about to get a meteor impact, and there might be exotic microbes on it for her to look at. But, first, the movie doesn’t make that clear at all, and, second, that doesn’t quite square with what actually happens later.)