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…

Caption contributed by Scooter

“And these bacteria can live inside a radioactive comet-like energy source!”

(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.)

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Mark "Scooter" Wilson

Mark is a history guy, a graphics guy, a guy for whom wryly cynical assessments of popular culture are the scallion cream cheese on the toasted everything bagel of life. He spends his time teaching modern history at Brooklyn College, pondering the ancient Romans at the CUNY Graduate Center, and conjuring maps and illustrations for ungrateful bankers at various Manhattan monoliths. Readers are welcome to guess at reasons why he's nicknamed Scooter, with the proviso that all such submissions are guaranteed to be rather more interesting than the truth. Mark lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn with a happy-go-lucky, flop-eared dog named Chiyo who is probably, at this very moment, waiting patiently for her walkies.

Multi-Part Article: The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

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