Jesus and Klaatu Essay

Submitted By whitney14125
Words: 1467
Pages: 6

The Day the Earth Stood Still and the Messiah Humanity without change will eventually destroy itself. A major theme in apocalyptic film is humans struggling with some new or old problem that has the power to destroy civilization. This peril is often fought through either an effort of society as a whole, or through some group, or ‘Messiah’. This subject is present in the Christian faith where God sends his son Jesus Christ to earth to take care of humankind’s debt of sin, sacrificing himself to save humans from their wrongdoing so that they may not perish in hell. The Day the Earth Stood Still is a 1951 movie directed by Robert Wise that parallels this story of a higher-order-being attempting to save humanity from its own self destruction. Klaatu, an alien from outer space works and even sacrifices himself so that earth may surpass its modern day issues and prevail violence to prevent its inevitable destruction. Klaatu emulates the Messiah Jesus Christ in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Set in Washington D.C. in the early 1950s, World War II has finally ended, but xenophobia remains high as the cold war begins to gain momentum, including the threat of a nuclear apocalypse. The atom bomb has shook the world, as countries slowly garner the ability to annihilate one another. For the first time in history, humans hold the ability to completely destroy themselves. The movie opens in this era of paranoia with a mysterious UFO flying across the world at supersonic and unearthly speeds before landing in the United States’ capital. The United States government, already paranoid from the current state of the world, immediately responds by dispatching the military to intercept this supernatural object. A humanoid exits the spacecraft, and announces his name is Klaatu and that he has come in peace. However he is shortly shot by a paranoid soldier, as he presents a gift for the president with which “he could’ve studied life on other planets.” Immediately it is presented that Klaatu’s mission is going to be strongly resisted as Americans and the world are paranoid and ignorant of outsiders.
An indestructible robot named Gort then emerges and disintegrates all of the military’s weapons, before Klaatu orders him to stop. This superhuman, extraterrestrial force is similar to the power of the aliens in Independence Day. Michael Rogin writes in “Independence Day” how “Independence Day is that film, with the weapons of the American victory first put into alien hands… the alien’s ‘primary weapon’… that incinerate the Empire State Building and the White House, and lay waste to Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC, resemble nothing so much as the incendiary effects of American air power from World War II.” (Rogin 20) The power of the military has been turned, where Gort and Klaatu’s indestructible spaceship parallels the almighty power of God. Violence is not his intention, but Klaatu still bears the power to annihilate the world and all of humankind, just as the Christian God does. After being healed from the gunshot, Klaatu reveals to the President’s secretary that he has a message intended for all of the world’s leaders, and must be heard simultaneously. It quickly becomes apparent that the present state of the world leaves this impossible. He escapes his imprisonment, and assumes the alias of ‘Mr. Carpenter’. This is a reference to him being Jesus, as the Messiah’s profession was carpentry. Boarding in the D.C. area, he befriends a boy named Bobby, and shows off his vast knowledge and wisdom, unparalleled to that of any other human. This includes professor Barnhardt, whom Bobby claims is the greatest person living. After impressing the professor with his superior knowledge of physics, Barnhardt agrees to host a meeting of scientists the next day for Klaatu’s message, and also suggests that Klaatu demonstrate his power. This beckoning of proof of Klaatu’s abilities by Barnhardt is extremely similar to that of Moses and God in the