Klaatu (The Day the Earth Stood Still)

Infobox character
name = "Klaatu"
series = The Day the Earth Stood Still


caption = Klaatu presenting a gift.
first = "Farewell to the Master"
last = "The Day the Earth Stood Still"
cause =
creator = Harry Bates
portrayer = Michael Rennie (1951) Keanu Reeves (2008)
episode =
nickname =
alias =
species = Humanoid Alien
gender = Male
age =
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death =
specialty =
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title =
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family =
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Klaatu is the protagonist in the classic (1951) [imdb title|id=0043456|title=The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 Classic)] and future (2008) [imdb title|id=0970416|title=The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 Remake)] science fiction films "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Klaatu is famous in part due to the phrase "Klaatu barada nikto!" used in the classic film and its re-use in the Bruce Campbell cult comedy film "Army of Darkness", as well as many other films.

Michael Rennie as Klaatu

Klaatu (played by Michael Rennie) arrives in a flying saucer in Washington, DC, wearing a silver spacesuit and accompanied by a large humanoid robot, Gort (played by Lock Martin). Klaatu arrives as a peaceful ambassador from an extraterrestrial confederation, but when he presents a harmless device he is shot by one of the soldiers that form his rather apprehensive welcoming committee. Klaatu explains the "weapon" was a gift to the President and could have been used to study life on other planets. To protect Klaatu, Gort vaporizes all of the surrounding weaponry.

Klaatu is taken to a hospital, where he quickly recovers, and on learning that the government doesn't expect other nations to be willing to come to meet him, wants to get out to meet the people. The government wants to keep him in the hospital, so Klaatu escapes with a disguise, using the surname Carpenter. He finds a boarding house to stay in, and comes to know the people who live there, reads the Sunday morning paper, is shown around town by a young boy named Bobby Benson (played by Billy Gray, who would go on to play Bud in "Father Knows Best" on TV) who stays there with his mother, Helen Benson (played by Patricia Neal) , and drops by the home of Professor Barnhardt, a brilliant scientist, (played by Sam Jaffe) who is currently not at home.

Klaatu/Carpenter leaves a "calling card" by marking Barnhardt's calculations as a teacher would mark a student's. When Klaatu/Carpenter is brought by later by an army driver, Barnhardt discusses the situation with Klaatu, agrees to summon scientists from all nations, and asks Klaatu for a show of power that won't harm anyone, thus exhibiting that the extraterrestrial alliance controls enormous power that would threaten Earth if Earth threatens the peace in space.

Klaatu neutralizes electric power all over the world (with some notable exceptions, such as hospitals and airplanes in flight) for 30 minutes. Unfortunately, as a result, Klaatu is taken to be a threat and, betrayed by Mrs. Benson's boyfriend, is hunted down and shot again, this time fatally.

However, Gort is programmed to defend Klaatu and will wreak havoc if anything untoward happens to him. Klaatu had told Mrs. Benson to deliver the famous phrase that will cancel the attack if anything should happen to him. Helen reaches the robot, uttering "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" barely in time, whereupon Gort aborts his attack, retrieves Klaatu's body, transports him to the saucer, and revives him from death.

After Klaatu is revived, he steps out of the saucer, telling the onlookers (the scientists) the following ultimatum: Earth can either decide to abandon warfare and join other spacefaring nations—a peace ensured by a massive deterrent force, the robot race Gort belongs to—or else be destroyed as a threat.

Keanu Reeves as Klaatu

A remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still", which began production in late 2007, will feature Keanu Reeves in the role of Klaatu and Jennifer Connelly as Helen Benson. [cite news | author = Michael Fleming | title = Keanu Reeves lands on 'Earth' | publisher = Variety | date = 2007-08-27 | url = http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117970896.html?categoryId=13&cs=1 | accessdate=2007-08-27] The film was originally scheduled for release on May 9 2008, but was delayed because filming commenced later than scheduled. It is due for release on December 12 2008. [cite news | author=Pamela McClintock | title='Transformers' sequel sets 2009 date | publisher = Variety | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117972852.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 | publisher=Variety | date=2007-09-26 | accessdate=2007-10-05]

References


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