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The original

  • Anvilicious: "Grow up and stop being Bastards or someone out there will make you stop." This is a damned good one.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Klaatu takes the human name John Carpenter. Any similarities to Jesus Christ are entirely on purpose.
    • Director Robert Wise later said that while most of the Christ allegories were intentional, the use of the name "Carpenter" was a coincidence that he never noticed until it was pointed out to him years later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: There's a scene where two doctors are discussing Klaatu's physiology, and one mentions that Klaatu supposedly has a life expectancy about twice that of a human. As they speculate about what medical advances might be responsible for this, one of them produces a pack of cigarettes, and they both light up.
  • Narm Charm: Gort visibly creases at the knees when he walks, rather spoiling the illusion of an all powerful robot, but the film is good enough that you just don't care.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The theme of the whole movie whacks you over the head with the idiocy of paranoia and violence, and it works.
  • Special Effects Failure: Gort visibly creases at the knees when he walks, rather spoiling the illusion of an all powerful robot.
  • Values Dissonance: The Fifties, when a mother was okay with her ten year old boy going off with a strange man she had met last night.

The remake

  • Anvilicious: "Stop destroying your planet with primitive technology or we will stop all your technology. And that's only because Humans Are Special Bastards."
  • Designated Hero: Klaatu.
  • Designated Villain: Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson, one of only a couple of characters who display any common sense and intelligence at all in the film.
    • She attempts to interrogate and vaguely threatens a representative of a race powerful enough to wipe out humanity just by forgetting to hit the breaks when it enters atmosphere.
    • Debatable, all she wants is a battle, no matter how irrational it is.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: According to The Agony Booth's recap. Klaatu agrees to spare the Earth and humanity, but only after he generates an EMP so powerful that it stops all technology on Earth. Given how technologically-dependent our whole society has become, it's more than likely that mankind will plunge into a dark age with millions, perhaps even billions of deaths. But at least Jacob finally called Helen "Mom", right?
  • Fridge Logic: So, the aliens have had a spy with us since 1920, long enough to bond with us, but he doesn't bother telling alien!Keanu of our capacity to mourn our dead and to love our (step) children even though that's precisely the data that ultimately causes us to be spared.
    • Aliens come into planet, first choice, though they don't have any visible weapons of any kind is shoot shoot shoot!
  • Nightmare Fuel: A scientist is trapped next to the Gort as metal locusts are eating him away.
  • Tear Jerker: Jacob's futile request for Klaatu to bring back his father, and Jacob and Helen's reconciliation afterward. It's so tearjerkery it makes Klaatu decide not to destroy humanity.
    • Apparently, the thing that makes humanity worth sparing is our capacity for emotional schmaltz.
  • The Scrappy: Jacob
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: in the scene where Klaatu is shown some of the good things that humans do, it would've been enough to have Klaatu say that he had been on Earth before, with a different body to turn a mediocre remake into a good Stealth Sequel.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: The military is 100% right about Klaatu, yet the film wants us to cheer against them, because Violence Is Not The Answer.
    • The opposite is also true, the humans act out and wind up the aliens even though they had no clear weapons and were not clearly attacking them.
  • WTH? Casting Agency: Brilliant scientist John Cleese saves the Human race. No, really.
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