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Day the Earth Stood Still

The 2008 sci-fi remake directed by Scott Derrickson.

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Special Effects and Heavy-Handed Propaganda

  • Apr 7, 2009
The original THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is not only a classic piece of sci-fi cinema, it's also an all around classic movie. There are very little special effects in that film and emphasis was placed on the writing and character development. Over fifty years when it first was released in theatres, the film still holds up and resonates with audiences. It's a film that was done so well, that no remake should ever have been attempted, yet because it was so well done it was also inevitable that one would be made.

In the new THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL Keanu Reeves portrays Klaatu, an alien who comes to Earth in a giant fluid-appearing orb that lands in New York City's Central Park. Klaatu is an alien, but in order to interact on Earth, he takes the form of a human--a man who came in contact with an orb in the Artic wilderness nearly a century ago. The government wants to know whatever it is that Klaatu knows and if it becomes clear that he is a threat, they want him eradicated. Enter Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly). Dr. Benson is part of a group of scientists who were put together when government officials thought Klaatu's "craft" was an asteroid on a collision course with New York and she was the first person to make "contact". Klaatu has a mission and he gets Benson, and her adoptive son, Jacob (Jaden Smith), to help him all the while trying to convince him to save humanity instead of destroying it.

Even though I didn't think the movie should have been remade, I was looking forward to seeing THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. I had some apprehension about the movie, but the previews were full of suspense and action and I thought that Reeves would be perfect as newer Klaatu. I also enjoy watching most anything Jennifer Connelly performs in. With Kathy Bates, John Cleese, Jaden Smith, and Kyle Chandler rounding out the supporting cast, the movie appeared to have a great group of high-caliber well-known actors who would make up for any weaknesses in the script. And after the opening sequence, which was extremely well done, I thought my misgivings and apprehensions about the movie were misplaced. But, they weren't. After the opening sequence, everything went downhill. The cast really did a great job of acting but their talents were hampered and thrown to waste in an ill-conceived script awash with terrible dialogue that is basically just a device for a special-effects showcase and propaganda pitching machine. Not only that, but one of the most memorable characters from the original film, Gort, has been reduced to an acronym that, instead of having the power to save the world and resurrect life, only exists to destroy it.

Too bad someone didn't tell the filmmakers to "klaatu barada nikto" before they started.

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More The Day the Earth Stood Still ... reviews
review by . December 13, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
As someone who has yet to see the original The Day The Earth Stood Still, I thought that the remake was a pretty decent movie.  It was suspenseful and I literally had chills going down my spine throughout most of it.  The special effects were impressive.      Jennifer Connelly played the character of Helen Benson beautifully, and the matching of Keanu Reeves to his character Klaatu was a match made in heaven.  If lifeless, emotionless alien was what he was going …
review by . February 27, 2011
posted in SF Signal
Where to begin? As one of the most vocal critics of the concept of 'remakes', I felt that it was only fair to the new version of TDTESS, and to everyone else who's put up with my incessant reminders to watch the original, to actually watch the remake itself. My opinions hold no water if I take the stance of refusing to watch the remake on the grounds that it is such an affront to the original, to serious fans of science fiction film and etc., etc. I almost did fall into that trap: the …
review by . February 25, 2011
This remake of a classic SF movie (which I can’t comment on since I’ve never seen it) completely blows. Fundamentalist aliens come to earth to play God and vanquish humanity for its sin against the earth with grey goo. I don’t have per se a problem with aliens trying to kill humanity because of their ideology (as a plot device), but the movie tries to sell it as if the aliens have the higher moral ground, which I found dubious to say the least. Any culture that accepts mass murder …
review by . November 17, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
The original 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still is without question one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.  I'm not usually opposed to a remake of a film.  I believe in letting remakes stand on their own two feet without having to be compared to the original.  Yet for whatever reason even when viewing movies through this kind of lens remakes are almost never good.  Not because they don't measure up to the creations they're trying to recreate, but …
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is not the worst movie I have ever seen, but it was bad enough for me to remember that it was bad. For the kind of story that it is, the movie could have been a whole lot more compelling or chilling, but it wasn't. It was a flat movie with bad cgi and bad acting.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Boring, boring, boring, I think I feel asleep twice during the film which never happens to me. Skip at all costs and save yourself 2+ hours.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I rarely leave a movie theater with a very empty feeling, but I did leave The Day the Earth Stood Still with that kind of feeling. It has a few amazing special effects but it's very rare that a film doesn't have some other redeeming quality. Here you're getting some good special effects (the majority of which don't come out until the very end of the film) but aside from that there isn't much to write home about with The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I love end of the world style films and this one was good one. Sure, it flopped but I liked it
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
not what i expected at all. i didnt even want to sit through the whole thing in the theater, it was slow, boring, and very predictiable.
review by . April 10, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
decimation scene
Remakes are a dime-a-dozen as I've said before. I do have to acknowledge that sometimes, a remake may be necessary to cater to a new generation. It has been some years ago since last I saw Robert Wise's 1951 original and I have to admit I didn't re-watch it before exposing myself to this 2008 remake helmed by Scott Derrickson. Many have considered the 1951 original film to be a true masterpiece, and belongs in the ranks of the most celebrated motion pictures ever made with "The Godfather", "Citizen …
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The Day the Earth Stood Still is a 2008 American science fiction film, a remake of the 1951 film of the same name. Directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Keanu Reeves as Klaatu, the film updates the Cold War theme of nuclear warfare to the contemporary issue of humankind's environmental damage to the planet. It was released on a rollout schedule beginning December 12, 2008, screening in both conventional theaters and IMAX screens.

In 1928, a mountaineer (Keanu Reeves) encounters a glowing sphere while on an expedition in the snowy mountains of India. He then finds himself awakening after a sudden loss of consciousness, with the sphere now gone and a scar on his hand. In the present day, Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), a Princeton professor, and other scientists are hastily assembled by the government in order to formulate a survival plan when it is feared that a large unknown object with a speed of 3x107m/s is on a crash course to the Earth, due to impact Manhattan in just over an hour. Nothing can be done about it because a vital military satellite has been disabled. However, the object is a large spherical biological spaceship, which slows down and lands gently in Central Park. A being (taking on the appearance of the man from the opening scene of the film) named Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) emerges from the sphere while accompanied by a large robot. Klaatu, a representative of a group of alien races, has come to assess whether humanity can reverse the ...

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Director: Scott Derrickson
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Release Date: April 7, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: David Scarpa, Edmund H. North
DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009
Runtime: 104 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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