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Day the Earth Stood Still

The 2008 sci-fi remake directed by Scott Derrickson.

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Well, It's Bigger

  • Apr 13, 2009
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"The Day The Earth Stood Still" is a perfect example of why Hollywood just can't - can't - help themselves. The original movie, directed by Robert Wise, was a serious movie about the threat of nuclear war, and how an alien named Klaatu comes to Earth to warn us about how we're going to kill each other if we aren't careful. Something tells me we haven't learned much from Klaatu's message, and so a remake actually made sense. Sadly, that whole message of warning us against killing each other has been changed to how we're killing the Earth, and it follows the "green mentality" that the Earth would just be better off without us. I can't tell you how much I despise this message, but whatever, I have a review of "The Day The Earth Stood Still"to write.

The protagonist of the film is Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), an astrobiologist who aids Klaatu (Keanu Reeves, playing his ususal one-note personality) in his escape from government control. She also, coincidently, is the only person willing to talk to the alien rather then interrogate him. Not that Klaatu is impressed much; he still wants to kill humans anyway. In his eyes they are a destructive race, unwilling to compromise or listen. Since the president has ordered a "shoot first, shoot second" command without attempting to speak to him, maybe Klaatu has a point about that whole "destructive race" thing he keeps complaining about. Helen also has a step son named Jacob (Jaden Smith), who is the son of her deceased husband, who is a product of his deceased life, who Helen now takes care of.

See, Hollywood just can't help themselves. After all, why be a single mom when you can be a single mom of a son from a husbands previous marriage? Oh, and for the record, the kids a whiner you'll want to slap. And now we get to the meat of why this movie doesn't work: Everything, and I mean everything, is unnesscary bigger and more complicated then it needs to be. Remember Gort from the first movie? The indestructible robot who came to life whenever Klaatu's life was in danger? Well, he's back, but why stop at an indestructible robot when you can make him the size of the Empire State Building while you're at it?

For that matter, when you've got tanks and soldiers hunting you down, what could it hurt to throw in some military jets as well? To shoot something down that's standing still no less. I guess you might assume that the special effects bothered me about this remake, but not really. I think it's overboard, but I expected that anyway. No, the movie fails because it's characters are uninteresting and dumb, the message grating, and the intelligence is missing. The title itself has even lost it's poetry in this remake, feeling more like an afterthought then an actual part of the story. This movie received an $80 million dollar budget, and they couldn't spend any of that on a decent screenplay writer? Oh well, what did I expect: Hollywood just can't help themselves.

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September 04, 2009
Actually the original Kalatu's message was that he didn't care what we did to each other, but now that we stood on the verge of being able to extend our violence into space where others would be affected, it was necessary to stop us.
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 …
About the reviewer
Kevin T. Rodriguez ()
Kevin T. Rodriguez is an aspiring film journalist. He's more comfortable typing a review then doing an on-camera appearance, but he loves doing the occasional rant. Whether it be on movies, eBay, or comics, … more
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About this movie



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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