Monday, December 15, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

Originally uploaded by haley.tittle
Friday I participated in the desire to see Keanu Reeves play an alien in The Day the Earth Stood Still. There is not a whole lot I can say about this film besides the fact that it’s just kind of a movie. The film is not terribly bad, but it’s not exactly good either. It’s just kind of in the middle. All of the pieces are there to make it an entertaining film and yet is just kind of misses the mark and I can’t put my finger on how – it’s just not that compelling.

One thing that truly bothers me is that The Day the earth Stood Still is another in a long line of “save the earth” message movies. For some reason this pro-planet message didn’t bother me as much as usual, it could be because it was clumsily inserted into the film or because I knew going in that the film would be a message movie because the original film is a message movie. What actually bothered me is that the message was changed from the original message. The message in the original film is very obviously anti-war – Klatu comes out at the end of the movie and tells humanity this in a moment straight out of a Greek play; the change in message bothers me because this an anti-war message would still be 100% relevant today.

I was also incredibly disappointed in Gort, but that is a personal thing. Gort kicked ass in the original and half way through this version he disintegrates into metal bugs? I don’t get that choice.

What was good about this remake was Keanu Reeves as Klaatu. While I enjoy the original film Klaatu was a very happy go lucky figure that seemed a bit strange to have in a Cold War setting; in this update Klaatu is very alien and serious, he is an individual that is not part of this world and does not understand the desire to want to be. Reeves may not be the world’s best actor but this is a role that fits him incredibly well and he is the best thing to watch in the film.

The egregious error in this film (besides feeling like a slow version of Independence Day) is the lack of a certain phrase. People familiar with the original will be incredible disappointed that they don’t get to hear Keanu utter the classic line “Klaatu barada nikto.” How do you remake the film without its most memorable line?

All in all I would suggest that you wait for home video on this one. You won’t lose much in the translation.

Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: David Scarpa
Klaatu: Keanu Reeves
Helen Benson: Jennifer Connelly
Regina Jaskcon: Kathy Bates
Jacob Benson: Jaden Smith
Prof. Barnhardt: John Cleese

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

The good thing about this movie is that it gave me the strong urge to go home and recycle, which I did the next day.

The most disappointing thing, though, was that the earth didn't actually stand still. I mean come on, that's what the title said...I hate false advertising! (Yes, Christopher, that was aimed at you!)