Mar 25, 2011

[Movies] The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)Given I had recently watched the original version of this movie a few weeks ago, it was inevitable that I'd take the plunge and give this remake a shot.

To be fair, I really wasn't expecting much from it since (1) it was a remake, and (2) had Keanu Reeves as its leading man. And even with these factors significantly tempering my expectations of the movie, I still wasn't quite ready for the full impact of things.

And that's saying a lot. I mean come on - Keanu Reeves.

The original movie was an amazingly moving piece with a strong message coupled with pretty decent acting for its time. It was a morality piece as well given the themes involved and this remake just turned it into yet another sad attempt at a summer blockbuster which was really a dismal lifeless flop.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is the 2008 remake of the 1951 science fiction classic. It was directed by Scott Derrickson, who was also behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

We start in 1928 with a mountaineer who appears to be Keanu Reeves. He has something which could be loosely classified as a close encounter of the second kind since he only say a white light and he woke up with a scar. Or maybe it was of the fourth kind if he was actually abducted. Anyway, the scene is vague and you don't connect the dots with the rest of the movie until we get to the modern day and a group of scientists are gathered for some initially unknown purpose.

Of course the unknown purpose turns out to be an extraterrestrial object that they first believe to be some sort of an asteroid but turns out to be an alien vessel. A figure emerges but of course the Americans shoot him so they have to rush him to a hospital, since it's totally logical to assume that Earth doctors will know how to fix him. But his skin isn't quite skin and instead we find inside is Keanu! Well, here he's Klaatu.

And did I forget to mention the new CGI Gort? He's designed to be bad ass.

The Day the Earth Stood StillImage by Lord_Henry via FlickrThe rest of the movie involves Klaatu judging the human race, Secretary of Defense Regina Jackson (Kathy Bates) being a bad ass too and Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) trying to look both science-smart and pretty at the same time. Oh, and her son is a violent little bastard too.

Don't forget CGI Gort!

I'm sorry, obviously I was not happy with the movie. Or you could look at that summary of my way of trying to focus on the positive aspects of the movie. Case in point - CGI Gort. And Kathy Bates being a bad ass, since that's what she does best - cue Misery music now.

To be fair, this was another movie that fit Keanu Reeve's acting range since he was supposed to have no sense of humanity or emotion. In this regard, he was amazingly accurate, as if he was really like this in real life - cue Sad Keanu meme.

As expected, Jennifer Connelly made for a horrible scientist and it's no wonder her kid in the movie turned out to be such a dick. Not that John Cleese was all that better / more believable as a Nobel Prize-winning physicist either.

This movie's biggest star was obviously CGI Gort together with the CGI spaceship / water bubble and with CGI evil cloud of awesome nanites. Yes, because ever since Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, it's become common knowledge that evil dark alien clouds are way scarier than anything else that we can come up with. Who needs a giant purple-clad cosmic being when you can have freaky microscopic robots that go everywhere around the world selectively destroying things whenever the camera is near.

But don't forget, CGI Gort is cool.

That't the problem here - the CGI got so much of the movie's budget that it became the focus. Instead of trying to send a message to people about the errors of our violent ways, we end up just looking at the pretty colors and wondering why Keanu is so much more animated when pretending to speak another language. And the fact that Jennifer Connelly is probably a lousy mother. And since Jacob (Jaden Smith) was black, naturally he'd think the worst of the aliens and he'd be the one to get us in trouble. Totally not racist since it involves real aliens.

This movie is a joke - and a bad one at that told by a comedian who has no sense of timing either. It's as shame the original was such a powerful and compelling piece while this movie gave me a powerful compulsion to throw up. Ugh.

The Day The Earth Stood Still is further proof that remakes error on the side of wrong more than right and Hollywood needs to give up on ruining the classics of the past. It gets 0.5 ironic instances of Klaatu actually using violence out of a possible 5.

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