Thursday, 01 October 2020
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Sunday, 21 December 2008 22:30

ThumbnailThe original 1958 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still is a classic that to this day features some pretty iconic visuals. I’ve never even seen the movie yet I can picture scenes from it as though they were melded into my brain at birth or something. I seem to inherently “know” about comic books or sci-fi without ever having been aware of the exposure, which could be due to growing up under the influence of two much older brothers. Or it’s possible that I have been abducted and implanted with a chip that has given me the knowledge I need to communicate with the inner-geek who inhabits my female earthly body. I figure it’s one or the other.

The remake features a lot of the right components but just doesn’t seem to come together in a peaceful way, much like humans and aliens can never seem to come together in a peaceful way in these movies. In this case, the American people react pretty much how one would expect them too when illegal aliens land in their country – with gunfire.

The first part of the movie had me hooked and really did a fantastic job of setting up the mood and atmosphere surrounding first contact with alien life. I was reminded a little of the The New World and the way that film effectively depicted first contact between Natives and white European settlers. Jennifer Connelly has been a favorite of mine since I wanted to BE her in Labyrinth acting opposite the sexiest Goblin King ever, David Bowie. (My inner-geek is reminding me that David Bowie also starred in a sci-fi classic, The Man Who Fell to Earth.)

So after a very exciting and promising first third of the film, things start to fall apart. Having been shot and captured by the humans, the peaceful alien Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) is birthed rather disgustingly into a human form and escapes with a little help from his only earthly friend, Ms. Connelly. After that things start to get a little, well, BORING as the alien, the girl and her bratty adoptive son literally wander around in the woods aimlessly trying to keep from being recaptured. Of course the annoying little kid does his best to screw things up for everyone by being a general pain and a tattle-tail. The violence inflicted upon Klaatu is bringing about the end of the world, since it seems like humankind has no redeeming qualities and must be exterminated. Even Klaatu himself seems powerless to stop it, though he realizes not all humans are bad.

ThumbnailVisually the movie is quite nice, and Connelly puts in a good performance. Keanu Reeves does what he does best playing an expressionless android who can’t understand human emotions. Well, that’s good for a laugh, but I’m being hard on him. He really can act when he puts his mind to it, and he’s made some interesting choices. He’s not bad in this since he basically delivers the performance required for such a character. Klaatu isn’t exactly Mr. Touch-Feely.

The Day the Earth Stood still did a serviceable job of making me want to watch the original to see what I’m missing. It wasn’t a complete waste of time, but wasn’t very memorable either.