Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: The Day The Earth Stood Still

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw The Day The Earth Stood Still Friday night, for my birthday.

Okay, now, it’s probably important to know that the original version of The Day The Earth Stood Still is one of my all-time favorite science-fiction films. It’s regarded by most film scholars as a classic, and not just of science-fiction. So, I did my best to set aside any preconceived notions of how this film should run or the ways that it could go wrong and just enjoy it for what it is.

The movie stars Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly. I’m not a big fan of Keanu Reeves, even though he starred in the Matrix, but I do adore Jennifer Connelly. In any case, Reeves stars as the alien who’s deciding whether or not to eradicate all life on Earth, to let it restart, basically. To remove all of humanity’s damage so that the Earth can restore herself to her natural, pristine state. Jennifer Connelly plays a scientist who is called in to study Klaatu, played by Reeves. She and Klaatu form an uneasy alliance as he explores the world he’s come to destroy and the people he’s come to erase.
Naturally, the plot runs about the way you think it would. Klaatu starts off remorseless and determined to fulfill his mission. Connelly’s character uses every means at her disposal to convince him to do otherwise. She uses her son, who’s really the son of the man she was married to before he died. That’s one of many departures from the original film. Connelly’s character is really several characters from the original film all in one. She also takes Klaatu to see a genius friend of hers to try to convince him that humanity can change and the Earth isn’t lost. The genius is played by John Cleese, who is a real genius and actually plays a serious role here.

Now, normally, I try not to spoil films and books by not giving too much away. But, I’m going to deviate from that a bit here and just warn you that I’m totally going to fill the rest of this paragraph with spoilers. If you don’t want to “ruin” the movie for yourself, skip to the next section. Ready? Still with me? Okay, so the movie was okay, but it seemed like it was building towards something then, suddenly, with the Earth saved, the movie just ends. So, there’s all this huge build up and then… Poof! Nothing. Fade to black and roll the credits. That’s it. A mediocre film with great effects that just never quite pays off in the end.

So, yeah, it was okay, I suppose. Most of the film was decent enough, except for the part I described in the “spoiler paragraph” above. It’s a shame, really, since Reeve and Connelly do a good job otherwise and have decent roles going right to the end. The movie just never seems to get to its point, we never get the pay-off that we’re expecting. Worse yet, I don’t ever remember Keanu uttering the famous words from the 1951 original: “Klaatu barada nikto! ”

I recommend that you see this on the big screen, but at a matinee. This remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still isn’t as good as the original, but the effects make it worth seeing on the big screen, just not at full price.

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