The Day the Earth Stood Still
Get this: apparently we (the human race) aren’t taking care of the planet, and should really get our act together. A big thank you to all those involved with The Day the Earth Stood Still for bringing this to our attention. Who would have realized this without such a poignant and relevant movie to tell us?
The Day the Earth Stood Still follows brilliant Princeton scientist Helen (Jennifer Connelly) who gets roped into one crazy ass situation: a big colorful sphere landed in Central Park! She’s got a step-son (a weak Jaden Smith) who is a remnant of a short but meaningful marriage that ended in the death of him, not her (not only has this film gone green, but it clearly supports interracial relationships!). She’s part of a team that’s thrown together (by John Hamm no less) to solve the problem of an unidentified object traveling a bajillion miles an hour through space, straight towards Manhattan. It turns out that the UFO contains Keanu Reeves in the role of Klaatu, the human–err–thing that will decide the fate of planet Earth, one of only a few planets in the universe capable of supporting complex organisms. It’s up to Helen to use her wit to (and a Nobel Prize-winning friend played by John Cleese) convince Klaatu that there’s a good side to being human.
Keanu actually excels in this role that requires showing absolutely no emotion. He’s found his pigeonhole. Jennifer Connelly is the reason I saw the film (those hips could drag me to anything), and she’s okay. But, like the film, her performance is unremarkable and overly done. This movie is a literal remake, and a repeat of scores of films made in the last twenty years. There’s not much to draw your attention here. Director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) performed on par with the mediocrity of his past films. Perhaps it wasn’t his fault though, the cliched script by David Scarpa (an update on the 1951 script by Edmund H. North) didn’t allow much wiggle room for anything above average. It’s not that the film is terrible, you’ll probably consider yourself entertained for it’s one hour and fifty minute run time, but it’s just all been done before. The biggest issue I have with the film is this: why are movies like The Road and Deception getting pushed back til next spring, when half-assed pieces like The Day the Earth Stood Still could have taken a hit for the team?