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?


Rottentomatoes: 24%Cream of the Crop: 16%

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6 Responses to “The Day the Earth Stood Still”
  1. Tim says:

    Hey, Blake. Haven’t seen the film–and don’t imagine I will until I’m stuck in some cookie-cutter hotel room and it’s between that and Anderson Cooper chasing down gorillas. But I think I can answer your question about how it came to be.

    This is one of those remakes of a 50’s “message movie” that a clutch of soft-headed Hollywood liberals believes bears relevance to our time. When the original came out, paranoia ran deep–Commies under ever rock and the Bomb due to drop any minute. 1951’s Klaatu had the good sense to park his saucer on the outskirts of DC, where he could get the attention of the powers that be with his peace, love, and understanding message. Sight unseen, my guess it that this version pushes the same bromides, but they’re probably inane given that in today’s climate, we’re the villains, not the Russians. So I suspect what sounded like a “powerful” idea in the conference room (though it wasn’t) went south when the do-gooders figured out their movie had no moral.

    And being the old goat that I am, it pisses me off to see today’s studio nimrods ransack the past based on half-baked notions about “updating” great, or near-great old pictures. This is just the latest in a list that includes movies like “The Heartbreak Kid,” “The Women,” “Bedazzled,” “The Pink Panther” (and about a half-dozen other travesties Steve Martin will atone for). It’s not just that these pictures are bad–they make the gems they’ve raped look bad, too, especially for anybody who sees the originals after the fact.

    The 1951 version of “Stood Still” was cheesy in a lot of ways by the time I saw it in the 60’s. But it still packed a wallop. And Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal were in top form. Now, thanks to another misbegotten attempt at pulpit producing, I fear it will never be to others all that it was for we who were privileged to see it before Keanu and Jennifer got ahold of it.

    One last bit in a comment that’s already gone on too long. I’m with you on Jennifer’s vixen appeal, but I’m not convinced she’s got the chops that many think she does. I nearly got kicked out of “Blood Diamond” for laughing at her ham-fisted radio phone conversation with Leo. And I’ve actually tried to remember her in “House of Sand and Fog,” but the best I get is her driving a station wagon or something.

    As for Keanu, well, bless his heart, the man’s a boy and he can’t help it. I actually prefer him to her because he’s just a lump of clay. But when good directors–like van Sant or the Wachowskis–get ahold of him, he’s malleable. At least he knows he doesn’t know what he’s doing; with her, I’m not so sure.

  2. Blake says:

    I agree that Jennifer Connelly is hit and miss. But, if you need convincing that she can come through, you should watch Little Children, and Requiem for a Dream. She’s brilliant in both.

  3. Fletch says:

    So, I was smart enough to avoid Trannie 3 but dumb enough to watch this…which would you say is worse?

  4. CinderRocks says:

    why did you even see this? i’m confused.

    keanu reeves has just gone downhill since bill and teds.

  5. Blake says:

    Fletch: Transporter 3 was definitely worse. I was angry after watching that movie because it was so bad. After TDTESS, I was completely ambivalent.


  6. Lace says:

    No offense, but I have to say Keanu really can’t act, he’s a stone without any expression on his face at all. If being a alien means no facial expression is required??than anybody can just play the role. So he is in it just because of he’s star’s appeal?? He have always been a mega star in sci-fiction movies and also earning 8 razzie nomination for worst performance by an actor over the years. He has always been a star not a actor. Fact this fact and don’t shift the blame on the directors who is directing the movie or his co-stars. I think Jennifer was ok for her role so were Kathy bates and Jaden smith. They are the ones who knows what they are doing.

    keanu reeves fans simply can’t take criticism and face facts. Beside being a remake , the script doesn’t make it. Keanu Reeves just can’t make it . And yes he got another razzie nomination for this role as well.

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