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Star - Keanu Reeves
Run Time - 104 minutes
Certificate - 12A
Genre - Sci-Fi
Country - USA
Remaking classic B-Movies is rather irritating enough at the best of times as the whole appeal of them is the dated quirky special effects and clunky acting. The only reason this one was reanimated with modern digital effects is because they knew it would make money if they dumped Matrix star Keane Reeves in it, pulling off his Neo character in the Matrix, as Jeremy Clarkson would say, 'a reasonably priced car with a reasonably size star'. It's all worked out on an algorithm in Hollywood where certain stars guarantee certain returns, regardless of the quality of scripts or plots in these big budget multiplex movies. The film would cost $80 million to make but grossed an impressive $240m back. In recession keep it simple like your target audience and you will rake it in.
Keanu Reeves ... Klaatu
Jennifer Connelly ... Helen Benson
Kathy Bates ... Regina Jackson
Jaden Smith ... Jacob Benson
John Cleese ... Professor Barnhardt
Jon Hamm ... Michael Granier
Kyle Chandler ... John Driscoll
Robert Knepper ... Colonel
James Hong ... Mr. Wu
John Rothman ... Dr. Myron
In 1928 a man exploring in the frozen Hindu Kush discovers a mysterious ethereal orb, which soon envelopes him, awakening with a scar on his hand and the orb gone.
In the present day, the Americans are gathering a select team of scientists and experts in a secret military facility, some unaware of why they are being rounded up, their job to plan what to do if a strange object racing towards earth at the tenth of the speed of light.
As per normal for these films the object is racing towards America, Manhattan to be precise, where it dramatically slows down at the last and lands in Central Park. With the military and cops surrounding it, something emerges, a huge humanoid robot, depositing an alien in human form, Klaatu (Keanu Reeves). Not surprisingly the Americans quickly open fire and soon arrest the illegal immigrant (presumably for making Johnny Mnemonic).
Amongst the group of scientists is the beautiful Dr Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), who soon forms a bond with the monosyllabic Klaatu and aids his escape. It appears the silver orbs are hidden all over the world and if the Americans think this is an invasion force they are surprised when the orbs prepare to leave. But Dr Bensen believes Klaatu has another agenda for his visit and when they and her small son Jacob (Jaden Smith) escape from New York the revelation of his mission goal is truly terrifying. And whatever is happening to planet earth may no longer be reversible, unless she can persuade the United Nations to give the alien the chance to address the world and its fete.
Ok, it's not as bad as you have heard, which is annoying really as there are so many funny title options wasted for this review in case it was a stinker. I will just stick a question mark on the end of them now. It's by-the-numbers Sci-fi action stuff and has no intentions of pulling up any trees with its genius, suffering 40 script re-writes by writer David Scarpa to hit that audience demographic. Its attempt at much needed humour falls flat, as does its new environmental message, the original 1950s version posturing over nuclear war. Those special-effects, although good, are rather perfunctory and uninspiring and so not breakthrough movie there either, which you kind of expected as that was the point of the 2008 version. It captures nothing of the atmosphere and quirkiness of the 1950s original although 'GORT', the huge iconic robot, is kind a cool, presumably enlarged from the first films original 8ft to 28ft for merchandising reasons. The clunky robot did still act Keanu off the screen.
Keanu looks bored throughout and puts in yet another one-dimensional performance, brushing down Neo to save time on reading up on the reasonable script, considering. Little Jaden Smith was cast as an encouragement to dad Will to play the Klaatu character, but Will pulling out late on, leaving the stunning Jennifer Connelly to hold his little hand on set, giggling under his afro. John Cleese cameos the mad professor yet again (presumably to pay for his latest ex wife divorce) whilst everyone else cast are invisible, the point. This is Keanu versus the special effects after all.
It's yet again a film that didn't need to be remade, clearly only green-lighted as the studio felt updating the special effects was enough to pull a crowd, but never the point with this film. It's a classic B-Movie in its own right and should have been left alone. There are one or two sequences that work well but others are there just for the video game spin off. The new ending is rather silly and so a film I would wait until it pops up on Freeview than bothering to go out and rent. The soundtrack isn't bad though.
The CNN Film Blog - "Those next to me in the cinema staring blankly at the screen gave a remarkably similar performance to that of Reeves without even being aware of it".
The Times - "While the new version predictably ups the visual effects, the original source material remains pleasingly intact".
The Cape Times - "Sending a flying v-sign right at the splendid Robert Wise original from 1951, this daft and pointless sci-fi remake has very little to recommend it".
The Ontario Vanguard - "As a flashy big-budget distraction, Stood Still is adequate overall -- rarely above, occasionally below -- and often familiar in its spectacle".
Imdb.com - 5.5/10.0 (60,333 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - 21% critic's approval (35% user's approval)
Metacritic.com - 40% critic's approval rating (48% user's approval)
Radio Times Film Year Book -
Leonard Maltin's Film Year Book -
Of a different opinion:
Surprisingly, although this film has received mixed response in other film reviews: my own view is that it is one of the most credible Sci Fi thrillers I have ever yet felt satisfied of its plausible reality. Perhaps because of the mega chromium android Gort or because of the dazzling special effects?
I don't know why I found myself so pulled into the the whole thing, except that the entire film presents itself as a Marvel Comic revival about a robot at its most superlative: the original writer's intention when he wrote "The day that the earth stood still" was to render it convincing fiction in a time when 1950s cybernetics/nanotechnology and aliens were something of a novel idea and something that science fiction authors exploited these notions, if only to make conclusions about an uncertain future.
Having never seen the original 1951 release, the highly anticipated new film emerged as a slow project that was meant to have debuted in May 2008 according to movie news reports, but arrived in Dec that same year. The 2008 version features an all-star creative cast such as Keanu Reeves, Kathy Bates, John Cleese, Jennifer Conolly, all of who have worked on big budget films before, so understand the pressures of making a box office film for which they have plenty of experience. The writers consist of Harry Bates, who wrote the original short story, David Scarpa, Ryne Douglas Pearson (Mercury Rising) and Stuart Hazledine (Blade Runner, The Knowing) all of who have worked on similar Sci Fi thrillers themed films, so therefore understood what juncture in which the director Scott Derrickson wanted this film to lead. Derrickson himself, a lesser experienced controller of artistic productions, managed the psychological thriller "Hellraiser Inferno" series in 2000, so was prepared for something with greater ambition that The Day The Earth Stood Still provided insatiable scope.
The film chillingly opens in the year 1923 in an Antartic terrain of India when a bioscientist (Reeves) discovers an extraterrestial phenomenen, he attempts to pick-axe at the illuminous sphere that sheds blinding light: You wouldn't think this opening scene has anything to do with the rest of the movie, yet fastforwards to some leap years ahead into the near future, so makes it full of intrigue from the start. Originally, even before 1951, Harry Bates and Edmund North wrote the story from a very early post-war perspective before it was made into a film, so the writers for this 2008 adaption, had to create their own futuristic society equally as convincing. It is hard to tell in what decade of the 21st century we land up, but we know that technology is far more advanced and, for which makes this jump from the past into a present territory, something we can't make any logical connection from this end of the bridge - a hallmark of brilliant Sci Fi film.
Now in the future, earth is visited by alien beings who receive a welcome shooting from the American military defence, one drops to it's death but is then revived and begins the mission he is assigned to save the planet and some of its species from human destruction. I haven't gone into any detail precisely for the reason that I don't want to ruin anything for anyone who hasn't yet seen it. However, if you have ever seen Independence Day, then this film bears striking resemblance and not merely because of it being alien-themed, but more specifically because of what it entails. Perhaps if Roland Emmrich directed The Day The Earth Stood Still instead or as well as Indpendence Day, then his approach may well have been fully loaded with special effects, yet the issue with this exploited area of film-making is that we grow too accustomed to what it can achieve and what its limitations are. Personally, I think that Derrickson has the edge over quite a number of contemporary directors simply because the film doesn't rely entirely upon technical and visual manipulations to unecessary extremes.
Keanu Reeves and the family he befriended featured far more in this film than any special effects - exactly the intention and purpose of derrickson so as to tell it from the perspective of a moral inquiry, not from a point of view that it is pure terror, likey why those who didn't enjoy it couldn't get to grips with it's bare essential human-bonding effect or the fact that Gort was indestructibley dull given that there are only two or three scenes in which its cyberoptic lazer killing eye does some impressive damage. We make the assumption that this lofty, well armoured andriod, is going to be center of stage simply because of how it emerges from out of the thick fog after landing on earth, the defence army realise just how bomb-proof it is - often a reliable indication in a film that the enemy must be destroyed, so therefore will need a lot of plots in which to bring it down.
The production team's strength is witnessed here in that they deliberated over what approach to take and, thankfully they made an informed decision to place more emphasis upon other aspects of the movie that if it had of been all about Gort, then it would be nothing more than a predator verses prey thriller and leave plenty of room for valid criticism.
Another poigniant thing that works for this film is that Helen Benson's son, Jacob (Jaden Smith) acts brilliantly well as Reeves' defiant adversary before a friendship is later struck. Jacob raises the time old question of whether it is moral to destroy the enemy before it gets you - his immediate response is to have the alien forces eliminated, something he believed that his father would have done if still alive. The hairs on my neck stood up when Reeves began going after Jacob - the film scene had made a dramatic shift and felt as if we were entering into The Shining, a demon-spirited Jack Nicholson wildly chasing his son through the ground's maze!
What really worked for me was when Regina Jackson (Kathy Bates) United States secretary of defence was cast as one of the central supporting characters, her previous acting roles have mostly been of strong-tempered women whose authorative presence made all the difference to the quality of this film that could easily have flopped into oblivion if someone with lesser personality had have been chosen. She doesn't have to appear for long in any scene when her stealth sharpness does all the key work, she is a memorable actress that stands high above even her own platform and why I was pleased she was also given an exclusive identity in Titanic.
The sheer creative talent of this film cannot be underestimated when Acadamy Award winning Weta Digital, is one of the most celebrated digital visual effects company that has made millions of contributions to the film industry over the course of almost two decades: I often read about their artistic achievements in The Film Goer guide, so am fully aware of their successes on the whole. The spectacular sphere's for instance, were merely made from custom plastics with lights placed inside to create the illusion of them being gaseous giant planets: you would never have guessed this when they genuinely appear so outer-worldly and intangible to the imagination, but their website discusses how they created such intergalactic domes so you can read all about it if you visit the WETA site.
Clearly, everything about this film is carefully thoughout - even Gore, who was originally designed as a 7 or 8 foot structure in the 1951 film, Harry Bates made him frightening, but not anywhere as near as a 28ft giant in this remake: his uber-build without a voice, makes him something we ought to run and hide.
Perhaps the reason as to why people disliked this film is that it is of the old school 'use your immagination' kind - the original would most definitely have frightened plenty of people simply because they didn't live in such an informed society as we do now: televised documenatries expose UFO phenomenen in weekly formats on Sky as well as all other fascinating science programmes, so nothing is left for us to form our own mental images and concepts of extraterrestial life, especially given that so many Sci Fi fantasy films exploit special effects, our expectations are matched to coincide with this.
The Day The Earth Stood Still is a rare peculiar and precisely because it isn't brimming with too much information - we must think deeper about it and why I conclude it to be a very exceptional science fiction thriller.
...or to give it its full title... The Day The Earth Stood Still And Thought "Dear God, Why Did I Just Waste 90 Minutes of my Life Watching This Crap".
This film really is THAT bad! And it's disappointing cos it's one I was really quite looking forward to watching. I watched it at my mum and dad's house on their 55-inch TV on Sky HD. Before the film the Sky announcer said how great the effects were in HD, raising my hopes further still, but to be honest, I thought the special effects were nothing out of the ordinary at all.
**WARNING - SPOILERS... well, I say spoilers, but they're more like time-savers as in you'll read what happens and then save an hour and a half of your life by not bothering to watch this dross...
Anyway, onto the "story"... In a nutshell, Keanu Reeves is an alien sent to Earth to warn the world leaders that we're treating the plant like crap and as one of the few planets in the universe that can sustain life, the human race must be wiped out for the greater good. Yep that's right, it's not a film about aliens - it's some global warming, sorry "climate change", propaganda crap. Cue some weird spaceship orb things coming to rescue certain species of animals and then a fantastic alien attack on earth with lots of guns, explosions and fantastic CGI.
Oh wait, sorry that last bit didn't happen! Some bird talked the aliens out of it, they returned to their home planet and everyone lived happily ever after hugging trees.
The special effects were very run-of-the-mill and the acting was nothing to write home about, although Keanu Reeves did do a very good wooden alien impersonation making me wonder if he is actually human or not in real life.
I really can't emphasise just how poor this film is. If you want to watch a proper film about an alien invasion, watch Independence Day instead - that has all the things that this film is lacking.
The Day the Earth Stood Still was released in 2008, directed by Scott Derrickson. It has a runtime of approximately 104 minutes and is available on Amazon.co.uk for around £5.
~~~ Synopsis ~~~
Keanu Reeves is an alien visitor who travels to Earth in a mysterious, cloud like orb. It is unknown what he is here to achieve, but the presence of a giant metal robot makes everyone fear the worst.
~~~ My Opinion ~~~
Having never seen the original I was excited to see this when it was first released, but somehow never saw it. It appeared on Sky a few weeks back and although I recorded it I still hadn't got around to watching it. Finally I decided to watch it.
The movie starts quite well, with everything happening quite quickly at the beginning to get the story underway. I was intrigued to see how the movie continued.
Unfortunately after about the first 20 minutes I didn't feel the movie really went anywhere. It just seemed to drag on and on and the eventual conclusion to the movie was somewhat disappointing.
Parts of the movie in the middle were interesting and some of the topics covered gave food for thought, however that was probably as good as it got.
The CGI in the movie was quite good, but compared to modern standards it isn't anything to leave you open-jawed. The effects didn't go over the top and acted as a way to advance the movie, instead of dominating the movie experience.
There isn't much to say about the cast. Keanu Reeves will never have an easier role to play. Simply walking around and talking with absolutely no expression or tone. Anyone could have done this, but at least Keanu gave the movie some sort of star appeal.
The two other main characters are Helen Benson played by Jennifer Connelly and I don't having anything to say on her performance other than she did fine. Young Jaden Smith plays Jacob, who annoyed me, most of the way through the movie (the character, not the actor), but made up for it near the end with a convincing piece of acting.
Overall a decent movie, which I expected to be much better than it, was. The story could have been so much more in my opinion, but I guess that is down to the original. I don't know about other peoples opinions, although I'm guessing most preferred the original (most people normally do, even if the remake is clearly better), but I think the original must have been terrible if it was the same story minus the special effects.
Keanu Reeves ... Klaatu
Jennifer Connelly ... Helen Benson
Kathy Bates ... Regina Jackson
Jaden Smith ... Jacob Benson
John Cleese ... Professor Barnhardt
I saw the original film of The Day The Earth Stood Still many years ago and couldnt really remember much about the story except that there was this big metal robot that stood outside the space ship guarding it and the "alien" who came out of the space ship looking exactly like a human. I am a big fan of Sci Fi films so had been waiting for a chance to see this new version.
I had read quite a few reviews of the film before seeing it and to be honest, most of them were not giving that good a view of it but I still wanted to see it and have my own opinion.
I have to say that I actually enjoyed the film and so did my OH. We watched it on Sky Plus a couple of weeks ago and then I watched it again a few nights ago when I had the evening to myself.
I thought Keanu Reeves played the part of Klatuu, the alien sent to save the Earth, really well. From the minute he was "born" into his human body he was set on completing his mission and was going to let nothing stand in his way.
The story of how he happened to be in the human body form was well explained in this film and made much more sense than what I can remember from the original film.
I thought the idea of having Kathy Bates in the roll of Secretary of Defense for the United States was a nice touch. I had loved her in Misery as the evil, twisted old woman and was wondering how she would come over as someone with authority, but I thought she did a good job, putting across her own determination on acting for the president and protecting the country she was dedicated to.
Jennifer Connelly played the part of Dr Benson, a scientist who had married a soldier with a young son only to find that he was killed in action soon after and she was left to bring up the boy as his mother had also died young. She was totally believable when she had the men knock on the door at the beginning of the film to take her away, not knowing what she was being led into. After meeting with Klatuu she decides to help him in his quest to save the Earth and hence has the authorities after her as well.
The young boy, Jacob, played by Jason Benson was believeable too where he was trying hard to stick up for his dead father and what he thought he would be doing if he was here in this situation.
There was also an appearance of John Cleese as Professor Barnhardt, who Dr Benson takes Klatuu to to try to get help. He didnt have a significant role to play though and I was a bit disappointed with this part of the story.
The special effects were a bit hit and miss nearer the end of the film but I liked the way they did the "space ships", much more believeable than the shiny metal flying saucers we had in older Sci Fi films.
All in all I think if you are a Sci Fi fan then give this a go as you would probably enjoy the story, I know I did.
The film was directed by Scott Derrickson and it has a 12a rating in the UK. It runs for 104 minutes.
Also published on shopping.com under name of harveydog
Well by watching the trailers and reading the my first thoughts were that this was going to be a good movie. With keanu reeves in it, it would be better as he does these sort of roles quite well (Constantine).
The Day The Earth Stood Still is in a nutshell about an alien called Klaatu (Reeves) who comes to Earth so save it. In order for him to save it he has to destroy mankind, because we are not treating earth right and destroying it with the things we do.
Before we hear of his motives it starts off with the government finding out that something is coming and coming fast. So they assemble a bunch of different type of scientists to try and figure out what it is. His arrival via a big ball into the park is not welcomed as if it seems half the police force and army are there. He is then shot, however what they didnt know was that Klaatu had a robot called GORT behind him as some sort of protection and then seems to disable everything! They all stop shooting, end of scene. but survives and after inspection find out that even dough he is an alien he is in human form. Maybe to try and blend it i guess.
One scientist (Helen Benson played by Jennifer Connelly) takes an interest in him and helps him escape and we follow him throughout the film and find out why he is doing what he has come to do and why.
The graphics in this film are amazing and it shows in the part when the military are trying to contain GORT in a secure facility. I think you can guess the rest!
Overall with all the promise from the trailer i was quite dissapointed with this film. The first 10-15mins are probably the best and then after it just seems to fade out. Reeves i thought played the role really well as the emotionally detached alient who doesnt really care and is there to do the job. What quite got to me was the reason as to why Helen Benson went against pretty much everyone to try and save him when she knows what he is going to do.
I spoke to a friend of mine who thought this film was really good but how he thought that i do not know as it took me TWO times to watch this fully.
--Availability of Film--
You can buy this film from loads of places. Right now by the looks of it you can buy it from Amazon for just under a fiver or probably rent it out for cheaper. So i recommend getting it off a friend if they have it, watch and then make your choice of whether to buy or not. Good luck
The original 1951 "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (inspired by the 1940 short story "Farewell to the Master" by Harry Bates) was a classic science fiction movie. Unlike many subsequent and some previous science fiction films, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" looked at the consequences of violence. In this respect it was a good decade ahead of its time. By comparison its remake changes the anti-violence message into an ambiguous and clichéd environmental one. Like many science fiction, horror and fantasy films it also receives the justifiable criticism for CGI overload.
Aside from this, the 2008 remake is an entertaining and adequately executed feature film. It received a lot of negative criticism, which seems a little over the top. The script is pretty tight, the cast work well and the direction and editing ensure the whole picture moves along at a swift yet engaging pace. It pays respectful and even affectionate homage to the storyline and imagery of the original film, and also runs with some its ideas.
Keanu Reeves is cast as Klaatu the alien with a message, backed up by the gigantic robot G.O.R.T. In the original film Gort was an eight foot behemoth. This time he is at least three times that size, although his overall look is clearly very loyal to the original. In the original we are told by Klaatu that Gort has the ability to destroy Earth, without spoiling too much, in this film sees a near demonstration. Aside from "The Gift" this is perhaps the best demonstration of Keanu Reeve's acting ability. Good performances are also put in by co-stars Jennifer Connelly and Will Smith's son, Jaden. There are ever-reliable performances on show by Kathy Bates and a cameo by the great John Cleese.
A sphere from outer space lands in the Central Park in Manhattan. The American government summons a group of scientists to investigate the sphere. Inside is an alien Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) and his robot protector. Klaatu and the robot are captured and sent to a government facility to be investigated by scientists. One of the scientists Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) helps Klaatu escape from the governments facility and Klaatu must then choose between his own self sacrifice or the fate of the human race.
This movie really isn't going to blow you away but that doesn't mean it is terrible either. The cript does not help this film out in any way at all and it just feels like each scene is a separate film and they have just been stuck together in the end in the hope that something good will come out of it. The problem with this is that the story is never able to progress and this gets really irritating.
The acting throughout the whole film is terrible from the whole cast. I have no idea what Keanu Reeves thought he was doing in this film but he does play the only role he could now and that is an emotionless alien.
This film is the biggest high end disappointment since Superman Returns and really lends itself to the presence of a well below par Keanu Reeves to try and sell it. With better directing, better writers and better casting this film could have had a lot more potential unfortunately it is a rather drab film and is not worth a watch at all.
Helen is a scientist when one evening she is summoned by the government to 'help' them. She soon learns that something is fast approaching Earth and it is going to make impact within a few minutes. As the thing lands the Army and Government rush to see what it is and soon discover that it is an alien spaceship.
From the spaceship a creature appears and when it is fired at by the army a giant metal being comes out and attacks back. The creature is soon taken away and the bullet is removed. As the doctors are removing a bullet they make the discovery that the creature has a human form. The creature is called Klaatu and he is here to save the Earth. Little do people know that he is going to do so by killing mankind.
Helen befriends Klaatu and helps him escape so that she can try and stop him from killing the humans. Will Helen be ale to save mankind or are we all destined to die so Earth can be saved?
Well it was third time luck with this film as on the two previous attempts to watch it both me and hubby got so bored with the first 20 minutes that we turned it off. I am glad that we managed to get past this and finally watch it all as it was bugging me not knowing the ending. I will admit that I do know this is a re-make but I have never seen the original so I am unable to comment on how well or bad it was re made Hubby says it was not a bad re make but that the original was better.
The storyline was average and very dull at times. I think that so much more could have been made with it if more time and thought was put into it. The characters were good and I liked Keanu Reeves who played the role of Klaatu. He managed to give off an air of mystery and looked like he was actually scared of the job he was sent to do. I think he did work quite well with Jennifer Connelly who played the role of Helen but at times they were slightly wooden together and I think the storyline would have benefited from a bit more chemistry between the two.
There were a lot of supporting actors in the film and they did all do good jobs with what they were given and helped to give the story a little depth but not much.
The effects in the film were by far the best part. They were all well made and all looked very realistic. I found that they did help improve this otherwise awful film. The soundtrack was nothing to write home about and was very average and unmemorable. I think a lot could have been done with a better soundtrack to help with the emotions and tension throughout he film.
The running time of this film is 99minutes and I did find this was quite long enough. The certificate is a 12 and I think that this is appropriate and this film may suit the younger teenage viewers as it was just too dull for me and hubby.
The DVD which we have does have some bonus features which include:-
Film Commentary by Writer David Scarpa
Still Galleries: Concept art, storyboards, Production Photos
- Re-Imagining 'The Day'
- Unleashing Gort
- Watching the Skies: In Search of extraterrestrial life
- The Day the Earth was 'green'
I have not watched any of these features as the film was not good enough to warrant a watch so I am unable to make comment on them.
I bought this DVD for £5 in Tesco and I really wish I had not as it was dull, boring, unimaginative and at times a load of rubbish so I cannot recommend it. If you still do wish to watch it then would have to recommend renting or borrowing a copy from a friend.
When I first saw the trailer for this, I must admit: I expected good things of it. It was only once the poor reviews started seeping through that I explored a little further and found out that it hadn't really been received very well following its initial box office success.
Undeterred, I borrowed the DVD off a friend, and watched it with an open mind, willing it to defy its critics and astound me. Sadly, I found myself siding with them, as I struggled to maintain interest through what is essentially a sci-fi with good intentions and morals that completely lacks the killer punch.
That Keanu Reeves is the lead role is no reassurance. The often mercurial star has had some great hits as well as some great flops in the past decade or so, and I find his method acting in this kind of role to be repetitive to say the least. He plays Klaatu, an alien who assumes human form in order to judge whether or not the human race deserves to inhabit the earth. And that's it in a nutshell. It's not giving anything away, yet it explains the premise of the film.
You see, the poignant nature of Klaatu is that a whole confederation of other worldly beings exists out there, and he is like a moral hall monitor for the universe in this film. Therefore, he is very serious and detached as a character, and this just doesn't sit very well with me. He is not helped by the all too calm hysteria of Jennifer Connelly's scientist, Jaden Smith's overacting brat, and Kathy Bates' unconvincing SecDef. Not even a small turn by John Cleese as a scientific mentor to Connelly turned the tide on the acting stakes as far as I am concerned.
The special effects, though, are something else. They are, naturally, misplaced in a film whose message is really to make us stop abusing the planet. It carries a message that we are destroying it, that we care little for the environment and our actions are universally irresponsible. Are we capable of change? And will Klaatu think we are and let us all carry on as we were? Do we really care? I have to admit, I wasn't really fussed. I could easily see the message, and I liked that it was being broadcast as such, but the delivery was weak, very weak, and it completely failed to impress me.
I watched the film until the end, and even that is a little weak in its effort to be resounding, the acting remaining below par throughout. The film is a remake of a 1951 film, where again, Klaatu descends to the earth to tell us to stop being abusive. This original version probably had more effect at the time, as it was in relation to the Cold War, and with nuclear war an imminent threat for so many years, this is a serious problem that would have meant more to so many people. While the environment is of course important, its level of importance doesn't reach out to as many as the Cold War would have done. Potentially imminent nuclear war can do that, I suppose.
Overall, not a film I'm ever likely to watch again. I have seen it now, so I have seen the hype and understood the whole concept and what the fuss was all about, but I found the whole experience to be weakly delivered and lacking a killer punch that was necessary. Good special effects, but even they couldn't make me enjoy this.
I'm not a great fan of remakes and The Day The Earth Stood Still doesn't do much to change my opinion. It left me feeling let down to be honest. A lot of these films rely too much on effects and neglect a decent story.
Just for the record the original was released in 1951 and starred Michael Rennie as Klaatu, an alien who is sent to Earth to try and change human behaviour. The 2008 remake stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, Speed etc) as Klaatu and Jennifer Connelly as Dr. Helen Benson, one of a group of scientists who is summoned by the United States government because a large unknown object with a speed of one-tenth of the speed of light is arriving in Manhattan in 78 minutes.
In the opening scene of the film it's 1928 and during an expedition in the snowy mountains of India a person appearing to be Keanu Reeves encounters a glowing sphere. After falling unconscious he wakes up to find a scar on his arm which begins to glow.
Back to the present day like in the first film the flying object lands on Earth and when the alien appears it is shot at just as it is about to make contact with Dr. Benson. A large robot appears and makes a sound that paralyses humans and all electrical systems in New York City including the soldiers' weapons. The alien is taken in for observation and eventually takes on the appearance of Keanu Reeves, the expeditionist from the start of the film. The alien reveals that its name is Klaatu and he represents a group of aliens sent to speak to the United Nations.
Klaatu escapes with the help of Dr. Benson and her stepson Jacob. Yes, that's right, the customary irritating kid who always plays up and wants his own way. Jacob (who I assumed was a girl at first) rings up the authorities revealing Klaatu's whereabouts and almost makes the situation worse but luckily Klaatu develops a bit of compassion and feeling and decides to reconsider humanities's fate.
Meanwhile the military has somehow captured Klaatu's robot which they have named GORT (Genetically Organised Robotic Technology) and they begin to carry out experiments on it. However GORT transforms itself into a swarm of weird fly like insects which destroy everything in its path including an armoured battalion of the U.S Army.
Keanu Reeves is okay as Klaatu and is a reasonably convincing alien. Jennifer Connelly is good as Dr. Helen Benson but Jaden Smith is quite irritating as her stepson Jabob. Kathy Bates as Regina Jackson, the United States Secretary Of Defence considering she only had two weeks to learn her lines pulls it off. John Cleese makes a brief appearance as Professor Karl Barnhardt, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist.
The special effects as you would expect are quite good but the film moves at quite a slow pace and lacks excitement. The ending is a disappointment too.
The Day The Earth Stood Still was given an 12 certificate which is about right. There isn't really any violence during the film, although during one scene Klaatu makes a car reverse into the path of a policeman killing him instantly. However he brings him back to life moments later.
Interesting fact - Jaden Smith's mother Jada Pinkett-Smith appeared in The Matrix films.
Only after reading some of the other reviews to see what they thought of this film did I realise this was a re-make of a 'classic'. I can't compare as I had no idea, so I'll just give you my view on it. When my partner told me he had rented this, I looked at him as if to say "oh Christ!". It sounded similar to The Day after Tomorrow which I could pick holes in all day. His response was "it's got Keanu Reeves in it" to which I thought "ah pretty good, I'll give it a go". He then followed up with "It's about Aliens landing on the earth". My interested-o-meter plummeted again. Surely this has been done to death?? I was fearing that the next 2 hours would be spent in as much boredom and pain as watching "War of the Worlds" another 'classic' picked by my partner.
It didn't let me down, whilst not the worst film in the world (that title would have to go to Meet the Spartans) it certainly wasn't a thriller. Another review on here said that the characters lacked motives to do things, and that made you wonder what on earth or why on earth they were doing what they were doing - there was poor reasoning behind their decisions.
Brief plot: Alien forms land on earth in little pods. Aliens aren't happy with human race. Aliens want to save planet but not human race. Main character female (Jennifer Connolly) needs to try and alter their mind about human race. The end. Literally I cannot expand on the plot any more without giving spoilers.
I was impressed at first as the opening scenes get you right into the film, something has happened, it's happening now and the alien pod is on the screen in about 5 minutes. Great stuff, you usually have to wait half of the film to see them and then the second half to watch a battle. Not here, things happen fairly quickly.
Claatu is the main 'alien' (and indeed only alien) played by Keanu Reeves, instantly the main character forms a bond with him, for reasons only known unto herself, she decides to help him. Her step-son (Jaden Smith) asks why she is helping him and it is a question we all want to know but don't ever seem to get an answer for. Lack of motive = unbelievable.
There is a nice scene with John Cleese in which was a bit strange to see him pop up in a Hollywood Blockbuster but his acting was excellent in this film, he didn't disappoint.
Can the female lead convince the alien that the human race is decent? Well that all depends on one scene, albeit marginally sweet, it was not moving as the director would have wanted us to feel emotion, but I felt it was such a weak ending. It was suddenly like someone cut the film's budget, and they had to wrap the story up quickly without any development.
There was no tension in the film, despite "dramatic" music which failed to make an impact - I can't remember a single piece of the music from the film. The special effects are awesome though probably the best thing I can say about this terrible film, especially when all the bugs disintegrate things, the SFX are really good. Can't take that away from this, and it must have been fairly high budget as there are a lot of extras milling around in military uniforms and some big special effects, none the least the alien globes which spin around and look like a sky in another world.
To be honest, I've found it quite hard to review because there is really that little to say about it. Needless to say partner and I won't be watching this again. Don't waste 2 hours or your money!
A review of just the film, this is the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which was released on region 2 DVD in April 2009. The price online is already dropping quite considerably.
When scientist Dr Helen Benson is abruptly rounded up by the US secret service, she is taken to a secret location along with a host of other leading scientific experts. Once they are assembled, they are briefed on a matter of national security; a large alien craft is on a trajectory that will see it impact New York's Central Park within two hours. But at the last minute, the craft fails to impact and instead lands peacefully in the park, where a humanoid creature emerges before a mass of military and police personnel. The creature is taken into custody and displays incredible generative processes, such that within hours it has taken the shape of an adult male human. Initially interrogated by the military, the creature introduces itself as Klaatu, an alien being sent to meet with the world's leaders. But when the request is denied, Klaatu issues a chilling warning for the future of whole mankind and instigates a chain of events that could be the end of life on earth as we know it.....
I'm not entirely opposed to the concept of remaking an old film. Whilst old films were appropriate in their day and often stand the test of time far better than their modern counterparts, there are some stories that are worthy enough to be retold in an era when special effects and modern technology can, potentially, create something exciting and new. The original of The Day the Earth Stood Still was released in 1951 and whilst worthy of the affection and respect from film viewers and critics, is not the masterpiece that some purport it to be.
The remake is, of course, everything that you would expect a modern blockbuster to be. Only marginally thought-provoking, this is a film produced and generated for a very specific reason - to make lots and lots of money. As such, recognising that to generate significant output you need reasonable input, the big budget provides the scope for lots of action, lots of special effects and the frantic, dizzying pace reflects the need to keep the audience entertained enough so that they don't question any of the rather patchy detail. It's not the car crash that some reviewers would have you believe, but it's wise not to pause too long or else the average audience member will find himself picking it apart at the seams.
There are hints and flavours of other recent sci-fi blockbusters here, notably Independence Day, which had a more humorous lilt to keep the spirits high but employed the same grandiose approach to the spectacle of global disaster. Like Independence Day, The Day is one of those films that should serve as a warning to mankind that their number could be up and the rest of the film's running time is spent trying to avert a species-threatening disaster. It seems that we're being watched, and our audience is finally running out of patience with our unethical little ways, with one resounding solution. From there on in, it's a clicking tock situation where our heroine, Dr Benson, does her best to persuade an alien race that mankind isn't so bad after all.
But The Day is, initially at least, rather more sinister and mysterious than Roland Emmerich's Independence Day. As the world gathers and watches to see what will happen, the reaction is immediate hostility, unlike the celebratory welcoming parties that adorned the rooftops in Emmerich's picture. There's a foreboding air to the proceedings as the alien Klaatu refuses to reveal his intentions and for some time, the audience doesn't know whether to be frightened or not. It's in these earlier scenes that director Scott Derrickson achieves the most. Unsure of what will happen next, it's never entirely clear whether this is an invasion tale or not and fear of the unknown is the director's greatest asset. Sadly, as it moves into its second act, it becomes a rather more predictable enterprise, even if the big-budget action scenes provide the spectacle required to entertain us whilst Klaatu decides whether to save us or not.
Of course, it's a rather ill-conceived, conceited notion. The writer (David Scarpa) seems intent on suggesting that those there humans aren't so bad after all and deserve another chance, when of course nothing could be farther from the truth. Clogging up the planet with unwanted children, polluting the atmosphere and wasting every natural resource at its disposal, mankind is almost certainly destined for disaster and I'm afraid it would take more than one teary-eyed woman and her moppet-like child to convince your average intergalactic adjudicator. Indeed, what is it that persuades the alien race to change its mind? In The Day, all the audience sees is a woman that's protective of her offspring, but this is just a natural survival instinct that, in ecological terms, simply guarantees the maintenance and proliferation of more and more parasitic humans. Scarpa takes the easy way out and suggests that there's something redeeming about the human race, as though the audience simply couldn't cope with any other kind of action.
Like many mindless blockbusters, the narrative is peppered with little bouts of action, intended to ensure that the audience hasn't accidentally nodded off. These are the film's most memorable moments and wouldn't have disappointed the waiting, popcorn-munching audience. The computer-generated GORT is rather more impressive here, affectionately retaining most of the look and feel of his 1950s counterpart, albeit on a rather larger scale. GORT's eventual capabilities are nicely done, with a nasty enough edge to make this realistic without being unpleasant and there are some great scenes of carnage towards the end. In fairness to the director, the brief was for a blockbuster and it's safe to say that Derrickson busts plenty of blocks.
As the alien visitor Klaatu, Keanu Reeves is almost perfectly cast, given only that the role demands that he is wooden and emotionless (qualities that Reeves fairly exudes). Indeed, Reeves is probably the only good casting choice here in a film that suffers terribly from ill-conceived characterisation. The need to add Will Smith's mop-haired son Jaden as a bit of emotional interest for our heroine Helen Benson is a really bad idea and the whinging, irritating little brat engenders nothing positive. Jennifer Connelly is reasonably convincing as Dr Helen Benson, but seems out of place in a dominant lead role and it's easy to imagine more appropriate choices (Jodie Foster would have been excellent, for example.) Kathy Bates is excruciatingly unconvincing as the Secretary of Defence and looks so uncomfortable it's almost as if she knows how useless she is. Robert Knepper (T-Bag in Prison Break) is running the risk of massive over-exposure and a short cameo from John Cleese as a Nobel prize-winning professor seems a little underused.
But, the fact remains that the whole thing hangs together rather well, albeit in a very undemanding fashion and although the narrative is littered with lots of plot holes, there's nothing that actually 'looks' bad in this, and that's saying something, at least. This is one of the productions that, in some way, would have been close to heresy and could probably have never garnered popularity, but, expecting something truly awful as I was, I found something much more likeable than I expected. But I'd still have killed the kid.
The original The Day the Earth Stood Still is an iconic and extremely good science fiction film that had a wealth of impressive anti-war sentiment in wake of both World War II, and chiefly, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. This is a film that's about how the technology we build to protect ourselves can so often be proliferated against us, and a theme that has since been used in many superb films such as 2001: A Space Oddysey, Blade Runner, and The Terminator.
The remake, however, suffers from typical remake syndrome - it undoes the spirit of the previous film, making little reference to the 1951 version's allusions and themes. Instead, it drowns any dishy thematic material with a wealth of visual effects (many of which look very hokey indeed), and a wealth of familial sentimentality that simply doesn't hit home. One must feel sorry for Jennifer Connolly, who delivers a decent performance, but frankly, is caught up in the emotional, bathetic whirlwind of a script that promotes emotional resonance without establishing characters that are particularly likeable or sympathetic. On the plus side, Keanu Reeves' routinely wooden demeanour actually works for once - he is playing Klaatu, the visiting extra terrestrial, and considering how lacking in affect he was in the original, he actually works within the scheme of the film's logic.
Unfortunately, everything is just a pale reworking that's utterly forgettable in every regard - it's a remake that's neither a loving ode to the original, or something startlingly new enough to defend itself in its own right.
This hollow remake retains a little of the original's spirit, but is marred by so-so performances, a shoddy script, some questionable visual effects, and a bathetic sense of sentmentality.
***The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)***
I love films like this. End of the world, mankind pulls together kind of stuff. I was so looking forward to it, as I also adore The Matrix trilogy. I have to say that both myself and my children were a tad disappointed.
***What's it all about?***
Well the whole premise is great; it is of course a remake of the version made in 1951, but I couldn't comment on any comparison, as I have not seen the original. The film is centres on Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) who returns to earth on behalf of a group of aliens. He is accompanied by his robot GORT.
It is revealed that he is here to inspect earth and it's inhabitants to see if they are worthy of remaining on the earth, which to the aliens is a kind of protected nature reserve.
A group of scientsis is assembled at the start of the film, as the American government become aware of the impending threat. One of the scientists is a microbiologist called Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) who takes a different stance immediately compared to the aggressive approach taken by her colleagues.
HIs arrival is not met with a welcome; straight away he is shot, but survives and is operated on by the scientists. It appears that although Klaatu is alien, he appears to have an alien form.
Helen also has a son called Jacob Benson (Jaden Smith) who also plays a key part. Helen helps Klaatu escape and the film follows him as he comes to a decision about the future of the earth and its inhabitants. Meanwhile the military are concerned with studying and containing GORT, which is more difficult than they first thought...
What will Klaatu think of humans, what will his ultimate decision be...
I had mixed feelings about this film. The first thing I noted was that the special effects were great and presented the aliens and their spacecraft in a more unusual light, which I thought was quite imaginative. Also the film got off to rapid start, introducing Helen quickly and introducing us to Klaatu within the first 10 minutes or so.
I enjoyed the opening scenes very much, they were pacy and full of suspense as we waited to see what the impending threat was. It really did feel like end of the world time and the scene when the spacecraft lands was very well executed.
I have to say that the best part of the film is the beginning, because after that it really does lack action and tension. I think that Keannu Reeves does an adequate job of appearing emotional detatched (something he has done many times before!!!) and I was happy with Jennifer Connelly as the concerned scientist.
Having said this, it is not clear why Helen goes against the grain and immediately trusts Klaatu, there doesn't appear to be any special insight or reason for why she acted in this way. I would have liked to see more of a relationship between the two (not necessarily romantic), I just thought that it would add to the film as a whole.
The other notable actors were Kathy Bates as American Defense Secretary and John Cleese as an eminent and wise professor. I thought that Kathy Bates was wasted to be honest. She is such a good actress, but her character wasn't at all challenging and was extremely stereotypical in the decisions that she had to make.
John Cleese was fine in his small part, but again I felt that his main contribution was as a well known name to add to the trailer/billboard.
The soundtrack was acceptable but not memorable, writing this now, I can't actually remember much about it, even though I only watched it last night.
Special effects are a major part of this film and perhaps were relied on too much. In comparison to other films like Independence Day or even War of The Worlds, it was very tame (and I'm not saying these were masterpieces!!), it just didn't seem to get going or keep you on the edge of you seat. It just kind of fizzled out and seemed to end in an abrupt manner too.
Overall this was a film with such promise, that utlimately failed to deliver. I gave it 6/10, but my children were much more harsh, they only rated it 4/10 and said they wished they had watched something else on a Saturday night
It is currently available from Amazon for £12.98 which I just wouldn't pay, as I won't be watching it again anytime soon. I rented it for £1.99 and that is what I will be recommending. It is worth a watch if only to make up your own mind, just don't expect too much.
This review will also be published on Ciao.co.uk under the same username.