Sponsored Links

Your Ad Here

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Rated: PG-13 for some sci-fi disaster images and violence.
Runtime: 1 hr 44 mins
Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy
Theatrical Release:Dec 12, 2008 Wide
Box Office: $79,136,963
Reviews :
Long after we are gone, science fiction movies about our impending extinction will instruct whoever comes next that we were a strange, neurotic species indeed. We could not — cannot — get enough of fantasies of destruction, meant at once to inflame and soothe our fear of vanishing altogether, whether through war, ecological catastrophe, disease or alien invasion.
We know we have it coming, and a movie like “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” either in its 1951 version or in the “reimagining” that opens Friday, invites us to feel fleetingly bad about that even as we are encouraged to laugh it off. The laughter — at the earnest reckoning occasioned by a weary-looking extraterrestrial and his giant robot; at the panic and distress their visit provokes — serves as a necessary balm. Like other overwhelming emotions, the fear of apocalypse becomes more palatable when it is turned into camp.


The old “Day,” made early in the atomic age, has long inspired this kind of laughter. It has also, in part because of its expressive, shadowy black-and-white cinematography, retained a measure of haunting, unsettling weirdness.

Any hope that the new “Day,” directed by Scott Derrickson from a script by David Scarpa, might also someday rise above its pulpy, corny, somber silliness rests mainly on the shoulders of Keanu Reeves. Those shoulders are perfect for filling out a dark, narrow suit, just as Mr. Reeves’s deadpan basso and permanently perplexed features make him an ideal Klaatu, as the space visitor is called. Klaatu’s job is to assist, calmly and methodically, in the extermination of the human race, a task he tries, with evident fatigue, to explain to his hysterical, violent would-be victims.

Only one will listen: Dr. Helen Benson, played with a bit too much ennui by Jennifer Connelly. Helen, an expert in astrobiology, is part of a team of scientists taken into government custody by force when a giant orb seems about to crash into the Earth. Instead it lands in Central Park, disgorging that giant metal Cyclops robot (a near replica of the one from the earlier movie) and poor Klaatu.

The secretary of defense (Kathy Bates, with Hillary Clinton’s demeanor and Sarah Palin’s hair) responds with military force, which only speeds the process of humanity’s annihilation and demonstrates that our executioners may have a point. We’re such a brutal, dumb, incorrigible life form that the only way the planet can survive is if we’re no longer on it. (In 1951 the case against us was mainly pacifist. Now the anti-militarism has a more urgent and explicit ecological dimension.) A metastasizing swarm of metal bugs — the best special effects in a movie that often looks cheap and bedraggled — is dispatched to eat us and everything we’ve made, or at least everything on the New Jersey Turnpike.

But wait, Helen pleads. We can change! To provide evidence of this transformative potential she takes Klaatu to see her mentor, Professor Barnhardt (John Cleese), a scientist who listens to Bach and was awarded a Nobel Prize for “altruistic biology.” Apparently this is the Swedish Academy’s euphemism for pimping: the good doctor’s advice to Helen about how to approach Klaatu is to “persuade him not with your reason, but with yourself.”

Still, any movie that awards a former Monty Python cast member a Nobel Prize in anything cannot be all bad. And “The Day the Earth Stood Still” could be worse. Its scenario and many of its scenes feel ripped off rather than freshly imagined — why do aliens always seem to end up in New Jersey? — and the relationship between Helen and her stepson, Jacob (Jaden Smith), does not quite add the necessary element of heart-tugging sentiment.

After “Wall-E” and “I Am Legend” and the dozens of apocalypse flicks since the last “Day the Earth Stood Still” we can surely do better. Even Klaatu looks bored and distracted, much as he did back when we knew him as Neo.

A remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic of the same name, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL follows astrobiologist Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) as she is unceremoniously plucked from her everyday life... A remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic of the same name, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL follows astrobiologist Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) as she is unceremoniously plucked from her everyday life with her stepson (Jaden Smith), and whisked away to consult the government on a top-secret matter. That matter happens to be the arrival of a massive glowing sphere in Central Park, accompanied by a towering robot-like protector dubbed Gort and an alien ambassador named Klaatu (Keanu Reeves), who takes up human form to communicate with the people of Earth. When Klaatu finds himself faced with hawkish, uncompromising officials, he goes on the run with Benson and her son as the fate of the world gradually becomes clear. Directed by Scott Derrickson (THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE), this reimagining of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is fairly reverent to the original film, while adding a number of 21st-century elements, most notably a darker tone embodied by a more threatening Gort and the chilly, contemplative Klaatu, who is portrayed with pitch-perfect remove by Reeves. While the film--and the fate of humanity--rests on Reeves's shoulders, the cast is impressively filled out by Connelly and Smith, along with Kathy Bates, John Cleese, and familiar TV actors Jon Hamm (MAD MEN) and Kyle Chandler (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS). Derrickson also tempers excellent special effects with a bleak color palette and plenty of existential turmoil, making this EARTH a thoughtful and fascinatingly moody blockbuster. [Less]

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith, John Cleese, Jon Hamm, Kyle Chandler, Kathy Bates
Director: Scott Derrickson
Screenwriter: David Scarpa
Producer: Erwin Stoff, Paul Boardman, Gregory Goodman
Composer: Tyler Bates
Studio: 20th Century Fox



Fans Movie

Sponsored Links

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP