Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Day The Earth Stood Still Again!

I'm a fan of the original 1951 movie. See this post for more on that. For whatever reason, I've not ever gone to the trouble to see the 2008 remake. Likely that's just my basic laziness taking hold, and possibly the tepid reviews had something to do with it, but mostly I'm guessing I just didn't want to see a movie that might ruin the grandeur of the original Michael Rennie classic.

Well I found it for super cheap yesterday and couldn't resist any longer. I had to know what had been done.

It turns out it's an okay movie by and large. It lacks the epic scale I'd expected frankly. The story seems very parochial given the sweep of the action. The story kept me involved but there were some issues. Here's the good and the bad.


1. The visuals lively but frankly I had a hard time deciphering the action all the time, especially at the beginning. That's possibly due to my idiotically small screen, but I think clarity was a problem. Special effects can be as sparkly as they want to be, but they must communicate the action effectively or they're a waste of time.

2. The government response seems too bellicose. I expect them to defend the homeland, but treating the alien like a terrorist was a bit too on the nose now, let alone in 2008.

3. Too little Gort action. I didn't immediately get the true sense of his size, but when it was established, we needed some cool scenes with him striding about causing trouble. They seemed to want to keep him implacable and that's good, but that doesn't require immobility. When Gort's true nature is revealed, it's a neat twist but perhaps a bit more could've been done to cue it coming up.

4. The ecological update was okay with me. I've read that Klaatu was not given a speech at the end because it was thought that modern audiences wouldn't tolerate such things. Sheesh, that's a pity if true, but I reject it. This movie if anything is a bit too subtle with its themes at times and a little old-fashioned preaching might've helped tie it together a bit more as the end is a shade underwhelming.

5. The little kid was seriously annoying.


1. Keanu Reeves plays a good alien. His wooden acting is perfect in this role.

2. Jennifer Connelly looked absolutely gorgeous in the role of Helen. She always comes across as reserved but very smart,perfect for this character. Her motivations seemed a bit forced at times, but overall she was dandy.

3. Gort looked fantastic. More Gort required.

Overall I'd give this remake a sturdy "B". It's worth another look for sure.

Rip Off


  1. The Johhny Utah Keno Reeves remake of the film...stunk. I hated it. Read the original story or watch the original film again. But if you are in the mood for an X-files type take on the whole thing...see the remake. But IMHO - it's not really a remake. In fact I don't now what to call it. The X-files reference is close to what it is though.

  2. I agree that this is not nearly as good as the original. I get the sense that the director knew he was treading on sacred ground and tried to turn away from too many things that reminded folks of the original.

    But as a film on its own, I find this one acceptable if not remarkable. It's really odd that as stunning as special effects are today, the effects in the 1951 show still affect me more. When the spaceship suddenly goes silent after landing, it's a great creepy moment, unmatched by anything in the new film.

    Less is indeed more.

    Rip Off


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