The Day the Earth Stood Still (12A)

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Thu Dec 11 2008

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. Removing any real threat of worldly destruction, underlying political paranoia and honest-to-goodness spectacle, this turgid (but thankfully brief) mass of underachieving Hollywood hackery is half moderately diverting end-of-days effects flick, and half M Night Shyama-lecture.

The film opens with Keanu Reeves on top of a snowy Indian peak in the 1920s. He encounters a green, glowing orb which, it transpires, is there to harvest his DNA in order to clone his supple body and send him down as a human emissary at the point when the future of the human race is beginning to look bleak. (How the original missed this 'essential' backstory is anyone's guess). Flick forward to the present, and NASA have come across an oddity on their radars. There's a huge mass hurtling towards the earth at outrageous speeds. It turns out Keanu’s back, this time with an assignment to obliterate the human race.

Tonally, it’s all over the shop, difficult to peg as either a serious-minded action flick with an imagination-free ecological message or a self-satisfied ‘Disaster Movie’-style mockeryjig which rolls out the clichés for us to point and laugh at. There are moments which retain the camp sheen of the original, but at no point is there anything to suggest they are intentional. The first cause for concern is the casting; Keanu Reeves, who essays Michael Rennnie’s hyper-intense Klaatu as a fleshpod devoid of emotion, irony and depth, can really chalk this up as one of the lesser entries into his already questionable acting canon.

And who to play the political spokesperson for the planet? The threat has been made, the masses are panicking: paging Kathy Bates! Also, the usually impressive Jennifer Connelly crops up doing a ‘running around looking concerned/confused’ act (see also ‘Labyrinth’) as an affable astrobiology lecturer who’s dropped into the control room of the disaster in order to convince Keanu that the world is worth saving. Obligatory gooey-kid sidekick arrives in the form of Jaden (son of Will) Pinkett-Smith, who really is the only one on screen who, it seems, is there for his CV and not the paycheque.

The first laugh comes from the doomy astro sage’s decision not to land his death vessel at the political hub of Washington DC (as in the original), instead logging co-ordinates for the cosier environs of New York’s Central Park, presumably to dole out shockwave-based punishment to the Mocha-slurping yuppies of the Upper East Side. Is this a veiled suggestion that the power base in the US has shifted north to the economic nucleus of Wall Street? An attempt to cash-in on the post-9/11 paranoia where big cities are also the juiciest targets for ‘terror attacks’? Or simply, because the makers haven’t bothered to watch the original?

But let's return to that death vessel for a moment. It’s not really a vessel as such. Instead of the shiny, iconic flying saucer from the first film (a great design for those with one eye on the toy market), we get a luminescent disco ball which looks like the sort of hippy-dippy Earth Mother rubbish that Athena used to slap on posters and punt on to new-age farmers-market types.

When the aliens decide to reveal themselves, there’s no tension whatsoever as the bay doors creek open and they slowly descend from the steps (a la ‘Close Encounters…’). Keanu and his looming metallic CGI protector, Gort, simply appear out of a glimmering light until one of the more trigger-happy grunts from the US army swiftly decides to let off a test round into the former's chest.

Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity here (and one that would have certainly mellowed the hearts of the sci-fi die hards likely to pelt the screen with urine-filled molotovs) is the decision not to intone the famous ‘safe words’ from the original – ‘Klaatu barada nikto!’ – which were used to call off Gort’s spree of wanton destruction. There are moments in the final scene where you’re waiting for them to be said, where Keanu takes a sober glance into the middle-distance and raises his arm to the blizzard of chaos, but, alas, those hallowed words never pass his lips. Could the writers have not made something up? A cool, quotable phase for the 21st century?

Then you’ve got Gort. He’s metallic, he’s massive and he’s got a laser in his eye – why, oh why would you then decide to have him transform into a cloud of microscopic metallic locust-type creatures that ravage everything in their path? Couldn’t he have stomped around New York blowing things up with lasers? The infuriating moments are numerous, but there is still something about this laborious , product-placement filled guff which just raises it above the one-star mark. Perhaps it’s the fact that the message is, in the end, so limp and vague that, for all its faults, you almost forgive it for not being too preachy.

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Dec 12, 2008

Duration:

103 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5
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Decibel

I agree with drdavid911 said. Some ppl take no time to watch movies with an open mind. This guy is so caught up to tell ppl how bad the movies is that never realize the acting is quite good IMO. Perhaps cuz not many folks take Keanu Reeves seriously. I must say his acting skills are unusual, but that's why i think Keanu is a certain type of actor that can never play Hamlet, gosh i see so much rubbish throwing at us that ppl think is good but it is not, that let me baffled when "critics" go after Keanu Reeves. When he did Johnny Mnemonic which i really liked, The Matrix, and when he did Constantine, no matter what this guys does, somebody out always take him down. If the movie is not appreciated ppl never blame it on themselves for not liking it. Those kind of ppl see the art of acting only in a limited way; drdavid911 pointed out they do no have the skill to see behind the obvious, ITA details make a huge difference when watching a movie, things such as the era, the place, the dialogue, all come together like a puzzle .I guess is too much to ask, not many understand it and they only look to be entertained, it is for this reason they should not dare to make reviews, they do not have the eye or the sensitivity IMHO. I was laughing my axx off when i read this review, i was thinking OMG did he really believe such BS? The Time Out is certaily brave to let him write anything about movies. Morover i am bored and annoyed to hear anti-Americanism everywhere, i rarely take it seriously, it seems like the world is under a spell and American is the wicked witch of the West. Nonsense. This movie is decent (definitely more than two stars) it is a remake done with some adjustments to modern society, it was not meant to copy the 1951' s Earth Stood Still. So in that context is fair.

Damo

Worst film I have seen for a long time. So many cliches I cringed almost every minute or so - and I was watching it on my own. Seriously, there are so many plot holes it boggles my mind - Why is Keanu's character so dumb? Why is he so surprised by human emotion despite years of research? Why does he need an 'earthling' to explain the similarities between the human race and his? Why do I even care? Total rubbush!

Steve

Oh dear, thats what i get for scouring youtube for trailers and convincing myself this would be a Ripley meets Cloverfield. Disjointed story, GORT wasted, OH it's ended ...type ending...confy seats though.

adrian

It was a good film a lot better than just sitting in with nothing to do and rating good movies as trash. Please if you review just think could you make a film errr na.

adrian

It was a good film a lot better than just sitting in with nothing to do and rating good movies as trash. Please if you review just think could you make a film errr na.

Tony &amp; Les

Role suits Keanu Reeves perfectly. Great comment on present day society which many may find uncomfortable but we thought was very accurate. Thought provoking if you wanted it to be, excellent special effects if you dont want to engage brain! Thought the ending was a little too "hurried" but overall well worth the money!

Tony &amp; Les

Role suits Keanu Reeves perfectly. Great comment on present day society which many may find uncomfortable but we thought was very accurate. Thought provoking if you wanted it to be, excellent special effects if you dont want to engage brain! Thought the ending was a little too "hurried" but overall well worth the money!

achilles

As I have never seen the original, I went with an open mind but all I can say is that it’s one of the worst films I have seen in a long, long time. The anti-Americanism, really got on my nerves, as well as the kid, who I wished would just disappear (quickly). No redeeming features at all even the destruction of the world was called off. Please don’t waste your money!

Mr in-the-know

Typical review from another arrogant life-detached academic none-creative nobody. Take no notice of that patronising drivel - this film is far better than the talentless, lugubrious reviewer suggests. Instead of sitting on their fat butts in cinemas and pandering to their own psychosis...people like this guy Jenkins need dragging into reality and made to work for a living. Ignore this idiot and go enjoy the movie.

drdavid911

First, the main review states this: "Or simply, because the makers haven’t bothered to watch the original?" What, were you asleep at the movie, or did you watch it without the sound on. They explained this in the movie, the move to NY was because that where the UN is, not because of yuppies, nor because Wall Street has more influence than Washington, DC does now. Further, if you think about it for 1 second, you might realize the original baseball diamond in the 1951 movie would have been TOO SMALL to fit the gigantic sphere, duh! As for the comment you can't improve on the original, this shows that you are EXTREMELY narrow-minded! You are supposed to go to a new remade movie with an open mind, not expecting to hear "Klatuu marada nikto," not expecting it to be Michael Rennie, not expecting it to be a flying saucer, not expecting it to be in Washington etc. When the hell did all you guys lose your minds to the past? Why can't you try to see the value of the new and different? If you go into this movie like you've never heard of "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and open you mind like a new 7 to 12 yr old kid, you will love this movie. Think about the part where the cop gets run over (or run into by the car Klatuu is leaning on), wasn't that a great new scene, not seen in the original? How about when Klatuu warned that there would be a price to pay? This left it open to conjecture, did he not stop the electricity this time for only 30 minutes, but maybe FOR ALL OF TIME ! If so, the human race would have to go backwards in time about 100 yrs to learn how to live in closer harmony with nature again, maybe that's what he meant, not just that we'd have to give up our overconsumption society. When did all you guys lose your ability to suspend your critical mind while watching a movie? In 1951? Remember, in the original, Klatuu said he was from 250 million miles away, that pretty much only means Mars, and no where else. Found to be pretty dumb about 10 yrs later. This one is representing the Universe, and came from God knows how far away, renew your sense of mystery and awe! Think about how advanced he was to be able to take over the lie detector man and turn the inquisition around on him ! This was a great movie, go see it again, with less baggage from the 1951 version, please. BTW, I loved the original and saw it about 7 times, and still love it. But I would still say this is a GREAT movie! Best wishes to all.

drdavid911

First, the main review states this: "Or simply, because the makers haven’t bothered to watch the original?" What, were you asleep at the movie, or did you watch it without the sound on. They explained this in the movie, the move to NY was because that where the UN is, not because of yuppies, nor because Wall Street has more influence than Washington, DC does now. Further, if you think about it for 1 second, you might realize the original baseball diamond in the 1951 movie would have been TOO SMALL to fit the gigantic sphere, duh! As for the comment you can't improve on the original, this shows that you are EXTREMELY narrow-minded! You are supposed to go to a new remade movie with an open mind, not expecting to hear "Klatuu marada nikto," not expecting it to be Michael Rennie, not expecting it to be a flying saucer, not expecting it to be in Washington etc. When the hell did all you guys lose your minds to the past? Why can't you try to see the value of the new and different? If you go into this movie like you've never heard of "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and open you mind like a new 7 to 12 yr old kid, you will love this movie. Think about the part where the cop gets run over (or run into by the car Klatuu is leaning on), wasn't that a great new scene, not seen in the original? How about when Klatuu warned that there would be a price to pay? This left it open to conjecture, did he not stop the electricity this time for only 30 minutes, but maybe FOR ALL OF TIME ! If so, the human race would have to go backwards in time about 100 yrs to learn how to live in closer harmony with nature again, maybe that's what he meant, not just that we'd have to give up our overconsumption society. When did all you guys lose your ability to suspend your critical mind while watching a movie? In 1951? Remember, in the original, Klatuu said he was from 250 million miles away, that pretty much only means Mars, and no where else. Found to be pretty dumb about 10 yrs later. This one is representing the Universe, and came from God knows how far away, renew your sense of mystery and awe! Think about how advanced he was to be able to take over the lie detector man and turn the inquisition around on him ! This was a great movie, go see it again, with less baggage from the 1951 version, please. BTW, I loved the original and saw it about 7 times, and still love it. But I would still say this is a GREAT movie! Best wishes to all.

LMEZ

I thought it was an Ok film. Not as great as the other but still worthy of more than 2 stars.

flipmcgee

I went into this movie knowing it was going to be bad from the reviews I had seen prior. They just keep srewing up movies that should be no-brainer hits. One thing I will say the reviwer got wrong was missing the fact that the words "Gort Klatu Nikto Barratta" are said. In the first few minutes just after Klatu is shot, he invokes them as he lay on the ground. This makes it even more laughable that later in the movie they come up with a name for the robot - GORT. Funny how they guessed his name and turned it into an acronym after Klatu already called him Gort. So transparent, so insulting, a complete waste of money.

Ferchorizo

I was so disappointed to this remake, I expected it to keep the message from the original movie, but it gets lost between the devastating spree of Gort and Klaatu's attempt to stop it. But it is simply unforgivable, and absolutely offensive to the original flick not to mention the secret words. I needed them to leave the theater with a good sensation, but it only made me madder. Now I'm not gonna buy the bluray of this version, it sucks, I want the 1951 version, it's old and special FX are lame, but it's made with much more love than the 2008 remake. SHAME ON YOU!!!

Spouting Horn

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a very mockable movie. The ridiculous moments start quickly, maintains an even flow throughout, and ends as stupidly as it started. The pro- Al Gore, humans (and Americans in particular) are a cancer on the earth , anti-science messages are loud and clear. At least it served for many good laughs, even hours after spending our $20.

Why oh why?

I went to visit my mum last weekend. She wanted to stay in and watch the semi-final of Strictly Come Dancing. I said " Live a little Mum! Come to the Movies! Lose yourself in the magic... Tape Strictly and watch it later!" Boy am I in trouble! Unbelievably unbelieveable and even a drink beforehand didn't help! Pointless. I hated the child. Was bored by the aliens and in the end, saddened that the destruction of that world was called off...Nevermind, we still had Strictly to look forward to...AND THEN THEY MESSED UP THE VOTING!!!!!

Ed

Holy cow. I so wanted the brat kid to fall into the creek. Why did you save him, Kaatu??? Why did this film get made? Why are humans so bad? Oh, I know why. Because some of them made this lousy movie.

Terrible_Machine

A can of flat soda. Goofy...they did not need the spoiled brat type acting of the smith kid. The movie did not need this runt. I want my money back. I give it one star because unrated could send someone to see this tripe for themeselves.

Catherine

how can you rate this movie so low? I'd give it a 4 or 5 b/c it's done very well for reminding us we have to save the planet b4 it kills us all. you r so unbelievable...just sitting there rating stuff. but this movie has deep meaning. don't just look at how it's done. I'm so disappointe with your review ability.

Catherine

how can you rate this movie so low? I'd give it a 4 or 5 b/c it's done very well for reminding us we have to save the planet b4 it kills us all. you r so unbelievable...just sitting there rating stuff. but this movie has deep meaning. don't just look at how it's done. I'm so disappointe with your review ability.

Lee

Do not believe anyone who says negative things about this film. It's very good. If you want something that makes you think and is faithful to the spirit of the original 1950s film then this is the one for you. Yes it has good action pieces. Yes, it makes sense (how many hollywood films can boast that?). So it may not be everyone's cup of tea but this IS an excellant film.

Lee

Do not believe anyone who says negative things about this film. It's very good. If you want something that makes you think and is faithful to the spirit of the original 1950s film then this is the one for you. Yes it has good action pieces. Yes, it makes sense (how many hollywood films can boast that?). So it may not be everyone's cup of tea but this IS an excellant film.

Dave

The problem with this movie is that it beats you over the head with its messages: try to go green, the government sucks and is inadequate of thinking, NY is the center of the US and therefore the threat of human annihilation starts there... there are too many of these movies as is: ID4, I, Robot, I am Legend, Day After Tomorrow, The Happening, etc. And the religious undertone of this film..give me a break! Too many cliches and overdone stuff in this movie...that's why it sucked. Only OK thing about this was Jaden Smith's acting.

anglaisy

not even knowing this was a remake , a complete waste of time for the likes of reeves and cleese- cathy bates ?- i thought she would try and interrogate the character played by reeves by tying him to a bed and breaking his ankles - what a lot of rubbish - concept GOOD, story matching title , rubbish -= crap result

Raj

DO NOT WASTE YOUR VALUABLE TIME AND MONEY TO SEE THIS DRIBBLE. I loved the original thinking that the remake won't do that much injustice but boy was I wrong. I spent most of the time wanting to stick screwdrivers in my eyes. Giving it one star 'cos cannot give it none.

Joe The Plumper

The original lacked the special effects of this one, but was more satisfying. Here we have a case of a solid story ruined by execution. In essence this is an example of wasted movie-making potential. It will prove dissapointing to sci-fi fans looking for a cool, smartly done remake. Keanu's acting is wooden, even for an alien. The Smith kid is a brat with a lousy haircut. Gort turned out to be lame and the spaceship looked boring. The ending was lame. The whole movie stunk. I think I saw subliminal ads for the following products: Citizen's Watches, MS Windows, and God knows what else. Hollywood, get a clue.

Kegtapper

This was a sorry remake!~!!. Grossly disappointed, I wish I had seen who directed it before going to see it DAY 1. Rated as one of my worst views for 2008. I couldnt even finish watching his other movie he directed. I should have waited for this to come out on BETA. It will not be in my collection. The Day The Hype Stood Still should have been the title. Gort didn't do much, and the ending was chopped. I guess the Directors Cut will be worse, 'cause he could do anything with the 1:48 he had for the feature film. I wanted my money back!

hfuhruhurr

What is with the end of this film? Uh? Did I miss the bit where the "world" get's the message? And as for the world standing still - nice to see them gloass over that 5 mins from the end. Hopeless. But at the very least it will introduce the original to a shed load of people.

GWill

The original was MUCH better than this weak attempt to recreate it. I was really hoping the aliens would take Will Smith's son to another planet. Why did we think the plot needed a disrespectful child to make it better? What a waste of some good actors and actresses. The writers of this film should never do another film. If I sound disappointed it is only because I waited a long time for this film to be recreated and after a long wait this is what was produced. Do not go and see this movie. Just rent the original.

mike

just as i suspected. people just don't get the msg in this movie, and overlook it, like the revier did. the only people that are going to 'get' this movie are people that do research into the whole alien/ufo phenomena. real research, with real cases and FOI documents that highly suggest this scenario is more real than hollywood would have you believe.

mike

just as i suspected. people just don't get the msg in this movie, and overlook it, like the revier did. the only people that are going to 'get' this movie are people that do research into the whole alien/ufo phenomena. real research, with real cases and FOI documents that highly suggest this scenario is more real than hollywood would have you believe.

Patrick B

I hope that in the event an alien lands in Central Park, we do not act in the way this movie depicts! We don’t seem to have the ability to learn that force isn’t working in our favor! We don’t deserve to be saved…

Ray

Yeah, don't reward another preachy unrealistic and unentertaining Day After Tomorrow type film. For crying out loud, can't they just make a fun exciting film without soiling it with their pointless twists and BS politics?

usman khawaja

should be called-the day the special effects did not save hollywood-which churns out trash after trash in the name of remakes and this is an unwise attempt to regenerate the planet and the dead fortunes of hollywood with a hilariously outdone sci-fi which seems to be shrieking with ploitical greenpeace slogans , the only question in my mind was that GORE did not make a speech or a special apperance , it felt like a cheap neon display for glitterballs and the acting is robotic as if everyone was on auto pilot including connelly and kathy bates , the afro american kid is so sweet i felt sickened and the biblical plague from the moses epic just reduced it to the level of a spoof of the older version . i like keanu reeves and i sat through this mess only for him but it is not really watchable

Tim H

Ok so I love a good sci-fi 1 yeh! sad I know.. but when the starfield appeared at the beginning of the movie I sat bak and thought, "ahh - this is gonna be good" .. Then as we saw a mountaineer in snow I tensed, fake mountains.. fake snow, the guy didn't even look cold ! bad start, still give it time ! So it jumps to present day - incoming meteor slows down .. seen that before in a few movies.. very static alien man grows quickly (see that before too) and tells some scientists we've mistreated the earth so humans are going to be killed off.. seen that before too. An annoying child and a clever lady (seen that before) convince him that our compassion is worth more than they knew, so he stops the destruction. End. Cheesy, preachy .. I am so disappointed ! Unless you are a half-wit redneck you will feel this condecending Hollywood tripe is an insult.

Harry Hill

I like the Matrix, I also like Bill & Ted's Excellent adventure. But which is better.... The Matrix, or Bill & Ted? Theres only one way to find out! FIGHT!!!!

Harry Hill

I like the Matrix, I also like Bill & Ted's Excellent adventure. But which is better.... The Matrix, or Bill & Ted? Theres only one way to find out! FIGHT!!!!