The Day The Earth Stood Still (12a)By Kim Francis
December 11, 2008
Following in the footsteps of War of the Worlds, the latest science fiction classic to be given the Hollywood makeover treatment is The Day The Earth Stood Still.
The idea of remaking classics such as this is anathema to many. But there is no denying their popularity at the box office.
It actually makes sense that we remake some of the landmark sci-fi masterpieces, which hold an important and indelible place in cinema history but which are also very dated.
With special effects and technology coming on leaps and bounds, it makes perfect sense to bring a modern re-imagining to the themes and ideas set out in these seminal flicks; the results are potentially brilliant.
Sadly, in the case of The Day The Earth Stood Still, the results are not all that astounding.
Keanu Reeves takes on the iconic role of Klaatu, the alien who comes to Earth to request an audience with world leaders in a bid to save the planet.
See more film trailers on getreading.co.uk
When the authorities presume hostility, attack him and insist on subjecting him to tests, he goes on the run with scientist Dr Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) and her stepson Jacob (Jaden Smith).
The trio form a bond and Klaatu learns more about the human race than he ever thought possible.
But is it too late to save the Earth? Keanu Reeves throws up no surprises as the detached and emotionless alien, acting as Keanu Reeves does. Instead, it is the lovely Jennifer Connelly who walks away with any available acting plaudits as the single mother struggling to connect with her stepson following the death of his father.
Her intelligent character has parallels with her Hulk character from Ang Lee’s pensive 2003 film, showing she is carving a niche for herself as the thoughtful heroine.
As a Christmas blockbuster, you expect The Day The Earth Stood Still to be predominantly about effects but some feel clunky and all too visible while others, such as the main sphere from which Klaatu appears, are close to breathtaking even though audiences have grown used to such groundbreaking effects.
Despite this, the SFX do not take over, which is actually a shame as there is not a great deal else here to grab your attention.
The acting from the rest of the cast is questionable and fails to add any credence to the film, while the themes – retained from the original – still resonate today and are, if anything, more pertinent than ever.
The film is gratifyingly not preaching and communicates a positive message that as a race, humans are not all that bad.
Misguided and slow to act, maybe, but when our backs are against the wall, our strengths surface and our true natures reveal themselves.
The Day The Earth Stood Still is indulgent family sci-fi fare for the holidays. Children will no doubt lap it up and who can argue with that?
Read the Keanu Reeves interview here