The golden age of science fiction was truly an amazing period. I don’t want to bother you too much, just follow the link if you want to learn more about it. And let me be very clear, I still very much prefer our modern science fiction movies. Moving on, the movie we’re going to be talking about today is actually a remake of the 1951 film of the same name. The Day the Earth Stood Still is this big commercial science fiction blockbuster featuring an all-star cast and flashy special effects. Since it follows an alien invasion I think they were trying to make another Independence Day.
Whether they actually managed to do so is debatable. If ties to that nineties smash-and-grab summer hit were not obvious enough, we also have young Jaden Smith, Will’s son. Jaden was just ten years old during the production and both his character and performance were off-putting to many viewers. I did find him a bit annoying but he’s just a kid and I was much more interested in other aspects of the movie. The Day the Earth Stood Still 2008 edition offers some intriguing concepts like nanobots or a bit bigger robot GORT.
I also loved the pacing as the shit starts right away. There’s no boring character development or anything like that. Wham bam, aliens are here and help us Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope. Of course, since the man is too busy cave-dwelling on another planet they had to get Dr. Helen Benson played by enigmatically beautiful Jennifer Connelly. Apart from her, we also have quite a few heavyweights in the cast like Kathy Bates, John Cleese, and Jon Hamm. And Keanu, we should not forget about Keanu. The script, on the other hand, is not so good but more about that later.
People of Earth, the wait is over, they are here. As the entire population living on this blue planet is listening to news regarding a large spherical object spotted beyond Jupiter’s orbit, a group of scientists, led by Dr. Helen Benson and Dr. Michael Granier are already working on the worst-case scenario. The object finally lands in Central Park and it is soon surrounded by police and military forces. And so, a new chapter in the history of our species begins. Whether it’s going to be the last is up to you to find out.
The Day the Earth Stood Still is another one of those science fiction movies where aliens land somewhere in the US. I guess they wanted to visit Central Park and maybe drink a cup of coffee in Central Perk. I hear that their favorite tv show is actually Friends and not Single Female Lawyer. The character development was pretty bad and the same goes for the characters themselves. Most human characters feel like aliens as they’re quite unrelatable. And the hammy dialogue doesn’t help with that.
Luckily, the cast did a terrific job salvaging what they could. Keanu Reeves finally got the role that suits his talents perfectly. I kid Keanu, you know I love you. Moving on, you can almost watch The Day the Earth Stood Still as a movie so bad that it’s good. And if you decide to do that, you’ll have a much better time than if you go for option number one and take it seriously. You would be much better off just rewatching War of The Worlds starring Tom Cruise.
I think that the main problem this movie had was the heavy-handedness of the main message. The theme was excellent for the fifties but not so much for today’s cynical and jaded generations.
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writers: David Scarpa, Edmund H. North
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, John Cleese
Fun Stuff: The video game Jaden Smith is playing is World of Warcraft.