Friday, December 12, 2008
Film Review - The Day The Earth Stood Still
The Day The Earth Stood Still (12)
Dir.Scott Derrickson (last two films - The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hellraiser: Inferno)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
The world is in peril like never before; we have been tried by our celestial neighbours and found wanting… our sentence – complete annihilation… So as ominous massive spheres land around the globe, the people of earth do what they do best panic!!
Alien ambassador Klaatu (Keanu Reeves – looking distinctly inhuman) emerges from the sphere that lands in Central Park and is immediately shot and captured. Our American friends giving him the usual ‘welcome to earth’ treatment of drugging and interrogation – a great scene which sees some awesome dialogue:
"I'm going to ask you a series of control questions. Are you currently in a seated position?”
“Are you human?”
“My body is.”
“Do you feel pain?”
“My Body does.”
“Are you aware of an impending attack on the planet earth?”
“You should let me go.”
Meanwhile Astro-biologist Helen Benson (Connelly) is forcefully dragged in to help the government figure out what they can do, but she takes a shine to our intergalactic guest and ends up on the run with him and her adopted son Jacob (Jaden Smith).
This remake of 1951’s sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still is a slick and relevant update, retooling the plot which then focused on the threat of nuclear war to now look at the eco disaster we’re busy creating. Director Scott ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’Derrickson keeps the best elements of the original including my favourite robot of all time ‘GORT’ (which stands for Genetically Organized Robotic Technology in case you were wondering). GORT is Klaatu’s bodyguard, a smooth, hulking, impassive sentinel that is so far beyond our primitive technology that we can’t even chip his armour plating.
Despite the end of the world scenario, sci-fi action seekers might be a bit gutted as this is more of the thinking thriller rather than butt kicking military battle simulator. There are a couple of action scenes and some jaw dropping effects which amp up when we feel the wrath of an impressive nanobot cloud but this certainly isn’t Independence Day 2.
Reeves is perfectly cast as Klaatu and Connelly does a good job of representing the human race, John Cleese even pops up as a professor at one point to allow for some high brow science discussions. Speaking of which the film also includes some interesting theological linkages- Klaatu gets to walk on water and raise someone from the dead. And if that isn’t enough for you, how about seeing him draw killer nanobots from the people he comes to care about and has them go into him instead… One friend suggested that this was like him taking away the sin of the world, I wouldn’t go that far but it makes for thought provoking watching. Are they saying that Jesus was one of these aliens that visited us 2,000 years ago?
Overall The Day The Earth Stood Still is a decent remake and good choice for anyone looking for something a little bit different. The eco moral running through the plot will give you lots to ponder and the eye candy special effects are very memorable.
Arbitrary final rating: öööööööö (8)