Screen Gems Movie Reviews
with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!

The Day The Earth Stood Still December 12, 2008
The Day The Earth Stood Still
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG-13 for some sci-fi disaster images and violence.

A visitor from across the universe comes to our world with a message but he's not exactly bearing good news.

Like in the original, the remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" features an alien named Klaatu and his giant companion Gort.

Keanu Reeves plays the mysterious visitor. He doesn't get a very warm welcome when he appears because the U.S. government wants to know about his mission. Tempers flare and things get out of control. Klaatu is injured and taken into government custody.

But you can't hold a good alien down. Once Klaatu decides he wants out, he gets out. And he gets around to laying out his plan. His message is very clear: we are destroying the planet and he intends to do something about it.

Jennifer Connelly plays a scientist who tries to convince the alien that the people of earth shouldn't be wiped out. But she has a tough task because everywhere he looks Klaatu sees our bad side.

The original film carried a strong message about nuclear warfare. This one uses global warming as the reason for the alien housecall. It doesn't pack the same punch but you get the general idea. The aliens say life-sustaining planets are too rare to allow us to destroy one.

Reeves is often accused of being a wooden actor but here that's not exactly a liability. Klaatu is almost emotionless as he observes mankind and sets about accomplishing his goals. Connelly's Dr. Helen Benson serves as the movie's heart and soul. She gives a convincing but not to heavy performance as our last, best hope. Jaden Smith, yes Will Smith's son, is also important. As Benson's stepson he gets to know Klaatu and is used as another example of why humans shouldn't be exterminated.

There are some good scenes and the special effects are up to par but ultimately director Scott Derrickson doesn't cover much new ground. As a cautionary tale, the original movie is still effective. I don't think there was much need to tell it again.

And if you're waiting for the immortal words, "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto" you better listen very closely, or you will miss them entirely.

On my rating scale, "The Day The Earth Stood Still" earns a Double.

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