The Day the Earth Stood Still Review

December 17, 2008 By:
The Day the Earth Stood Still Review

Hopefully, after Obama is sworn in, he can get a playoff system in college football, a Starbucks tax credit and a moratorium on movie remakes such as The Day the Earth Stood Still.

During the Cold War, the 1951 Robert Wise classic featured an alien named Klaatu (Michael Rennie) with a warning for the Earth: stop your warring ways or your planet will be 'burned to a crisp." It's too bad he didn't throw in "and don’t make bad movies."

Keanu Reeves is the new Klaatu, but he's not here to warn us. He's here to save the Earth by eliminating its biggest problem: humanity. It's up to a cute and trusting scientist Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) to show him (vexatious at times) that "We can change."

Our capacity to change is seen in how everyone from the military to Helen's stepson Jacob (Jaden Smith..son of Will) wants Klaatu dead. This could've been a good Earth Day cautionary tale, but can't decide if it's an environmental thriller, sci-fi film or a way to put McDonald's into a scene. Connelly tries to convince Klaatu to call off the omnipotent GORT, the scariest robot ever (until it turns into matter eating bugs). Even John Cleese is forced to implore that humans always change just at the brink of destruction. Now, that's something to brag about.

Director Scott Derrickson ('The Exorcism of Emily Rose') has all the nice toys of a great sci fi film: pretty people, special effects and a budget. I mean, the only thing lacking was a script that wouldn't put you to sleep. Writer David Scarpa delivers a script that produces the energy of a Nyquil smoothie. Scarpa should've stopped here before sending this one in. The story not only lacks any interspecies love connection between Connelly and Reeves, but Jaden's character even made me hate humanity. As characters whine "We can change," you just wished they had started with this movie.

Billy Tatum gives "The Day the Earth Stood Still" 2 (out of 5) Scoops

The Day the Earth Stood Still: MPAA Rated PG-13 for some violence and some disaster images. Running Time: 105 minutes. Playing Nationwide.