Chris F. (fuji426) from MADISON, WI Reviewed on 5/10/2017...
I absolutely agree that the original was far superior to this movie. Keanu Reeves was terrible, he could have been replaced by a 2"x4" and no one would have noticed. No need to go into plot details as other reviewers have hit the nail on the head so to speak. You can sum up this terrible movie in two words... Jaden Smith. He can't act his way out of a paper bag. He's such a bad actor in this movie that I just wanted to pistol-whip him. I have to wonder if his dad, Will Smith, has to actually pay people to get him an acting role.
But let's not forget Jennifer Connelly, who is one of the most overrated actress ever. Her relationship with the sniveling little kid is a joke and makes Keanu Reeves look like an Oscar winner.
Do yourself a favor and watch the original. This is not a movie for watching - it's movie for laying down and avoiding.
Debby M. from BOWMAN, GA Reviewed on 2/24/2010...
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
FX Do Not A Picture Make
Martin Asiner | Jersey City, NJ | 12/14/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There is a reason why the original DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951) is a classic and the remake (2008) is not. The FX of 1951 were minimal, but the emphasis on plot, acting, allegory, and scripting combined (as they so rarely do) to produce a film that is watchable even after many viewings. Where Keanu Reeves sleepwalks through his role as Klaatu, Michael Rennie invests his with a riveting performance as a pseudo-human who slowly and naturally learns what it means to be human. Hugh Marlowe in the original is totally believable as the weasly love interest for Patricia Neal. Marlowe's sliminess paired off well with Rennie's saintliness. In the remake, there is no one, except perhaps in a collective sense, who can distract the audience long enough to see Reeves as anything more than a mobile pained automaton who is only slightly more interesting than Gort.
Rennie causes the earth to stand still in a manner that emhasizes his godlike powers. His assumed name of Carpenter further allies himself as one who must suffer, die, and be reborn himself so as to save humanity from itself. Reeves arrives on earth determined to exterminate human life as a prerequisite for maintaining it in its supposed pristine state. His argument that John Cleese artfully exposes that Klaatu's own race avoided self-immolation only after arriving at a precipitous tipping point is exposed as a sophomoric inability to connect one moral thread of one race to a similar thread of another.
In the original, director Robert Wise uses deliberately blurred camera angles to present Rennie as one whose true nature can be only slowly revealed. Recall Rennie's introduction when he arrives at the boarding house to seek a room. Compare that masterly hiding of face and form with Scott Derrickson's inability or unwillingness to show Reeves' face as no more than a perpetual scowl. Kathy Bates as the Secretary of State manages to invest her role with the film's only note of authenticity as she correctly notes the inevitable results that occur when a technologically advanced culture collides with a significantly less advanced one.
Unless the audience manages to care about the lead (it does with Rennie but not with Reeves), then the director has no place to go but with FX. And for the umpteenth time, the revised version of TDTESS proves that the lack of acting and scripting cannot elevate a film to the point that FX can salvage."
The Two Hours My Brain Stood Still
S. Stevenson | 12/14/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Okay. I really like sci-fi movies. Even some stupid ones that are just about the action and a shoot-em-up storyline. I also like some of the thinking-person sci-fi bits too though. Technically, I am the target audience for the Keanu Reeves / Jennifer Connelly film THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. I really wanted to like it too. I tried hard, but as the plot progressed, I found myself throwing my hands in the air and shouting, "Are you kidding me?" at the movie screen. I've always read about people who said that they got up and walked out during a movie, but I never actually knew what that felt like until I watched this film. But, knowing that I paid a hard-earned ten bucks to see it, I stayed through to the end, gritting my teeth and just telling myself that maybe -- maybe -- it would redeem itself. But no. It never did.
I will admit I knew next to nothing about the movie. All I did know was that the earth was being threatened, and that this was a remake of a 1950's sci-fi classic. But what I never expected was the way the director used this story as pure propaganda. The whole message of the movie centered around aliens coming to earth to try and save those life-forms (aka animals) who had not damaged the earth. The aliens decide that humans need to be wiped off the face of the planet -- allowing evolution to start its process all over again -- because humans have senselessly been destroying the planet.
The government is portrayed as trigger-happy idiots who just want to blow things up -- no matter the cost. Kathy Bates is literally a dressed up "hand of military vengeance." Even when she tries to argue with the unseen president, who is obviously supposed to be George W. Bush, the president tells her to have the military blow everything up -- the alien, his space craft, even the ark meant to save humanity.
Then there is the insanely annoying little step-son of Dr. Benson (Connelly). The film makers tried to make his emotional battle over the loss of his father really tug at the audience, but all it did was drive me crazy. Mainly because the boy pretty much hated his step-mom -- but not in a "tortured by the loss of my father" way -- just an annoying "I don't want to listen to you" way. One minute the kid was crying his eyes out over his dead father (killed in the Iraqi war -- propaganda anyone?) to happily slashing baddies on World of Warcraft.
And that's the other thing. This is one of the heaviest product placement movies I have seen in forever. I couldn't even begin to count the amount of logos that were shown for a few seconds just to show the logo. It's one thing if the characters are using the items or products within the context of their world, but this film showed just senseless amounts of products -- everything from Apple to Honda to McDonald's to Coke and the list goes on and on.
I felt like throwing up at the end of the movie after Dr. Benson tells Klaatu (Reeves) that he has to stop the destruction of the earth the aliens have planned. She tells him repeatedly, "We can change. We can change!" Never does she say what this change would look like or how it would work or what it even is. He blindly trusts her and stops the destruction of the people. And then -- the horrible montage begins where the aliens shut down all electricity and literally people are shown slightly smiling as they open the blinds to their windows to let the sunlight come in. The worst doesn't happen however until a shot is shown of an oil drill stopping and standing desolate in a wasteland. "For real?" was all I could mutter by that time.
** End Spoiler Alert**
I really like both Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly as actors. They usually do a somewhat decent job in the roles given to them. But what made them want to jump in on this flop baffles me. I really actually feel bad for both of them for getting dealt such horrible roles in such an awful movie.
The only thing I will say that was slightly all right was the cinematography was decent. Not amazing, but decent. There were some interesting shots and sets, but that's about the only good thing I can say about THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.
I really don't mind it when a movie wants to get a message across. I really don't. I don't mind dramatic situations with family issues. I love sci-fi movies. But when the propaganda is so horrible that it's beating you across the head every five seconds with how just obvious it is -- I can't stand that. I'd rather let the art do it's thing and show it to me much more subtlely -- the best messages always seem to go down that way when it comes to art. But this? This was outright shove-it-down-my-throat--let's-nuke-some-people-and-save-the-earth-even-though-after-the-aliens-are-through-with-us-then-everything-will-be-dead nonsense.
In the end, all I can say is, "Curse the day I ever thought I would enjoy something so brainless as this.""
Uneven, preachy, and way too much "cute kid"
Thucydides 1 | USA | 04/11/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I've been beaten to the punch by a lot of really fine, insightful reviews. I'll only add that, like so many movies we seem to see today, this is one that could have been so much better.
It is poorly paced, and miserably directed, with such an imbalance of emphasis between Klaatu's heavy-hearted, planet-wide mission, and the irritating, recurrent focus on the "cute kid" character (Jaden Smith) who becomes as welcome in the story as an insect at a picnic.
Jennifer Connelly is wholly unbelievable as a "world class" super-scientist, but at least the director resisted the temptation to create some smarmy love-affair concoction between she and Klaatu. Given how uninteresting the rest of the story was, I was afraid that he might resort to such a technique to breathe life into this otherwise prosaic rendering of the original science fiction classic.
The special effects... well, yes, they were good. It's 2009. The special effects always ought to be good. But as we've all known for a long time, good special effects do not necessarily make a good movie.
One of the WORST Scifi movies EVER made
W Johnston | Franklin, TN United States | 03/04/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this on opening day and most people including myself actually laughed OUT LOUD at the end of this movie at its utter absurdity. The ORIGINAL did NOT need a 21st century remake anyway! This story was mediocre at best and got really preachy about how humans were basically a pestilence on the earth that needed to be wiped out because they were damaging the environment. In the end only Dr Helen Benson's (Jennifer Connely) compassion shows to Klatu (Keanu Reeves) that humans can change their ways and be more "Green" and he decides to save human kind, but at a price; ALL the technology in the world is rendered useless. Yup! That EVIL technology of ours is wiped out in one instant by some kind of GLOBAL E.M.P. Cars and all mechanized transportation stop instantly. Cell Phones, iPods, and computers are useless. Even wrist watches don't work. Unfortunately, they don't show how many patients that are on life support or under surgery DIE because of this, or how many jets and helicopters crash, submarines sink, mechanized farming stops, water filtration and sewage management plants cease, etc... we're not supposed to think about all the GOOD that comes from technology in THIS movie, just that "Technology BAD". The world is in one instant sent back to the industrial revolution days ~ what GREAT times THOSE were = Terrible pollution, child labor, people living in filth, frequent viral epidemics/ plagues... I'm all for being a good steward of the environment, but I mean, who wrote this movie, the Earth Liberation Front? Al Gore? Its an eco-terrorist's dream come true. COME ON!!! This was by far one of the most one sided, absurd, and politically motivated sci-fi movies EVER made! I'm suprised that it didn't come with a coupon for 50% off a BIDET and a book about composting (made with recycled paper of course). LOL!!! At least "The Day After Tomorrow" had decent computer graphics. The computer graphics were no better than they were in movies made 10 years ago and were actually comparitively disappointing. Don't waste your money buying this on DVD. If you still HAVE to see it RENT IT. Better yet, wait a year and this will surely be available to watch on the SciFi channel for FREE (after you pay your cable or satellite bill that is)."
Utter rubbish... (Spoiler alert)
David L. Finley | Albuquerque, NM | 05/16/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"There have been more than enough reviews that outline the lame ecofreak plot to this movie, but what I haven't seen are commentaries on the sheer logical fallacies that are mind bending in the level of their disconnection from one moment to the next. Here are just a very few of the unending string...
A mysterious object is hurtling towards earth, and is calculated to hit Manhattan, so the government gathers up the best scientists it can to figure out a way to divert this object that is due to hit in 70 some odd minutes and whisks them off to.... Manhattan, right where this object is due to hit.
After lowering GORT, (the 50' tall masculine humanoid robot,) into a deep hole, (missile silo, I guess,) the attempt to drill into it, (for some reason,) is thwarted when it shatters a diamond drill bit. We're told that another attempt can't be made for days until the bit is "robotically" repaired. Alas, speed is of the essence after the Klaatu escapes, and so they send in a guy with... a handy spare diamond drill bit.
The utterly dispassionate Klaatu, determined that mankind must be wiped off the earth, kills a cop who is threatening him with a pistol by crushing him between two cars, flinging one into another just by touching the first, then rushes over and using magic gel and his fantastic alien abilities, revives the cop to full health.
Caught in the path of the raging metal super locusts that devour everything in their path, Klaatu hauls the lady scientist and her brat kid to safety under... a short four lane highway bridge. By his statement, he is apparently somehow able to keep the little buggers out of that area, but is unable to protect himself from attack in his final dash to his spaceship, (though they don't swarm under that little bridge to eat up the idiotic scientist and her brat kid after he's left them behind,) where his touch to the ship sends and EMP that shuts them all down, (as well as every machine on earth,) and he disappears.
The movie was a non-stop string of things that just made no sense like these throughout.
As near as I can tell, this screen play was written by a group of ecofreaks while totally roasted on pot because the story ran pretty much like trying to have a conversation with someone in that condition who thinks they're being "deep" in their philosophizing.
Don't buy it, (unless you want the 1951 original and can't find it elsewhere,), don't rent it, don't purchase the PPV, but instead, if you truly can't live without seeing it, wait for it to come out on regular cable. Otherwise you'll be kicking yourself for wasting your money, no matter how little you might spend on it.
On the plus side, you will burn calories with the extensive eye rolling you'll be doing throughout with all aspects, plot, acting, special effects, logical disconnects, music, etc."