"The Day the Earth Stood Still" and sci-fi fans weeped

by Eric Melin on December 12, 2008

in Print Reviews

Those of you who follow this site regularly know that we are becoming more and more interactive as we movie forward. In the spirit of that, I’ll do a short capsule review and give you some comments from Aaron Weber, a writer from Transbuddha and Razorfine. Please leave any comments that you have after seeing the movie (although I wouldn’t actually recommend seeing the movie unless you are a glutton for punishment) below.

“The Day The Earth Stood Still” is another in a long line of remakes that should never have been made. Let’s mention the fact that its source material is one of the best science-fiction films ever (and with barely any special effects!) and go straight to the material.

keanu reeves day earth stood stillA mysterious being from another planet (Keanu Reeves) is sent to Earth to decide the fate of mankind. He does this by inhabiting the body of a human and meeting another alien lifeform who has been here for years (James Hong) for dinner at McDonald’s. After an initially hostile encounter with the U.S. military, he meets a hot, astrophysicist widow (Jennifer Connelly), her bitter stepson (Jaden Smith), and has a brief encounter with an altruistic Nobel Prize-winning physician (John Cleese).

Meanwhile, a needlessly long introduction provides the movie’s only suspense and a stubbornly meaningless subplot involving Reeves’ giant protectorate robot goes on forever. Good actors like Kathy Bates, John Hamm (TV’s “Mad Men”), and Kyle Chandler (TV’s “Friday Night Lights”) have thankless roles where they blather on about exposition and ultimately make decisions that make no sense for their “characters.” Hamm doesn’t even get the opportunity to define exactly how he knows Connelly’s character.

The biggest problem with director Scott Derrickson’s remake is that there is nothing to it. Nothing. I challenge anyone to pinpoint the moment that Reeves’ alien realizes that humans are worth saving. You can’t do it because it doesn’t exist. If you strip away the half-hour buildup, the doctor-speak, the stupid subplot, and the VFX scenes designed to make the trailer look appealing, you have nothing left. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is like a hollow Tootsie Pop.

the day the earth stood still remake tootsie popWhat, in 1951, was a scary Cold War-era warning about the misuse of Atomic energy has now become a vague and infantile pro-Green special-effects showcase (even the CGI is unimaginative and looks like a swirly, soft-focus nightmare) with one entire suspenseful scene in 104 long minutes.

Here’s Aaron’s take. Read the rest at Transbuddha:

“We’re told a few times during the film that mankind is killing the planet (one of a handful of life-supporting planets in the cosmos, and therefore worthy of the intergalactic community’s attention), yet we’re never told HOW. Global warming? Climate change? Pollution? Over-population? Hell, for all we’re told it could be that the current season of Charm School is destroying Mother Earth. (Which, now that I think about it, might not be too far off the mark…)

To make matters worst, we’re teased with a far, far too brief scene (seriously: we’re talking 4 minutes TOPS) where Klaatu has a discussion with a Nobel laureate scientist (Cleese) on why it’s important to let our species have the chance to change ourselves, but what could have been a wonderful examination of the human condition is shoved to the side in order to give Will Smith’s kid a little more screen time. The phrase ‘philosophical cocktease’ comes to mind…

That’s not to say I hated the film. In a weird way, I enjoyed large parts of the film, which I have unofficially retitled ‘John Carpenter’s Starman is Back and He is PISSED’, but that’s mostly because I’m a little gay for Keanu Reeves, who found a role that perfectly utilizes his ‘blank robot’ method and throws on some extra ‘I’m a bit of a bad-ass’ authority gravy atop it. (His delivery is pretty much ‘You have no idea how stupid you prehistoric meat-bags are to me’ from beginning to end) Between that, the fact that the fate of the human race is decided over the course of a discussion at a McDonald’s with DAVID freaking LO PAN, and some subtly clever nods to sci-fi’s heavy hitters there are some moments in which I could see the germ of a fascinating movie tragically smothered by callous and inept hands holding the deadly feather-stuffed pillow of marketability.”

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Troy December 16, 2008 at 8:28 pm

I got to see this this weekend. Well it starts and then BANG its all explosions and thats it? You are left with an empty glass, not even a warm kinda popcorny movie feeling.

Reply

2 Troy December 16, 2008 at 8:28 pm

I got to see this this weekend. Well it starts and then BANG its all explosions and thats it? You are left with an empty glass, not even a warm kinda popcorny movie feeling.

Reply

3 J December 27, 2008 at 4:30 pm

I agree — the movie sucked. Big time.

But Jennifer Connely’s character wasn’t an astrophysicist, she was an astrobiologist.

Reply

4 J December 27, 2008 at 4:30 pm

I agree — the movie sucked. Big time.

But Jennifer Connely’s character wasn’t an astrophysicist, she was an astrobiologist.

Reply

5 Jeff Kopocis December 29, 2008 at 10:57 am

The Day Keanu Reeves Stopped Acting…is this the worst movie I have ever seen…in the words of the illustrious Keanu, “NO, IT IS NOT” but that’s because it was so bad I left after the previews ended. I have never left a theater feeling so empty, and I saw Aliens vs. Predator:Requiem. This is easily one of the three worst movies I have not seen in the last 5-10 years (AvP:R, The Love Guru, and this movie). How did nobody stop this production in the middle and be like, “Wait, what the hell are we doing here?” Easily the best part of the movie was when the football stadium was destroyed and that only lasted 5 seconds…so this was 100+ minutes of total misery. For me, Saturday was not The Day the Earth Stood Still…it was the day a moviegoer lost all faith in cinema.

Reply

6 Jeff Kopocis December 29, 2008 at 10:57 am

The Day Keanu Reeves Stopped Acting…is this the worst movie I have ever seen…in the words of the illustrious Keanu, “NO, IT IS NOT” but that’s because it was so bad I left after the previews ended. I have never left a theater feeling so empty, and I saw Aliens vs. Predator:Requiem. This is easily one of the three worst movies I have not seen in the last 5-10 years (AvP:R, The Love Guru, and this movie). How did nobody stop this production in the middle and be like, “Wait, what the hell are we doing here?” Easily the best part of the movie was when the football stadium was destroyed and that only lasted 5 seconds…so this was 100+ minutes of total misery. For me, Saturday was not The Day the Earth Stood Still…it was the day a moviegoer lost all faith in cinema.

Reply

7 hawat ka January 6, 2009 at 12:55 am

brilliant…

unlike this rendition. i enjoyed parts of it. however, it fails miserably in comparison to the original in terms of vehicling any level of discussion on the human condition. that, ultimately, is impossible for keanu to singlehandedly overcome with, what is now obviously, the perfect role for him: one where the fact that he is wooden is a perk.

bleh
great review though, both of ya

Reply

8 hawat ka January 6, 2009 at 12:55 am

brilliant…

unlike this rendition. i enjoyed parts of it. however, it fails miserably in comparison to the original in terms of vehicling any level of discussion on the human condition. that, ultimately, is impossible for keanu to singlehandedly overcome with, what is now obviously, the perfect role for him: one where the fact that he is wooden is a perk.

bleh
great review though, both of ya

Reply

9 Gil January 17, 2009 at 2:42 am

I am always amazed at how elaborate and well thought out our communication is when we “critique” the works of others. Instead of enjoying each work as an individual work of art we sit and pick things apart with a critical eye and then try to influence others with our “expert” opinions when what we are really saying is “here’s what I (myself) didn’t particularly like or prefer about this work

“It fails miserably in comparison to the original…”

It is NOT the original…why compare it at all?

“We’re told a few times during the film that mankind is killing the planet (one of a handful of life-supporting planets in the cosmos, and therefore worthy of the intergalactic community’s attention), yet we’re never told HOW…”

Here is an interesting proposition, why don’t you just PICK one? Deforestation that destroys entire ecosystems causing the extinguishing of plant, insect, animal life essential to the survival of the planet; depletion of the ozone layer; poisoning of the air we breathe with fluorocarbons and mixtures of particulate matter and chemical pollutants in the lower atmosphere; industrial gas emissions that cause acid rain. Or how about long-term emissions of carbon dioxide by the world’s automobiles, power plants and industries sharply increasing the acidity of the oceans and devastating much of the marine life, or irresponsible companies and corporations creating all kinds of chemical waste, radioactive waste, e-waste. Or contamination by leachates migrating downward through the underlying geological formation beneath landfills full of garbage? Or how about hunting entire species to extinction in the name of sport? Or raping this planet of its natural resources in the name of greed and commerce?

The fact of the matter is that the movie doesn’t have to give a specific method man is using to destroy the planet. If an advanced alien race were indeed to look down on this planet and study us for a short time they would be able to see that humans as a group are contributing to the planet’s demise. When the Klatu character (Keanu) says to Helen Benson (Connelly) “This planet is dying. Human’s are killing it…” I believe any person that knows the present, very real condition of this globe, can “insert favorite method of planetary destruction here.” It is so obviously true that not only does Klatu NOT need to give Benson a specific “how” but she doesn’t ask because she knows (as do we all) that he is telling the truth. So, pick your poison.

“The biggest problem with director Scott Derrickson’s remake is that there is nothing to it. Nothing.”

A different perspective would be that the piece says so much about human character that we would rather not see what it’s pointing out. And what is that? That man is inherently violent to a fault. The very first thing that happens when this “unknown” object approaches the earth is that America arms a missile. Sure, some might think, it has to be done to stop that thing from impacting the earth and killing us all. Government to the rescue! And when the sphere disarms the weapon and lands in central park it is surrounded by some scientists, but mostly by guys with guns and tanks. In the face of something far more advanced than ourselves, instead of holding their fire, and perhaps, asking questions that could explain the mysteries of the universe, humans prepare to blow it up. And when a figure emerges from the sphere and extends a hand in greeting it’s first experience with humans is getting shot, then kidnapped, detained, prodded and threatened. When he asks for his freedom, instead of opening a dialogue, the earth representative orders him drugged and contained, despite the fact that he has at his disposal a machine that can drain the power out of every piece of technology in its vicinity.

Kathy Baste’s character asks why he has come to “our” planet.
“YOUR planet?” replies Klatu. Meaning, “what right do you have to lay claim to the planet that gave birth to your destructive, greedy, selfish, self-serving, irresponsible, blood-thirsty, inconsiderate, genocidal species?”

When he is being interrogate he warns his captors “You should let me go.” But man is inherently stupid and mistrusting so, they continue relentlessly to try and get him to tell them what they already know, that earth is doomed, or at least, humans are. Hey if you won’t tell us what we want to know, we’ll force it out of you. Great way to welcome the vastly superior being from outer space.

I think the most important statement this piece makes is revealed in the character of Jacob Benson played by Jaden Smith. The child has learned to be like his adult counterparts. If it’s strange or different from us in any way…KILL IT. “That’s what dad would do he says.” The statement is very poignant as it speaks to what we are teaching future generations. Humans ensure that the very ones that will hold stewardship over what we leave behind, the young bright hope of the future, our children…WILL BE JUST LIKE US.

I find only one flaw with Derrickson’s rendition. It lacks a certain realism. If he wanted us to see humans as we really are he should have had the kid try to kill Klatu. Like the teenagers who attack a person standing on a subway station platform and beat him up just for the fun of it. Or like the child soldiers in the Sudanese Liberation army. It is truly idealistic to believe that the kid would just change his mind when the beginning of the movie establishes, that like most kids his age, he is used to killing things via video games. “We should kill him anyway…just in case.” THAT is the nature of man. If you don’t understand something, use deadly force. Ask questions later. Maybe. Children or adults, this is what the species has wrought.

“I challenge anyone to pinpoint the moment that Reeves’ alien realizes that humans are worth saving.”

When Klatu realizes that Dr. Benson and her stepson both value life and appreciate the loss of life they have experienced, hence they grieve the loss of little Jacob’s father, he realizes “You have another side. I see that now.”

Again, this is idealistic at best. Humans, as individuals, may be capable of change. As individuals they may be full of love and generosity, and kindness, however, as nations, they are unreasonable, warlike, hateful, dishonest, prejudice and murderous. Proof of which is the fact that even though the president has been appraised of how devastating the GORT is, instead of trying to open a dialogue, he is still trying to nuke the sphere in Central Park. And I guess THAT is ultimately the lesson this work teaches (perhaps inadvertently so) which is that mankind is fierce and without a love of basic goodness that could save the planet if we could work together, but we can’t because we’re too busy killing one another over oil, or territorial boundaries, or money, to really care what the other people have to say. As Klatu’s fellow “vistor” tells him in the McDonald’s scene. “Humans are unwilling to change. They will not listen.” This after being around humans for 70 years.

This movie makes several important points about humans as a species. Mainly that we have abused this planet and not lived up to our responsibilities as it’s stewards. As a species, man does not deserve to live on this planet to continue destroying it. The planet will pay us back conmensurate to the amount of damage we are doing to it. Even in the face of imminent death, the movie states that humans “evolve” when they are on the brink, but humans are stubborn and unchanging. We’d like to believe that if someone was pointing a gun at our head we’d do what they said, but the truth is that unless the trigger was actually pulled, man would continue on his destructive course. The moral of this work is that mankind as a whole is NOT worthy of saving. Individuals might be capable of change, but not whole nations.

All this I got from a movie that allegedly has “nothing” to it. Perhaps we should all look at it again and take in it’s most valid message, that eventually there will be a reckoning for the fact that humans have ruined the earth. And when that reckoning does come, it’s author will not be as magnanimous as the imaginary aliens of this work of fiction.

Reply

10 Gil January 17, 2009 at 2:42 am

I am always amazed at how elaborate and well thought out our communication is when we “critique” the works of others. Instead of enjoying each work as an individual work of art we sit and pick things apart with a critical eye and then try to influence others with our “expert” opinions when what we are really saying is “here’s what I (myself) didn’t particularly like or prefer about this work

“It fails miserably in comparison to the original…”

It is NOT the original…why compare it at all?

“We’re told a few times during the film that mankind is killing the planet (one of a handful of life-supporting planets in the cosmos, and therefore worthy of the intergalactic community’s attention), yet we’re never told HOW…”

Here is an interesting proposition, why don’t you just PICK one? Deforestation that destroys entire ecosystems causing the extinguishing of plant, insect, animal life essential to the survival of the planet; depletion of the ozone layer; poisoning of the air we breathe with fluorocarbons and mixtures of particulate matter and chemical pollutants in the lower atmosphere; industrial gas emissions that cause acid rain. Or how about long-term emissions of carbon dioxide by the world’s automobiles, power plants and industries sharply increasing the acidity of the oceans and devastating much of the marine life, or irresponsible companies and corporations creating all kinds of chemical waste, radioactive waste, e-waste. Or contamination by leachates migrating downward through the underlying geological formation beneath landfills full of garbage? Or how about hunting entire species to extinction in the name of sport? Or raping this planet of its natural resources in the name of greed and commerce?

The fact of the matter is that the movie doesn’t have to give a specific method man is using to destroy the planet. If an advanced alien race were indeed to look down on this planet and study us for a short time they would be able to see that humans as a group are contributing to the planet’s demise. When the Klatu character (Keanu) says to Helen Benson (Connelly) “This planet is dying. Human’s are killing it…” I believe any person that knows the present, very real condition of this globe, can “insert favorite method of planetary destruction here.” It is so obviously true that not only does Klatu NOT need to give Benson a specific “how” but she doesn’t ask because she knows (as do we all) that he is telling the truth. So, pick your poison.

“The biggest problem with director Scott Derrickson’s remake is that there is nothing to it. Nothing.”

A different perspective would be that the piece says so much about human character that we would rather not see what it’s pointing out. And what is that? That man is inherently violent to a fault. The very first thing that happens when this “unknown” object approaches the earth is that America arms a missile. Sure, some might think, it has to be done to stop that thing from impacting the earth and killing us all. Government to the rescue! And when the sphere disarms the weapon and lands in central park it is surrounded by some scientists, but mostly by guys with guns and tanks. In the face of something far more advanced than ourselves, instead of holding their fire, and perhaps, asking questions that could explain the mysteries of the universe, humans prepare to blow it up. And when a figure emerges from the sphere and extends a hand in greeting it’s first experience with humans is getting shot, then kidnapped, detained, prodded and threatened. When he asks for his freedom, instead of opening a dialogue, the earth representative orders him drugged and contained, despite the fact that he has at his disposal a machine that can drain the power out of every piece of technology in its vicinity.

Kathy Baste’s character asks why he has come to “our” planet.
“YOUR planet?” replies Klatu. Meaning, “what right do you have to lay claim to the planet that gave birth to your destructive, greedy, selfish, self-serving, irresponsible, blood-thirsty, inconsiderate, genocidal species?”

When he is being interrogate he warns his captors “You should let me go.” But man is inherently stupid and mistrusting so, they continue relentlessly to try and get him to tell them what they already know, that earth is doomed, or at least, humans are. Hey if you won’t tell us what we want to know, we’ll force it out of you. Great way to welcome the vastly superior being from outer space.

I think the most important statement this piece makes is revealed in the character of Jacob Benson played by Jaden Smith. The child has learned to be like his adult counterparts. If it’s strange or different from us in any way…KILL IT. “That’s what dad would do he says.” The statement is very poignant as it speaks to what we are teaching future generations. Humans ensure that the very ones that will hold stewardship over what we leave behind, the young bright hope of the future, our children…WILL BE JUST LIKE US.

I find only one flaw with Derrickson’s rendition. It lacks a certain realism. If he wanted us to see humans as we really are he should have had the kid try to kill Klatu. Like the teenagers who attack a person standing on a subway station platform and beat him up just for the fun of it. Or like the child soldiers in the Sudanese Liberation army. It is truly idealistic to believe that the kid would just change his mind when the beginning of the movie establishes, that like most kids his age, he is used to killing things via video games. “We should kill him anyway…just in case.” THAT is the nature of man. If you don’t understand something, use deadly force. Ask questions later. Maybe. Children or adults, this is what the species has wrought.

“I challenge anyone to pinpoint the moment that Reeves’ alien realizes that humans are worth saving.”

When Klatu realizes that Dr. Benson and her stepson both value life and appreciate the loss of life they have experienced, hence they grieve the loss of little Jacob’s father, he realizes “You have another side. I see that now.”

Again, this is idealistic at best. Humans, as individuals, may be capable of change. As individuals they may be full of love and generosity, and kindness, however, as nations, they are unreasonable, warlike, hateful, dishonest, prejudice and murderous. Proof of which is the fact that even though the president has been appraised of how devastating the GORT is, instead of trying to open a dialogue, he is still trying to nuke the sphere in Central Park. And I guess THAT is ultimately the lesson this work teaches (perhaps inadvertently so) which is that mankind is fierce and without a love of basic goodness that could save the planet if we could work together, but we can’t because we’re too busy killing one another over oil, or territorial boundaries, or money, to really care what the other people have to say. As Klatu’s fellow “vistor” tells him in the McDonald’s scene. “Humans are unwilling to change. They will not listen.” This after being around humans for 70 years.

This movie makes several important points about humans as a species. Mainly that we have abused this planet and not lived up to our responsibilities as it’s stewards. As a species, man does not deserve to live on this planet to continue destroying it. The planet will pay us back conmensurate to the amount of damage we are doing to it. Even in the face of imminent death, the movie states that humans “evolve” when they are on the brink, but humans are stubborn and unchanging. We’d like to believe that if someone was pointing a gun at our head we’d do what they said, but the truth is that unless the trigger was actually pulled, man would continue on his destructive course. The moral of this work is that mankind as a whole is NOT worthy of saving. Individuals might be capable of change, but not whole nations.

All this I got from a movie that allegedly has “nothing” to it. Perhaps we should all look at it again and take in it’s most valid message, that eventually there will be a reckoning for the fact that humans have ruined the earth. And when that reckoning does come, it’s author will not be as magnanimous as the imaginary aliens of this work of fiction.

Reply

11 Eric Melin January 17, 2009 at 10:48 am

Gil- That was a great, impassioned defense of the ideals that the movie is tying to support. Thanks for your comment! The problem I had with it is the delivery of those messages was supremely hamhanded at best. This undermines all of the things its trying to say, like “Crash” or “Lions for Lambs.” The art of a motion picture is much more than its theme, especially when it was done way, way better in the original. Sorry to keep bringing that up, but if this giant mess of a film spurred you to take that much to heart, you should rent the 1951 version. It actually approaches these ideas with dignity and maturity without falling back into action movie cliches.

Reply

12 Eric Melin January 17, 2009 at 10:48 am

Gil- That was a great, impassioned defense of the ideals that the movie is tying to support. Thanks for your comment! The problem I had with it is the delivery of those messages was supremely hamhanded at best. This undermines all of the things its trying to say, like “Crash” or “Lions for Lambs.” The art of a motion picture is much more than its theme, especially when it was done way, way better in the original. Sorry to keep bringing that up, but if this giant mess of a film spurred you to take that much to heart, you should rent the 1951 version. It actually approaches these ideas with dignity and maturity without falling back into action movie cliches.

Reply

13 Sam May 28, 2009 at 2:13 am

Humans are not ruining this planet. The planet is us. It is the soup we swim in. Some slimy frog swimming in its own crap eating every thing it sees is no more valid than humans building a sports stadium. If the toxic fumes from a volcano kills all the people of this planet it wont be because we built a Mcdonalds. Solar radation will kill this planet long before us evil humans do it in. As was stated in the film, from the smart god/machine “Nothing leaves the universe, it only changes form”

Reply

14 Sam May 28, 2009 at 2:13 am

Humans are not ruining this planet. The planet is us. It is the soup we swim in. Some slimy frog swimming in its own crap eating every thing it sees is no more valid than humans building a sports stadium. If the toxic fumes from a volcano kills all the people of this planet it wont be because we built a Mcdonalds. Solar radation will kill this planet long before us evil humans do it in. As was stated in the film, from the smart god/machine “Nothing leaves the universe, it only changes form”

Reply

15 hawat ka May 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

gil – you upended my comment and lumped in the criticism of it with your post on what everybody else had been saying. but why’d you truncate my statement?

i said the movie failed at being a great discussion on the human condition. not that it outright failed because i don’t think that it did. the film could have spent more time exploring its themes than it did blowing stuff up on the screen. believe me, i’m a big fan of explosive films, i’m a kid of the 80s and arnold is some kind of culture god… but any way to spin it, the hollywood treatment changed the nature of “the day the earth stood still” from an intellectual film to an action one. if anything, it transformed a B movie into an A movie which usually is something that falls on its face.

i’m just glad you brought up everything else that you did. the movie operated on the assumption that all the things that are going on in the world are already being contemplated by the audience as we watch. while most films give you most of everything you need to get engaged in the cerebral aspect of watching a movie, this one kinda assumes that you and i get it. which you and i might… but assuming that the whole audience knows everything there is to know about the human condition doesn’t entirely justify such a blandly generic and vague approach to the film. “destroying the planet” is not as specific as “NO nukes or you will destroy each other.”

which is fine but like you said, it lacks realism. the real world isn’t vague like that and it undermines the message to the population at large. there are a lot of complex themes here that are being neglected…

for example, the god-alien klaatu character is an expose on god, as well, and it really depends on what sort of “god” character you relate more with… the peaceful 1951 klaatu or the vengeful 2008 klaatu. they are clearly two different interpretations of god. why is this not taken more seriously as it really affects every aspect of the film’s message? are our alien creators or guardians cruel or compassionate? or are they simply just tired of our shenanigans?

what carries and drives a movie like “the day the earth stood still” is the intellectual conversation. that’s why the scene (in either) when the “all star team” of the human race meet with klaatu to talk philosophy and science is always so fun to watch although it is so painfully short in the new movie. i understand that it might serve to show the curtness of man but at the same time, it is also something like the cream filling of a donut :) it’s what we really want.

Reply

16 hawat ka May 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

gil – you upended my comment and lumped in the criticism of it with your post on what everybody else had been saying. but why’d you truncate my statement?

i said the movie failed at being a great discussion on the human condition. not that it outright failed because i don’t think that it did. the film could have spent more time exploring its themes than it did blowing stuff up on the screen. believe me, i’m a big fan of explosive films, i’m a kid of the 80s and arnold is some kind of culture god… but any way to spin it, the hollywood treatment changed the nature of “the day the earth stood still” from an intellectual film to an action one. if anything, it transformed a B movie into an A movie which usually is something that falls on its face.

i’m just glad you brought up everything else that you did. the movie operated on the assumption that all the things that are going on in the world are already being contemplated by the audience as we watch. while most films give you most of everything you need to get engaged in the cerebral aspect of watching a movie, this one kinda assumes that you and i get it. which you and i might… but assuming that the whole audience knows everything there is to know about the human condition doesn’t entirely justify such a blandly generic and vague approach to the film. “destroying the planet” is not as specific as “NO nukes or you will destroy each other.”

which is fine but like you said, it lacks realism. the real world isn’t vague like that and it undermines the message to the population at large. there are a lot of complex themes here that are being neglected…

for example, the god-alien klaatu character is an expose on god, as well, and it really depends on what sort of “god” character you relate more with… the peaceful 1951 klaatu or the vengeful 2008 klaatu. they are clearly two different interpretations of god. why is this not taken more seriously as it really affects every aspect of the film’s message? are our alien creators or guardians cruel or compassionate? or are they simply just tired of our shenanigans?

what carries and drives a movie like “the day the earth stood still” is the intellectual conversation. that’s why the scene (in either) when the “all star team” of the human race meet with klaatu to talk philosophy and science is always so fun to watch although it is so painfully short in the new movie. i understand that it might serve to show the curtness of man but at the same time, it is also something like the cream filling of a donut :) it’s what we really want.

Reply

17 barely July 17, 2009 at 2:04 am

all of you r blind and ignorant.

Lost… for lack of a baetter term.

born in the web. live in the web. die by the web. and nothing was gained

this movie is brilliant. and necessary, and it proves all of your blindness and immanence.

this movie displays truth. and you all hate it…

it scares me.

Reply

18 barely July 17, 2009 at 2:04 am

all of you r blind and ignorant.

Lost… for lack of a baetter term.

born in the web. live in the web. die by the web. and nothing was gained

this movie is brilliant. and necessary, and it proves all of your blindness and immanence.

this movie displays truth. and you all hate it…

it scares me.

Reply

19 ClearThinker August 19, 2009 at 8:22 am

POSTED BY Gil: “It is NOT the original…why compare it at all?”

Pffft! The film copies the title of a well-known classic, so how in the world can it possibly be treated as a separate entity?

Imagine a new movie being released that is called “The Wizard of Oz” – whether it is ever actually described as a “remake” or not is immaterial, because the name BEGS that it be compared to the original. Imagine also discovering that it was rated “R”, filled with foul language, violence and gore (something along the lines of Tropic Thunder, for instance), that the new “Dorothy” was an arrogant feminist who was pushing an environmental/political agenda- how would you expect ninety-nine percent of the people walking around out there to react to these changes? Should they all be required to embrace it as a stand-alone work? I hardly think so. And if there is a loud negative reaction to it, then the creators of that film shouldn’t be given a free pass, as if they didn’t know the huge risk they were taking by ripping off the title of a classic. This movie was a pathetic joke from ANY perspective, and your meandering psycho-babble doesn’t change that fact one iota.

Reply

20 ClearThinker August 19, 2009 at 8:22 am

POSTED BY Gil: “It is NOT the original…why compare it at all?”

Pffft! The film copies the title of a well-known classic, so how in the world can it possibly be treated as a separate entity?

Imagine a new movie being released that is called “The Wizard of Oz” – whether it is ever actually described as a “remake” or not is immaterial, because the name BEGS that it be compared to the original. Imagine also discovering that it was rated “R”, filled with foul language, violence and gore (something along the lines of Tropic Thunder, for instance), that the new “Dorothy” was an arrogant feminist who was pushing an environmental/political agenda- how would you expect ninety-nine percent of the people walking around out there to react to these changes? Should they all be required to embrace it as a stand-alone work? I hardly think so. And if there is a loud negative reaction to it, then the creators of that film shouldn’t be given a free pass, as if they didn’t know the huge risk they were taking by ripping off the title of a classic. This movie was a pathetic joke from ANY perspective, and your meandering psycho-babble doesn’t change that fact one iota.

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21 Gil August 19, 2009 at 10:01 am

I cannot believe that people are still talking about this 7 months later.

The fact is practically “NOBODY likes a remake.” “Movies NEVER live up to the book” and every “clear thinker” on the planet has an opinion.

This is what I despise about electronic forms of communication – anybody sitting in their basement surrounded by Star Wars memorabilia can insult someone they have never met because they know a person cannot reach through the internet and smack that arrogant smirk off their face!

The fact is: IT IS JUST A MOVIE!

MAN is deforesting the planet

MAN is destroying the ozone layer

MAN has put 10,000 pieces of junk into earth’s orbit

MAN made the Dodo extinct, shortly to be followed by whales, tigers, and 378 OTHER animals on the endangered species list

MAN has poisoned the oceans, lake, and air

MAN has filled the earth with garbage dumps…

Oh, what’s the use! None of it really matters! Because just as the movie states…“Humans are unwilling to change. They will not listen.”

I’m done with this conversation.

To Mr./Mrs. “Clear Thinker” the fact that you consider my comment as “meandering psycho-babble” shows that you are not as clear in your thinking as you claim. You read but you don’t see, you hear but you don’t listen…and that is the definition of a fool.

Signing off…

Reply

22 Gil August 19, 2009 at 10:01 am

I cannot believe that people are still talking about this 7 months later.

The fact is practically “NOBODY likes a remake.” “Movies NEVER live up to the book” and every “clear thinker” on the planet has an opinion.

This is what I despise about electronic forms of communication – anybody sitting in their basement surrounded by Star Wars memorabilia can insult someone they have never met because they know a person cannot reach through the internet and smack that arrogant smirk off their face!

The fact is: IT IS JUST A MOVIE!

MAN is deforesting the planet

MAN is destroying the ozone layer

MAN has put 10,000 pieces of junk into earth’s orbit

MAN made the Dodo extinct, shortly to be followed by whales, tigers, and 378 OTHER animals on the endangered species list

MAN has poisoned the oceans, lake, and air

MAN has filled the earth with garbage dumps…

Oh, what’s the use! None of it really matters! Because just as the movie states…“Humans are unwilling to change. They will not listen.”

I’m done with this conversation.

To Mr./Mrs. “Clear Thinker” the fact that you consider my comment as “meandering psycho-babble” shows that you are not as clear in your thinking as you claim. You read but you don’t see, you hear but you don’t listen…and that is the definition of a fool.

Signing off…

Reply

23 ClearThinker August 19, 2009 at 10:55 am

“This is what I despise about electronic forms of communication – anybody sitting in their basement surrounded by Star Wars memorabilia can insult someone they have never met because they know a person cannot reach through the internet and smack that arrogant smirk off their face!”

Pot, allow me to introduce you to Kettle.

(Ooooh, you really put me in my place, didn’t you?)

And thank you for providing us with that interesting description of yourself in your basement.

Reply

24 ClearThinker August 19, 2009 at 10:55 am

“This is what I despise about electronic forms of communication – anybody sitting in their basement surrounded by Star Wars memorabilia can insult someone they have never met because they know a person cannot reach through the internet and smack that arrogant smirk off their face!”

Pot, allow me to introduce you to Kettle.

(Ooooh, you really put me in my place, didn’t you?)

And thank you for providing us with that interesting description of yourself in your basement.

Reply

25 ClearThinker August 19, 2009 at 11:30 am

It is also worth pointing out how rapidly you changed your approach- after your glaring errors of “logic” were highlighted- you jumped from defending this lame flick to saying “NOBODY likes a remake” and “IT IS JUST A MOVIE!” – talk about a pathetic CYA maneuver.

And if that wasn’t telling enough, you are eager to resort to name-calling and making personal threats.

How very superior of you.

Obviously, we should all respect your opinion… OR ELSE.

Reply

26 ClearThinker August 19, 2009 at 11:30 am

It is also worth pointing out how rapidly you changed your approach- after your glaring errors of “logic” were highlighted- you jumped from defending this lame flick to saying “NOBODY likes a remake” and “IT IS JUST A MOVIE!” – talk about a pathetic CYA maneuver.

And if that wasn’t telling enough, you are eager to resort to name-calling and making personal threats.

How very superior of you.

Obviously, we should all respect your opinion… OR ELSE.

Reply

27 Eric Melin August 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I’m obviously not “settling” anything, but the fact of the matter is that while the movie brought up some important social issues, it used them as nothing more than superficial plot devices and said NOTHING about them. It was insulting, frankly. That is the definition of a bad movie.

Reply

28 Eric Melin August 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm

I’m obviously not “settling” anything, but the fact of the matter is that while the movie brought up some important social issues, it used them as nothing more than superficial plot devices and said NOTHING about them. It was insulting, frankly. That is the definition of a bad movie.

Reply

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