Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Day the Earth Stood Still *

Director: Scott Derrickson
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly
Jon Hamm, Jaden Smith, John Cleese, Kathy Bates, Kyle Chandler

If there's something sillier than remaking a classic Hollywood film, it might be doing so without a reason.
Director Scott Derrickson updated Robert Wise's underrated 1951 sci-fi classic about an alien named Klaatu (Reeves) who comes to Earth to warn about the impending destruction of the planet only to be met by bureaucrats and skeptical people.
Jennifer Connelly plays Helen Benson, the good hearted scientist who helps Klaatu in his mission and eventually becomes the only person who can help save the world.
Jaden Smith plays her stepson, left under her care after his father's death and who still has trouble dealing with Helen.
Klaatu warns them that the human species has done enough damage to the planet and he's representing a group of planets that has come to the agreement that Earth can only be saved once humans are gone.
His aid is the giant robot Gort (whose design is "inspired" by the original one) who becomes the subject of scientists' studies as they prepare for destruction.
While the original film was a timely allegory for the Cold War, Derrickson's version with his "green" message comes off looking forced and preachy.
The biggest problem is that Klaatu's mission is constantly changing, first he wants to destroy the planet then he doesn't, as if Derrickson doubts exactly what he wants to say with his movie.
He avoids taking stances and is afraid to say something too pessimist but also lacks the vision to deliver hope.
The film features some nice visual effects, that somehow still don't make the impact of the rudimentary ones used in the original and completely forgets to worry about character development.
Connelly does satisfying job, Hamm is sadly underused and Bates takes herself too seriously giving her performance slight strokes of camp.
Smith is utterly annoying, you often wonder why Helen puts up with his tantrums in the midst of world destruction, which shouldn't be a natural thought, but this is exactly what the film's dull pace give you time to think about.
The action sequences are dull, the plot tries to be complicated and deep when it's quite the opposite and unlike the original version you never really understand why is it called that way.
And when it comes to Reeves, you wonder if he also is CGI. His expression remains completely blank throughout the entire film (as with most of his filmography), he delivers his lines with absolutely no interest, as if he just learnt them phonetically.
It's never revealed exactly what planet Klaatu comes from, this movie however must've come straight from planet unnecessary.

1 comment:

Luis Blasini said...

Of course every fan of the original is going to compare it with this remake - I being one of them. I entered the theater quite optomistic - however as the reels continued I sank into annoyance then into anger.
If your fans, Jose are reading this review I am taking for granted that they saw the original film and are wondering the same as I.
Yes, I agree Reeves Klaatu kept changing his itenerary. Why? Rennie's Klaatu knew why he was there and was damn well adamant about it.
Why was Barnhart even in the picture - as the original character played such an important part.
There was a reason in the original why the title 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' meant something. In this new version - it should have been re-title 'The day the Earth Became Infested'. Those Gort born little bugs were just sad.
I am getting a migrain just thinking about this...
I'll see you in the consession stand...