johnlink ranks THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2008)

I went into this film with very low expectations. It’s not so much that they remade a classic, but the way they went about it. There’s very little in common between this film and its 1951 counterpart. We have an alien named Klaatu and a robot named Gort (though the entomology of the name seems to have changed). I feel pretty good ranking this movie on its own merit, because it is so drastically changed. They would have been better off just calling it something else and changing a couple names.

I watched THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2008) on 1.20.10. It was my first viewing of the film.

I swear I don’t have a thing for Keanu Reeves. It is a coincidence that the first two films I watched this year are vehicles of his. He’s decent, again, in this movie because it asks him to be cold and distant. Skills he is quite good at. He’s actually one of the few decent things about this movie. I’ll start with the others.

The John Cleese scene is nicely done. I could have used more Cleese. Jennifer Connelly is serviceable and Jaden Smith is okay. The acting in this is not its weakness, though it won’t be confused with THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.

I liked the opening scene. A lot. The opening scene was unique and engaging (though obviously shot on a sound stage), and it gave me hope for the rest of the film. Sadly, this was not ever fully realized.

What didn’t I like? For one, the CGI is brutal. You’ll see a negative bonus in the rankings below thanks to it. Also, the treatment of military is heavy-handedly narrow. I’m not one to complain about liberal Hollywood. I’m certainly a social liberal myself, so I usually won’t complain about Green movies or pictures which the right consider anti-military (you won’t find me bashing AVATAR, for example). But I will say this: Between THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and THE HAPPENING, I’ve seen two of the most eye-roll inducing greenfests I’d ever hope to endure. I thought AVATAR handled the subject matter well, but those other two films do not.

The script is pretty rough. I never bought Klaatu’s switch. It’s ambiguous at best. The danger is inhuman and non-specific. I never felt for the people of the city because we never really see them (except for a truck driver). Most disaster films at least give a face to their victims, this movie never does.

The message is one of change and of being aware of your role in society. It is about understanding that what you do matters and effects others. I wish the producers of this film had applied some of these thoughts to movie-making before soiling a classic sci-fi flick.


FILM: 3; MOVIE: 5; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 3; BONUS: -1 (terrible CGI)



~ by johnlink00 on January 21, 2010.

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