CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — I can’t, for the life of me, think of a good reason you should see the remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

It takes itself much, much too seriously, and it should not.

Everybody knows the story of the original movie pretty well, whether they think they do or not. Alien comes to earth, says, “Whoa, everyone, chill, or I’m coming back. Okay, Klaatu Berata Nikto,” gone. Right?

Directed by:‚ Scott Derrickson

Written by: David Scarpa (screenplay)
Edmund H. North (1951 screenplay)

Starring:‚ Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith, John Cleese

Seen at: Fresh Pond Showcase Cinema

Running time:‚ 103 minutes

Rated:‚ PG-13

It would seem that the directors of the movie are basically as familiar with the story as anyone else. The rest, all summer action movie explosions – marketed for the Oscar-grabbing winter season. What the hell?‚ You’ve got a good cast in this thing. Jennifer Connelly. John Cleese, even Don Draper is in it! And yet … Keanu Reeves is also in it, sort of.

I’m not going to defend his acting, really, because he doesn’t do too much of it. (Has he emoted since he put down his Wyld Stallions air guitar after all?) But critics, I’ve noticed, have bent over backwards trying to explain his wooden delivery. One critic said he’s an alien not used to his human body.

I’d chalk it up to Keanu being made out of wood, or maybe low-budget Computer Graphics. All the effects budget was spent, probably, trying to convince John Hamm he needed the movie for his career. These are the things that are destroyed in the movie: a truck and truck driver, a stadium, and most of the hipster part of New York.

Jennifer Connelly’s adorable step-kid, Jacob Benson played by Jaden Smith, (who was so, so annoying) acts his role to a tee. So much so, his shrieks stuck with me on the commute to work this morning. I saw this film three days ago. Is this a movie that will stay in the box office strictly because it will annoy you with its earnestness?

Picture this. A bunch of left-leaning Prius-driving celebrities get together and say to themselves, “we’ve got to make a movie about climate change, only Leo DiCaprio’s not available, and also the movie can’t be a comedy.” This is what you would get: a scientist, played by Don Draper, is one of the key players doing something about global climate change, and he drives an SUV. He was the actor I bought the ticket for this movie for, and I ended up joking he appeared late in scenes because he was off banging someone else’s woman and drinking expensive scotch.

“We can change,” is Jennifer Connelly’s repeated line. That’s fine, Jen, you have an Oscar already. But hey, Klaatu, he doesn’t care. You screwed up the planet. Exept in this movie the 11th-hour change is so abrupt, you’d honestly believe Klaatu was just trying to get the hell away from the whiny little Smith and Connelly, which is sad.

Not to wave my dork flag or anything, but in the original movie, Klaatu carries an anti-nuclear proliferation message, and addresses it to the People of the Earth.

In this case? Save the whales. And he addresses it to a mother and child.‚ A wasted opportunity, more or less all the way. From script, to internal logic, to the total mistreatment of the cast.‚ The movie is number one at the BO right now. Maybe there is something wrong with Earth. ‚ 
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About The Author

Steven H. Bagley is a Blast correspondent

3 Responses

  1. Manuel

    The acting wasn’t as horrible as the product placement. BLECH!
    But I have to disagree that the movie isn’t worth watching with friends. I went to go watch it with friends and we enjoyed it. It wasn’t life changing nor awesome. But that’s fine.

    I may have a bias to Jennifer Connelly, or Kathy Bates, but all in all it was pretty solid for a remake.

  2. Steve Bagley

    Would you recommend waiting for it to come out on DVD, you think? I kind of think dropping $9 or whatever theaters are charging now is tantamount to self-flagellation.


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