I'm pretty sure it's safe to say at this point that Hollywood is just running out of ideas. I'm not completely opposed to the concept of remaking old movies simply because "we can make them look better now", but shouldn't that concept only apply to movies that sucked the first time around? Why would you attempt to remake what many Sci-Fi movie buffs consider to be an all time classic of the genre? Sure there's a chance of making something good just a little bit better but is it really worth the risk? That's like if a huge group of Middle School nerds spent their entire summer constructing a gigantic diorama of the human body made out of toothpicks for a science fair project, then a father of one of the kids who is good with tools decides he wants to improve it and shatters the entire display. The risk to make something better was admirable but now you have an entire room filled with angry prepubescent nerds to deal with. On an unrelated note, I'll never forgive you Dad sniff
So now we have The Day the Earth Stood Still, a remake of the 1951 black and white film of the same name starring a bunch of people you've never heard of. Despite being a little preachy and silly in the way that a lot of old movies are, the original Day is a pretty good movie and is still worth seeing today. The remake on the other hand, isn't.
It really pains me to see movies starting off really strong only to end up tripping all over themselves at the end. TDtESS has a really cool opening act to say the least. Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) is snatched out of her home by the US government and told, along with a quickly assembled group of other top scientists, that there is an object heading towards earth at 30,000 km per second and that we're all pretty much screwed. However, the object begins to rapidly slow down as it enters our airspace, quietly landing in central park NY. This is when we meet Klaatu (alien Keanu Reeves) and his giant destructive robot Gort, which forces everyone to start panicking over a possible alien invasion.
If you haven't figured it out from the trailers, here's the simple gist. Alien Keanu Reeves tells humanity that we've been abusing Earth to the point where we have become a serious threat to our planets very existence and need to be "resolved". Of course when I say resolved, I mean killed very violently.
Despite the fact that the introduction does a really good job setting up the premise with tons of tension and suspense, once Keanu breaks out of government captivity to take care of business, the fun just gets sucked right out altogether. All of our curiosities about Keanu's race/sphere ship/everything else never get resolved or even asked about by the other characters in the movie, and the duration of the film is pretty much Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly and Jennifer Connelly's indescribably annoying stepson running around in the woods. Oh, and there's a 2 second appearance by John Cleese.
The original TDtESS was well done and left the audience to think in a meaningful sort of way. The remake preaches that our entire human race is a shameful embarrassment in a really annoying way that is insanely similar to The Happening (for those who didn't see it, which is a lot, it involves nature evolving/fighting back against Mankind for ruining the planet) In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if M. Night Shyamalan is getting a little excited knowing he can finally say there's another movie out there that is almost-kind-of-like The Happening, so now everyone can stop making fun of him (which we won't, but he's excited anyway).
Grade: Here's a quick sum-up. Aside from a very captivating start, The Day the Earth Stood Still is poorly written with an INCREDIBLY anti-climactic ending, no likeable characters that you feel connected to, and mediocre action/plot. As for the ending itself, have you ever been watching a movie in theaters where things start to slow down, the action has subsided, the movie starts to fade to black/pan up towards the sky and you find yourself saying " .Please tell me this isn't the ending. It's not over yet, right? Seriously, this isn't the ending." credits start to roll on screen " that was the ending?". Yep, this is one of those movies. It kind of feels like the writers wrote themselves into the corner and said "Yeah, that's good enough" and left it at that. On the plus side, Keanu Reeves playing a quiet, monotone alien was probably the easiest thing he's ever done. This movie leaves you feeling sad. Not "that touched me emotionally in a powerful way" sad, "the stripper who showed up to the bachelor party was actually a guy" sad. D plus/C minus
The Bottom Line: Skip it. Watch the original instead. I'm not saying that this movie is so god awful you should see it just so you and your friends can rip it apart, it's just meh. It brings nothing to the table. It's just like those Enzyte pills; a big buildup of advertising but they won't do anything for you at all er, not that I would know or anything.