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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Jennifer Connelly
Keanu Reeves
Jaden Smith
Jon Hamm
John Cleese.
Directors
Scott Derrickson.
Screenwriters
David Scarpa.
Running Time
103 minutes

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The Day The Earth Stood Still
Klaatu, Barada, Pretty Good Actually


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Plot
Astrobiologist Helen (Connelly) is whisked away to help the government when strange goings-on herald an alien landing. The giant sphere that settles in New York’s Central Park carries an alien, Klaatu (Reeves) who comes to save the Earth – but perhaps not humanity…


Review
The Day The Earth Stood Still
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There are certain things that people remember about 1951’s sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still: the ship, the robot, the endlessly-referenced phrase “Klaatu barada nikto”. With the exception of the latter, they’ve undergone some changes in Scott Derrickson’s remake. For a start, the Earth doesn’t so much stand still as panic and run for the hills. The flying saucer is now a gigantic pearl, its nacre an endlessly rushing hurricane. The previously 7ft alien is four times as large, his red eye hinting at Cylon in his ancestry, and he packs a lot more wallop than a mere heat beam. And where before the aliens landed to address the threat of nuclear war, this time it’s environmental catastrophe they’re fretting about. What’s strange about these changes is how closely the resulting film cleaves to the spirit of Robert Wise’ film, and how hard it is to dismiss it as just another remake.

Jennifer Connelly’s college professor is our way into these strange events: after a clumsy bit of scripting about a feared asteroid strike, her astrobiologist is on hand to greet the strange grey figure that emerges from the gigantic sphere in Central Park (how far the White House has fallen). That slimy mould splits to reveal Keanu Reeves’ Klaatu, an alien bureaucrat/judge sent to decide Earth’s fate.

There’s always been something a little otherworldly about Reeves – a sense of reserve that is anathema to these tabloid times – but his performance here is subtle to the point that you might miss it altogether, but it’s perfectly calibrated. This Klaatu is devoid of body language tics, trapped in a body he doesn’t understand, but still manages to communicate a profound sense of disconnect and determined objectivity with nary a blink – in fact, partly by not blinking. Next to him, Connelly is reduced mostly to reactions and the occasional bit of dysfunctional stepmothering of Jaden Smith’s grieving 10 year-old.

There are few surprises here – the trailer gives away one big reveal – but there is real tension and, for those who have seen An Inconvenient Truth, a strange sense of plausibility. We do stand on the edge of a precipice as it is, and frankly alien intervention might help.

 


Verdict
A remake that does not disgrace the original, this is sufficiently different to stand alone and just as relevant in its concerns – as well as succeeding (arguably better) as a thriller. And after this performance, are we sure that Keanu Reeves is really human?


Reviewed by Helen O'Hara

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Day The Earth Stood Still
Empire Star Rating

Pointless

I only liked two things about the film. I liked that the machine, sentinal thing could turn into little microscopic bugs and eat everything, i also liked the fact that Keanu came to earth to save the earth NOT THE HUIMANS lol. this is the type of film that goes straight to piont wich is stupid and POINTLESS ! I fyour gonna go straight to the point, you might aswell say the film is gonna be an hour long. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by antosh25 at 04:04, 05 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable

..................Is that it? After nearly three hours he simply changes his mind from a hug?! Not that wasn't a lovely scene cos it was and Lil Jaden is quite the actor. I would have preferred that he made it to the U.N that he would have made his case to more people - dvd case said effects were epic, WHAT EFFECTS? they were meagre in proportion. The fact it was all down to JC just didn't wash - there should have be a vocal change of mind like POTUS did in the day after tomorrow - yes it was c... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sphinx at 19:40, 10 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable....

I love the original...although not in the biblical sense... The remake was ok, a fun film and Gort looked great. Yes..the big K is a liitle...ahem..emotionless but he's playing an alien who is...ermm...inside the...ermm..who's....look...he's playing an alien not doing Shakespeare!! Plot holes...in a sci-fi film? Well duh..if you want you can find plot holes in lots of films..they are after all only made up stories...they don't have to be realistic.. Some of you people are the sort who don'... More

Posted by FGT at 10:08, 06 January 2009 | Report This Post


RE: CHRISTMAS TURKEY

I have zero desire to watch this one. A remake that receives mediocre reviews all around, what a fucking surprise. ... More

Posted by Kazuya at 18:14, 28 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: CHRISTMAS TURKEY

What the Hell was that I just saw??   Give it 2 stars just for a decent enough start and the fact we have James Hong in one scene.   There's one thing worse than a bad film and that's a mediocre one.   Zero tension throughout, Jaden Smith is annoying from start to finish, not criticising Keanu because he's just doing what Keanu does (like that or not), Connelly however, what was she thinking? Stop chasing pay cheques!   I have a feeling this was greenlit just... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Tech_Noir at 17:01, 28 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: klatuu, barada, pretty crap actually

"The Day The Earth Stood Still" remake to me was a decent attempt of updating the story to the enviromental concerns of the 21st Century with an alien coming to Earth to warn mankind of its likley extinction to save the earth`s environment rather than in the 1951 version concerning itself more with the nuclear arms race as the reason for mans warning of its likley extinction. The effects are impressive but after a good Close Encounters like first half the action sags in the middle aand doesn`t ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 16:00, 22 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: A good Day spoilt...

L: Helen OHara That's nonsense: I gave it 3 from the moment I left the cinema, and there are negatives in there: "clunky scripting" being the most damning, and I did say there were few surprises too. A few others were chopped for length. I was simply more interested in other aspects of the film. nd those other aspects are... Mr. Reeves! rah, I'm being a prick now. I actually thought Keanu did a good job in this. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by John The Bad at 23:39, 18 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: HitchHiker I saw it this morning. It's ok. Keanu actually is half decent in it, but as said above it did feel a bit pointless. It begins well, and there was a lot of promise. But they didn't seem to know where they wanted to take it. One huge gripe I have is... SPOILERS!!! At the end of the film it seemed that only 2 people actually knew why Klaatu had come, so to the best of my knowledge the human race still think Klaatu was completely hostile... More

Posted by booster72 at 17:06, 18 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: A good Day spoilt...

L: John The Bad L: Beno Whats with the Empire review , its glowingly good , not one negative and yet they only give it 3 stars ?? he disparity between the review and the rating struck me too. I agree with Empire's rating -- I think it's a 3-star movie at most -- but Helen O'Hara's review is glowing. Then I saw or=#0000cc]thisink] blog entry called "The Genius Of Keanu" and it's written by... Helen O'Hara. I think she might have a little crush on Cool Breeze. Is it true that ... More

Posted by Helen OHara at 16:55, 18 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: 3 stars... nah

I have been preparing for months to see cool new CGI's and breathtaking sequences here, (and I have to admit, the trailer got me right in). But after watching it. I wasn't disappointed. Its a small word. I cursed all the way to my house! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bloodythoughts at 16:09, 18 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: A good Day spoilt...

L: John The Bad L: Beno Whats with the Empire review , its glowingly good , not one negative and yet they only give it 3 stars ?? he disparity between the review and the rating struck me too. I agree with Empire's rating -- I think it's a 3-star movie at most -- but Helen O'Hara's review is glowing. Then I saw or=#0000cc]thisink] blog entry called "The Genius Of Keanu" and it's written by... Helen O'Hara. I think she might have a little crush on Cool Breeze. Is it true that ... More

Posted by Beno at 19:04, 17 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: A good Day spoilt...

Its really a remake of Mac & Me. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 17:52, 17 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: A good Day spoilt...

L: Beno Whats with the Empire review , its glowingly good , not one negative and yet they only give it 3 stars ?? he disparity between the review and the rating struck me too. I agree with Empire's rating -- I think it's a 3-star movie at most -- but Helen O'Hara's review is glowing. Then I saw or=#0000CC]thisink] blog entry called "The Genius Of Keanu" and it's written by... Helen O'Hara. I think she might have a little crush on Cool Breeze. Is it true that she gave it 4 sta... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by John The Bad at 17:45, 17 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Oh Well...

Utter garbage, no cliche left unturned. ... More

Posted by The Hooded Man at 10:51, 17 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Casting

L: thepinster It mystifies me as to how people can give a film like this so many stars. t's easy. You decide which little star looks good and simply click on it with that little cursor thing on the computer screen. It's dead impressive this interweb thing. ... More

Posted by jimoakley666 at 10:27, 16 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: klatuu, barada, pretty crap actually

Pretty decent film... Reeves did what he could and is as amiable as always, whilst Connolly was decent too... Jaden Smith was very annoying but the special effects were superb and it breezed along at a good pace 3/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DJ Rob C: Mark II! at 14:00, 14 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Day The Earth Stood Still

Went to see it this evening and I enjoyed it but did feel there were a few plotholes in there and the special effects weren't all that.   As soon as I heard Keanu Reeves was in this I thought he had finally got the perfect part: as much as I like the guy, he acts as well as an oak tree would, so to play a non-human is actually pretty apt for him. p; I ought to say that I haven't seen the original.   I thought 3 stars was pretty fair overall. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JV at 21:29, 13 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Stood still, it felt like time stopped!

Really disappointing. I had high hopes for this remake. Waster of time and money. ... More

Posted by curve at 13:44, 13 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: So much potenial

I was disappointed with this. I read in an Empire article that Scott and Keanu went over the film deleting any cheezy scenarios or lines of diologue- but seemed to have missed most of it. From grabbing my attention in Pursuit of Happyness, Jaden Smith was pretty darn bad in this film. He overacted. However, he DID have to play the typical role of 'angry child fulfilling baddy roles'..if you know what I mean. GORT was extremely underwhelming after his initial introduction. I just feel that ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dante3000 at 11:35, 13 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: So much potenial

I saw this in Imax over in Paris. I'd been away all week so had read no reviews and knew very little about it (other than having seen the original years ago). Whilst it started off ok, it quickly descended into fairly boring drivel, badly written, badly acted, and once again suffering from computer effects that looked liked computer effects. Reeves was as wooden as ever (my girlfriend insists this was the point, but I'm not convinced he was meant to be THAT wooden). A great opportuni... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 10:20, 13 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)

Saw it today and can't say I was too shocked by what I saw pretty much what I expected apart from the ending seemed a little rushed and would have liked Klaatu to have really cleared up what he was taking away so that the world was left alone. I really enjoyed the first 20 mintues thought it was really pretty gripping but then it all just fell away.   Jennifer Connolly was good, the kid pretty annoying but he's a child in a movie I think he supposed to be. A lot of bad things have been... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by matthewforan at 19:58, 12 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008)

#551a8b]Keanu remake will put you into neutral | Metro.co.uk ... More

Posted by Mason Verger at 19:21, 12 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Day The Earth Stood Still

Yeah I'd agree with that Timon. I was totally gripped for the first half hour or so but then it kind of meandered towards the end. I thought Reeves was good and Connelly too. Cleese was great while he lasted but I couldn't stand Will Smith's son. I wanted him to die. Now one thing struck me as kind of wierd. They went to all the trouble of gathering these scientists and what not together only to fly them directly to the impact site. Where's the logic in that? If it was an asteroid as they ... More

Posted by HIM at 09:41, 12 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: The Day The Earth Stood Still

I thought it was entertaining enough but not a patch on the original that is much more damming of mankind's pettiness and violent nature.   I liked the enviromental message in this version but as Gazdance said, Klaatu's change of heart came rather quickly. And what was the 'great price' that would have to be paid? He turned off the power? Was that permenanat? The ending just suddenly came out of nowhere and for me, the film just sort of.... ended without any real resolution.   ... More

Posted by Timon at 09:14, 12 December 2008 | Report This Post


RE: pretty good, in its own way

Well I quite enjoyed it, but that's spoken by someone who has a Cineworld Unlimited card.   It's a good film, quite engaging, decent effects (for the most part) and decent performances from Reeves and Connelly.   I found that the climax and Klaatu's change of heart came about a bit suddenly.  Nevertheless, I left having felt like I'd been entertained.   3/5 is bang on the money. ... More

Posted by Gazdance at 23:07, 11 December 2008 | Report This Post


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