Director: Scott Derrickson
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connolly, Kathy
Bates, Jaden Smith, Jon Hamm, Kyle Chandler
RunTime: 1 hr 43 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Official Website: http://www.dtessmovie.com/
Opening Day: 11 December 2008
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" is 20th Century
Fox's contemporary reinvention of its 1951 classic. Keanu
Reeves portrays Klaatu, an alien whose arrival on our planet
triggers a global upheaval. As governments and scientists
race to unravel the mystery behind the visitor's appearance,
a woman (Jennifer Connelly) and her young stepson get caught
up in his mission – and come to understand the ramifications
of his being a self-described "friend to the Earth."
As a cautionary tale, The Day The Earth Stood Still is suspenseful and thoughts provoking for most part of the movie. Sadly, the movie couldn’t sustain the morale conflict momentum at the very last act and ended in a self defeating manner that squandered a chance at being a potential classic.
Before this review continues it’s way to rave about this movie, there are a couple of things that need to be established. Although it could be fun to go with no prior knowledge of what this show is about, there are some ideologies that the viewers need to share or understand. (Might be spoilish so roll over to read) First and foremost, one must understand that among the entire species living on planet Earth, there aren’t any species that are as destructive and arrogant as the human race. The Earth’s current dire condition are caused by the greed, laziness and the general nature of mankind and too little is done to reverse our actions which we are well aware of. If the Human species would to be wipe off from planet Earth, the Earth would still be able to function and even flourish. But to wipe out any other living organism living in planet Earth and we might not be able to pay the price. (Spoilish Ideologies end)
The above mention ideologies are not easy to accept specially it paints an awful picture of us human in general. If you could see it that way, it would be easier to understand Klaatu (Keanu Reeves)’s objective for it’s visit to planet Earth.
The cast had been rightfully picked for their respective roles. Keanu Reeves’s acting had often been criticized as wooden and in a strange twist, that handicap had been played to his advantage in this movie. His portrayal of the alien Klaatu with his flair of disconnecting mannerism helped to effectively invoke an uncaring visitor from other space who is determined to do his job. Of course Keanu Reeves dressed up in a working suit and projecting the image as a harbinger of doom had always looked cool and impressive.
For the “human” roles, Jennifer Connolly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith and John Cheese each gave a stellar performance to represent the different aspect of being human. Starting with John Cheese and Kathy Bates, both of these veteran thespian helped portrayed the intelligence and arrogance that man is capable of. Jaden Smith in a more irritating role compared to his debut in the Pursuit of Happiness helped paint the fear and general reaction to uncertainties that most human are guilty of. Last but not least, Jennifer Connolly represented the nurturing, loving and forgiving nature of human which could just be the salvation that we need.
All these different representation of human nature, coupled with the unrelenting judgment of our actions on planet Earth, were blended in an intensive and quick pacing manner that made this movie suspenseful and enthralling. For those who are more aggressive in the movies that they watch or are concern about the future that human kind might have, The Day The Earth Stood Still would leave some issues to think and ponder about.
Personally, I would prefer the ending to be more ambiguous than how it ended here. While the film made a conscious effort not to preach the message to the audience, it had also forgotten to show how the message could have delivered to the movie “citizen” of Earth. In an ironical manner, after this film had ended in a rather clear cut manner, I felt that those who need to be taught a lesson about changing their mindset would have been so frighten that they would probably carry out plans that will escalate the problem at hand. Of course, the uninspired clear cut ending also testify to the arrogance of men at work again and explaining that would likely take another one or two pages of review which my webmaster will frown at.
In a way, this film will likely to have it’s detractors and fans on either side. It’s either you get the message that this film is trying to spread (not preach) or you disregard it as hogwash and start to nitpick everything. Otherwise, personally, The Day The Earth Stood Still is a great blend of blockbuster CGI effects with an important message to share.
by Richard Lim Jr
(Suspenseful and Thoughts Provoking until ironically when the “Earth” actually stood still)